Around a third of Saudi scholarship students in the UK are female, many of them outstanding scholars, creative artists and filmmakers. They are a massive soft-power asset that could aid Saudi Arabia address foreign public opinion about how Saudi women are benefiting from greater political, social and economic roles. Saudi diplomacy with the UK is mostly mediated by elites.
Today, art is one of many weapons utilised by governments – including our own – in the battle for political influence. In its Public Diplomacy Strategy 2014-16, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) notes that culture and the arts are one of many ‘public diplomacy initiatives’ employed to strengthen Australia's influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Foreign aid is a key instrument of international engagement in Japan’s foreign policy toolkit. Although Tokyo is no longer the world’s top aid donor that it once was in the 1990s, it still was the world’s number four aid donor in 2015 with close to a US$10 billion annual budget. It is not just the size of the aid budget that has changed. So has Tokyo’s thinking behind foreign aid.
Public mobilization follows. People-to-people exchange is strengthened, more Greek people learn Chinese and more Chinese people learn Greek, bilateral or multilateral scientific projects are carried out, joint events are organized and media are cooperating in their day-to-day operations.
Anticipating criticism about including a country like Russia in the top-30, the report’s authors claimed that Moscow’s role in combatting ISIS – as well as the fact that it didn’t advance its position any further into Ukraine – appeared to help international perception. “Russia performed markedly better on the international polling in 2016, compared with 2015,” the report’s authors noted.
Most countries in the Americas still approach global and regional geopolitics through the realist prism, underpinned by a Westphalian view of international relations. It’s therefore no surprise that the great majority of Latin American foreign ministries do not consider that the ability to attract, coax, and persuade stems from soft power. Given this, brand or mission statement will not alter fundamental geopolitical or diplomatic circumstances.