Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
The type of power used to attract, co-opt and persuade rather than coerce or threaten has been labelled "soft power" in contrast to "hard" power associated with martial actions and military industrial complex (MIC) type strategies. There is also a "meta power" in the gray area between hard and soft power which may shape relationships, shift power balances by altering the matrix of possibilities, removing certain "actors" in a society or political system, changing orientation and spheres of influence by various covert and overt means. Meta power is very important prior to entering into negotiations on major issues, for example. The skillful application of meta power enhances "soft power positions" and even "hard power" drives. Presenting a formidable image can change perceptions, shift allegiances and reinforce a nation's defenses without having to invest in any additional weapons systems or bolster their armed forces.
The context and environment in which meta power and soft power are used can also be interpreted differently by the states involved and the global actors outside the area of operations. Humanitarian aid, economic support, cultural enrichment projects and training/advising programs could be viewed as "soft" by the initiators but end up being vehicles for "hard power" and coercion over the recipients - examples would be forced vaccination programs, food for schools with a condition of implementing foreign curriculum, providing infrastructure in exchange for data access, providing "free" clinics where patients records are used to later identify the best candidates for organ harvesting and experimentation, introducing new arts and entertainment which are powerful propaganda channels, and so forth. Do any of you remember the American strategy for "winning hearts and minds" in Vietnam? That was supposed to be an application of "soft power"-appealing with American ideals of democracy and capitalism-as opposed to the imposition of communism. 'Winning Hearts and Minds' did not turn out well for either the Vietnamese or the Americans.
Peace Corps, American councils and many American based non-governmental agencies (NGOs) are certainly "soft power initiatives" which work with other departments and agencies involved in diplomatic and/or hard power options. It did seem strange to me that in 2015, over 400 Peace Corps and Peace Corps Response professionals were assigned to Ukraine - when countries suffering from desperate poverty, lack of education and basic essentials with larger populations in Africa, had less than half that number. What was the real agenda for loading Ukraine with numerous USAID, Peace Corps programs? Think "disruption" under the policies of Clinton/Kerry as Secretaries of State and Victoria Nuland's heavy hand tactics. "USAID co-investing with Omidyar Network in Ukraine NGOs that organized and led the Maidan revolution in Kiev, resulting in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych." pando.com/2014/04/08/the-murderous-history-of-usaid-the-us-government-agency-behind-cubas-fake-twitter-clone/
Language and culture programs offered for "free" (paid for with American taxpayer money) by the US government are a creeping soft power enterprise in many countries as are IT projects-"Teach Girls in Afghanistan to Code" is one currently funded initiative. New textbooks programs for Afghanistan, received over $791 Million dollars from 2015-2017. Access programs funded by the US Department of State and iLearn/Earn programs in Pakistan, were aimed at reaching over one million high schools students at a cost of over $21 Million dollars to the US taxpayer, and continue to this day. www.cgdev.org/page/aid-pakistan-number
China provides a similar array of soft power invasive tools in the language, culture and education sectors in the form of "Confucius Institutes". Are you aware of how many of these institutes are in universities across the world in 2019? See this article with a chart and map for details: www.digmandarin.com/confucius-institutes-around-the-world.html
For the United States, here are the current statistics: "As of February 2019, [National Association of Scholars) NAS counts a total of 104 Confucius Institutes in the United States. We identify 97 Confucius Institutes at American colleges and universities. We also identify 1 Confucius Institute at a private educational organization, the China Institute, and 6 Confucius Institutes at K-12 public school districts. Confucius Institutes may function as “an arm of Chinese ‘soft power’ and propaganda, aimed at promoting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s propaganda and stifling its critics around the world.”
Take the China Soft Power Quiz-just for fun and you might learn more about Chinese influencers in the process: ig.ft.com/quiz/china-soft-power/
Have you considered the media buy in China has succeeded with controlling in the USA? It's not just the AMC theatre chain, Legendary Entertainment or Dick Clark productions; China owns the Waldorf Astoria and Four Seasons hotel chains, Motorola, theme parks, sports teams, banks, food chains, Forbes magazine, General Electric Appliances-here are others in the articles linked below: www.thewrap.com/hollywood-companies-owned-by-china/
What about China's "humanitarian aid and loan" programs as examples of soft power mission creep? Let's look at the African continent to start. According to a number of studies and articles, "African countries generally attach greater hopes to the Chinese arriving with primarily commercial and investment purposes than the developed countries intervening in humanitarian and security terms. [and possible exploitation of their natural resources] According to the public opinion researches conducted in the countries of the continent, the African aspects of the soft power function efficiently. The number of African inhabitants having a positive opinion of China is close to the number of people who like the United States." www.geopolitika.hu/en/2018/02/08/chinese-soft-power-in-the-developing-countries-africa/
China continues to give aid, no interest loans and education/health programs to 51 countries in Africa, 30 countries in Asia and 20 countries (including Venezuela) in South America. Did you know that "China is Venezuela’s biggest foreign creditor. Since 2014, China lent approximately $60 billion to Venezuela in opaque deals, the details of which were mostly not made public? Nor did the National congress approve the loans. The debt was mostly to be repaid in oil, and if other restructured China debt is any indication, debt payments will value that oil at below market rates. China received, in return, preferential access to infrastructure and factory deals and market access for about $6 billion per year in Chinese consumer goods. Venezuela became China’s strongest ally in Latin America. China’s loans to Venezuela have included regular infusions of $2 to $5 billion as Venezuela needed it with the drop in oil prices. $20 billion in loan repayments were softened." www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/04/21/remove-maduro-and-china-send-80-billion-in-emergency-aid-to-venezuela/#7ed3df392a2f
Chinese media-all government run-continues to blitz the world with announcements of their "advanced" scientific, medical, IT, infrastructure achievements and ambitions. This is in part to counter the perception that Chinese made goods, buildings, materials and research is "cheap", not original and not up to western standards. Which more often than not is true. https://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-infrastructure-projects-reshaping-the-world-2017-1
Although there are many nations using soft power which includes media manipulation, cultural and language program offerings, humanitarian aid, training and investment, the countries spending the most money on these efforts are: USA
Germany, the UK, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Even smaller countries such as Japan and Israel gave more money than China. www.statista.com/statistics/275597/largers-donor-countries-of-aid-worldwide/
Whether to permit the "soft power" of Confucius "Institutes" in the USA to continue and for the Chinese media outlets and Chinese investment to remain unfettered in the USA, are important questions to consider, especially if policy makers and security experts decide a counter move is necessary. Yes, there are tough decisions ahead especially in light of the upcoming summit between American President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Junping. Keep alert.
From Henan province-until next week,