soft power

Since 2004, Confucius Institutes have spread around the world, with almost 300 now existing in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania, in addition to an online and a radio-based Confucius Institute. Confucius Institutes are a core component of China's soft power strategy, or campaign to increase its influence and accomplish its goals through the appeal of its language and culture.

A year ago it symbolised Russia's victory over Georgia and its American backers. These days Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, talks of common values and the trustworthiness of America.

The Obama administration's new outline of its top national security goals will say the United States should maintain its military advantage over the rest of the world while prizing other kinds of power, according to a summary obtained by The Associated Press.

Yes, the US has condemned North Korea over its alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in which 46 seamen were killed...But in light of what North Korea is accused of – an act of war – the US response is strangely and uncharacteristically subdued.

Few countries can attract global attention as much as the People’s Republic of China has done. The intelligentsia, policy makers, and ordinary citizens marvel at China’s ability to infiltrate every nook of the globe in very unassuming ways. This appears to be a threat to other imperial powers, those who have dominated the globe as if they have a natural right to do so.

May 24, 2010

The US was once the undisputed global powerhouse. Now it is under threat from contenders who use the influence of culture and lifestyle to fight for global economic and political dominance. This political manipulation is referred to as soft power – achieving what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your customs - thriving on control, not force.

There is one area, however, where Japan could engage in a strategy that would simultaneously help its economy and give it an edge over China. This is immigration. Japan is unique among economies that are highly developed and in demographic decline in having so few immigrants.