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Soft power

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Soft power

Soft power is a concept developed by propaganda is not propaganda", further explaining that during the Information Age, "credibility is the scarcest resource".[1]

Joseph Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. In this book, he wrote: “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants-might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants.”[2] He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. The term is now widely used in international affairs by analysts and statesmen. For example, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to enhance American soft power by "a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national securitydiplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development."[3] In 2011, as Xi Jinping was preparing to take power from Hu Jintao, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final Communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to "build our country into a socialist cultural superpower".[4] And in 2014, Xi announced, "We should increase China's soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China's messages to the world."[5]

According to the 2015 Soft Power World Rankings report from Comres, the Portland Group, and Facebook the United Kingdom currently hold the top spot in soft power, followed by Germany in second place. The top ten is completed by the United States, France, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark. [6][7][8]


  • Description 1
  • Limitations of the concept 2
  • Measurement 3
  • Academic debates 4
  • Research 5
  • Examples 6
    • Throughout the world 6.1
    • United States 6.2
    • United Kingdom 6.3
    • Germany 6.4
    • China 6.5
    • South Korea's Hallyu diplomacy 6.6
    • Russia 6.7
    • Japan 6.8
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Joseph Nye's 2004 book describing the concept of "soft power"

Joseph Nye introduced the concept of "soft power" in the late 1980s.[9] For Nye, power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to get the outcomes you want. There are several ways one can achieve this: you can coerce them with threats; you can induce them with payments; or you can attract and co-opt them to want what you want. This soft power – getting others to want the outcomes you want – co-opts people rather than coerces them.[10]

It can be contrasted with 'NGOs or international institutions.[11] It is also considered the "second face of power" that indirectly allows you to obtain the outcomes you want. A country's soft power, according to Nye, rests on three resources: "its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when others see them as legitimate and having moral authority)."[12]

"A country may obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries – admiring its values, emulating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity and openness – want to follow it. In this sense, it is also important to set the agenda and attract others in world politics, and not only to force them to change by threatening military force or economic sanctions. This soft power – getting others to want the outcomes that you want – co-opts people rather than coerces them."[13]

Soft power resources are the assets that produce attraction which often leads to acquiescence.[13] Nye asserts that, "Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights, and individual opportunities are deeply seductive."[14] Angelo Codevilla observed that an often overlooked essential aspect of soft power is that different parts of populations are attracted or repelled by different things, ideas, images, or prospects.[15] Soft power is hampered when policies, culture, or values repel others instead of attracting them.

In his book, Nye argues that soft power is a more difficult instrument for governments to wield than hard power for two reasons: many of its critical resources are outside the control of governments, and soft power tends to "work indirectly by shaping the environment for policy, and sometimes takes years to produce the desired outcomes."[14][16] The book identifies three broad categories of soft power: "culture", "political values", and "policies."

In The Future of Power (2011), Nye reiterates that soft power is a descriptive, rather than a normative, concept.[17] Therefore, soft power can be wielded for nefarious purposes. "Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all possessed a great deal of soft power in the eyes of their acolytes, but that did not make it good. It is not necessarily better to twist minds than to twist arms."[17] Nye also claims that soft power does not contradict the international relations theory of realism. "Soft power is not a form of idealism or liberalism. It is simply a form of power, one way of getting desired outcomes."[18]

Limitations of the concept

Soft power has been criticized as being ineffective by authors such as Niall Ferguson in the preface to Colossus. Neorealist and other rationalist and neorationalist authors (with the exception of Stephen Walt) dismiss soft power out of hand as they assert that actors in international relations respond to only two types of incentives: economic incentives and force.

As a concept, it can be difficult to distinguish between soft power from hard power. For example, Janice Bially Mattern argues that [19] However, rationalist authors would merely see this as an 'implied threat', and that direct economic or military sanctions would likely follow from being 'against us'.


Soft Power Survey 2014/15[20]
Rank Country
1  United States
2  Germany
3  United Kingdom
4  Japan
5  France
6   Switzerland
7  Australia
8  Sweden
9  Denmark
10  Canada
The Soft Power 30[21]
Rank Country
1  United Kingdom
2  Germany
3  United States
4  France
5  Canada
6  Australia
7   Switzerland
8  Japan
9  Sweden
10  Netherlands
Global Presence Report 2014[22]
Rank Country
1  European Union
2  United States
3  United Kingdom
4  Germany
5  France
6  Japan
7  People's Republic of China
8  Russia
9  Spain
10  Canada

The first attempt to measure soft power through a composite index was created and published by the Olympic medals, the quality of a country's architecture and business brands.[20]

The Soft Power 30, which includes a foreword by Joseph Nye, is a ranking of countries' soft power produced and published by the media company Portland in 2015. The ranking is based on "the quality of a country’s political institutions, the extent of their cultural appeal, the strength of their diplomatic network, the global reputation of their higher education system, the attractiveness of their economic model, and a country’s digital engagement with the world".[24][25][26]

Soft power, then, represents the third behavioral way of getting the outcomes you want. Soft power is contrasted with hard power, which has historically been the predominant realist measure of national power, through quantitative metrics such as population size, concrete military assets, or a nation's gross domestic product. But having such resources does not always produce the desired outcomes, as the United States discovered in the Vietnam War. The extent of attraction can be measured by public opinion polls, by elite interviews, and case studies.

Nye argues that soft power is more than influence, since influence can also rest on the hard power of threats or payments. And soft power is more than just persuasion or the ability to move people by argument, though that is an important part of it. It is also the ability to attract, and attraction often leads to acquiescence.

In international relations, soft power is generated only in part by what the government does through its policies and public diplomacy. The generation of soft power is also affected in positive (and negative) ways by a host of non-state actors within and outside the country. Those actors affect both the general public and governing elites in other countries, and create an enabling or disabling environment for government policies.

In some cases, soft power enhances the probability of other elites adopting policies that allow one to achieve preferred outcomes. In other cases, where being seen as friendly to another country is seen as a local political kiss of death, the decline or absence of soft power will prevent a government from obtaining particular goals. But even in such instances, the interactions of civil societies and non-state actors may help to further general milieu goals such as democracy, liberty, and development. Soft power is not the possession of any one country or actor.

The success of soft power heavily depends on the actor's reputation within the international community, as well as the flow of information between actors. Thus, soft power is often associated with the rise of globalization and neoliberal international relations theory. Popular culture and mass media are regularly identified as a source of soft power,[27] as is the spread of a national language or a particular set of normative structures; a nation with a large amount of soft power and the good will that engenders it inspire others to acculturate, avoiding the need for expensive hard power expenditures.

Because soft power has appeared as an alternative to raw power politics, it is often embraced by ethically-minded scholars and policymakers. But soft power is a descriptive rather than a normative concept. Like any form of power, it can be wielded for good or bad purposes. While soft power can be used with bad intentions and wreak horrible consequences, it differs in terms of means. It is on this dimension that one might construct a normative preference for greater use of soft power.

Academic debates

Academics have engaged in several debates around soft power. These have included:

  • Its usefulness (Giulio Gallarotti, Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, Robert Kagan, Ken Waltz, Mearsheimer vs Nye, Katzenstein, Janice Bially Mattern, Jacques Hymans, Alexander Vuving, Jan Mellisen)
  • How soft power and hard power interact (Giulio Gallarotti, Joseph Nye)
  • Whether soft power can be coercive or manipulative, (Janice BIally Mattern, Katzenstein, Duvall & Barnet vs Nye, Vuving)
  • How the relationship between structure and agency work (Hymans vs Nye)
  • Whether soft balancing is occurring (Wohlforth & Brooks vs Walt et al.)
  • Soft power and normative power in Europe (Ian Manners, A Ciambra, Thomas Diez, A Hyde Pryce, Richard Whitman)
  • How civil resistance (i.e., non-violent forms of resistance) can often involve certain uses of soft power, but remains a distinct concept (Adam Roberts, Timothy Garton Ash)


One study finds that a state's soft power has a measurable effect on its exports. Countries that are admired for their positive global influence export more, holding other things constant.[28]


Throughout the world

After Pope John Paul II visited Poland in 1979, some political commentators said his visit influenced events against Poland's Communist regime, the Soviet Empire, and ultimately Communism.[15]

"The Pope won that struggle by transcending politics. His was what Joseph Nye calls "soft power" – the power of attraction and repulsion. He began with an enormous advantage, and exploited it to the utmost: He headed the one institution that stood for the polar opposite of the Communist way of life that the Polish people hated. He was a Pole, but beyond the regime’s reach. By identifying with him, Poles would have the chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the regime. And so they came to him by the millions. They listened. He told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. "Be not afraid," he said. Millions shouted in response, "We want God! We want God! We want God!" The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were finished." [29]

Besides the Pope's visit, American broadcasting into Soviet-occupied Europe, particularly Poland, contributed to the rise of the Solidarity movement and to the collapse of the Soviet-backed regimes there and in the rest of the Warsaw Pact alliance.[16]

The Soviets were the primary competitor to U.S. soft power throughout the

  • House of Lords - The UK's soft power assets: their role and function (
  • Barack Obama & the use of soft power
  • Global Power Barometer
  • Is China’s new communications worldview coming of age? David Bandurski
  • The Benefits of Soft Power
  • Simulation and Soft Power
  • Soft Power definition
  • Soft Power, Smart Power and Intelligent Power A lecture in honor of Joseph Nye
  • Scandal Erodes China’s Soft Power, Frank Ching

External links

  • Giulio Gallarotti, Cosmopolitan Power in International Relations: A Synthesis of Realism, Neoliberalism, and Constructivism, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2010, how hard and soft power can be combined to optimize national power
  • Giulio Gallarotti, The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics, Boulder, CO.: Lynne Rienner Press, 2010, an analysis of how the over reliance on hard power can diminish the influence of nations.
  • Giulio Gallarotti. "Soft Power: What it is, Why It's Important, and the Conditions Under Which it Can Be Effectively Used" Journal of Political Power (2011),
  • Soft Power and US Foreign Policy: Theoretical, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Inderjeet Parmar and Michael Cox, Routledge, 2010.
  • Steven Lukes, "Power and the battle for hearts and minds: on the bluntness of soft power," in Felix Berenskoetter and M.J. Williams, eds. Power in World Politics, Routledge, 2007.
  • Janice Bially Mattern, "Why Soft Power Isn't So Soft," in Berenskoetter and Williams.
  • J.S. Nye, "Notes for a soft power research agenda," in Berenskoetter and Williams.
  • Young Nam Cho and Jong Ho Jeong, "China's Soft Power," Asia Survey 48, 3, pp. 453–72.
  • Yashushi Watanabe and David McConnell, eds, Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States, London, M E Sharpe, 2008.
  • Ingrid d'Hooghe, "Into High Gear: China's Public Diplomacy", The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, No. 3 (2008), pp. 37–61.
  • Ingrid d'Hooghe, "The Rise of China's Public Diplomacy", Clingendael Diplomacy Paper No. 12, The Hague, Clingendael Institute, July 2007, ISBN 978-90-5031-117-5, 36 pp.
  • "Playing soft or hard cop," The Economist, January 19, 2006.
  • Y. Fan, (2008) "Soft power: the power of attraction or confusion", Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 4:2, available at
  • Bruce Jentleson, "Principles: The Coming of a Democratic Century?" from American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century.
  • Jan Melissen, "Wielding Soft Power," Clingendael Diplomacy Papers, No 2, Clingendael, Netherlands, 2005.
  • Chicago Council on Global Affairs, "Soft Power in East Asia" June 2008.
  • Joseph Nye, The Powers to Lead, NY Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Nye, Joseph, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.
  • Joshua Kurlantzick, Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World (Yale University Press, 2007). Analysis of China's use of soft power to gain influence in the world's political arena.
  • John McCormick The European Superpower (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Argues that the European Union has used soft power effectively to emerge as an alternative and as a competitor to the heavy reliance of the US on hard power.
  • Ian Manners, Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?,
  • Matthew Fraser, Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire (St. Martin's Press, 2005). Analysis is focused on the pop culture aspect of soft power, such as movies, television, pop music, Disneyland, and American fast-food brands including Coca-Cola and McDonald's.
  • Middle East Policy Journal: Talking With a Region,
  • Salvador Santino Regilme, The Chimera of Europe's Normative Power in East Asia: A Constructivist Analysis Regilme, Salvador Santino Jr. (March 2011). "The Chimera of Europe's Normative Power in East Asia: A Constructivist Analysis" (PDF). Central European Journal of International and Security Studies 5 (1): 69–90. 

Further reading

  1. ^ Nye, Joseph (8 May 2012). "China's Soft Power Deficit To catch up, its politics must unleash the many talents of its civil society.".  
  2. ^ Nye, Joseph.Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power(New York: Basic Books, 1990).
  3. ^ Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, Manhattan, Kansas, Monday, November 26, 2007.
  4. ^ The red carpet, China's film industry, December 21st, 2013
  5. ^ David Shambaugh, China's Soft-power Push,Foreign Affairs,
  6. ^ McCloryurl=, Jonathan (14 August 2015). "The Soft Power 30 World Rankings" (PDF). Comres. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Softly Does It'"". The Economist. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "UK is global leader in soft power, world’s most comprehensive analysis finds" (PDF). Facebook, Comres, Portland Group. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Nye, Joseph.Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power(New York: Basic Books, 1990).
  11. ^ Joseph Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
  12. ^ Nye, Joseph S. (2011). The Future of Power. New York: PublicAffairs. p. 84.  
  13. ^ a b Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004).
  14. ^ a b c Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004) p. x.
  15. ^ a b c Angelo M. Codevilla, "Political Warfare: A Set of Means for Achieving Political Ends," in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008).
  16. ^ a b c Lord, Carnes, "Public Diplomacy and Soft Power,"in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008.) pp. 59–71.
  17. ^ a b Nye, Joseph S. (2011). The Future of Power. New York: PublicAffairs. p. 81.  
  18. ^ Nye, Joseph S. (2011). The Future of Power. New York: PublicAffairs. p. 82.  
  19. ^ Janice Bially Mattern, "Why 'Soft Power' Isn't So Soft: Representational Force and the Sociolinguistic Construction of Attraction in World Politics," Millennium: Journal of International Studies 33, no. 3 (2005): 586.
  20. ^ a b "Soft Power Survey 2014/15". Monocle. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-27. 
  21. ^ "The Soft Power 30 - Ranking". Portland. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Elcano Global Presence Report" (PDF). Real Instituto Elcano. 2014. pp. 39, 42–43. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  23. ^ McClory, Jonathan (2010-12-07). "The new persuaders: an international ranking of soft power". Institute for Government website (Institute for Government). p. 13. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  24. ^ "The Soft Power 30 - A Global Ranking of Soft Power" (PDF). Portland. July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Softly does it". The Economist. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "In ‘soft power’ terms, Japan ranks eighth out of 30 countries in U.K. consultancy report". Japan Times. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Economic warfare on the silver screen". FRANCE 24. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  28. ^ "Soft power raises exports". Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  29. ^ Angelo M. Codevilla, "Political Warfare: A Set of Means for Achieving Political Ends," in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008)
  30. ^ a b Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004). Ch 3.
  31. ^ Joseph Nye (3 May 2004). "Europe’s Soft Power". The Globalist. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  32. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 2012 - European Union (EU)". Nobel Prize. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "From war to peace: European Union accepts Nobel Prize". CNN. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  34. ^ Friedberg, Aaron L. A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia, New York: Norton Publishing, 2011.
  35. ^ Felgenhauer, Pavel. "The Fall of Gaddafi Angers Many In Moscow". Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 164. September 8, 2011.
  36. ^ Friedberg, Aaron L. A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia, New York: Norton Publishing, 2011. p. 200
  37. ^ Lord, Carnes, "Public Diplomacy and Soft Power,"in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008) p. 60.
  38. ^ Defense Science Board, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, September 2004)
  39. ^ Steele, Robert D. The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political: Citizen's Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs and Corruption. Oakton, Virginia: OSS International Press, 2002.
  40. ^ Carnes Lord, "Public Diplomacy and Soft Power," in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008) p. 61.
  41. ^ Carnes Lord, "Public Dipmoacy and Soft Power," in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008)
  42. ^ Sondhaus, Lawrence (2009). Soft power, hard power, and the Pax Americana. Taylor & Francis. p. 204-8.  
  43. ^ a b "Soft Power Survey 2012". Monocle. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  44. ^ "House of Lords: The Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "House of Lords: Soft Power debate". UK Parliament. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  46. ^ "The best diplomatic service in the world: strengthening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as an Institution". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "Embassies". Commonwealth of Nations. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  48. ^ "Benefits of EU membership". British Influence. July 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
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  50. ^ "How the Westminster Parliamentary System was exported around the World". University of Cambridge. 2 December 2013. 
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  52. ^ "Our Organisation". British Council. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  53. ^ "London 2012: World's Press Heaps Praise On The Olympic Opening Ceremony". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  54. ^ "Review of Impact of London 2012 Games on Perceptions of Britain Overseas" (PDF). Visit Britain. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
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  63. ^ Roberts, Richard (2008). The City: A Guide to London's Global Financial Centre. Economist. p. 2. 
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  67. ^ Germany tops world 'soft power' rankings;
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  69. ^ Joseph S. Nye Jr. Why China Is Weak on Soft Power; Jan, 17, 2012
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  76. ^ Faiola, Anthony (August 31, 2006). "'"Japanese Women Catch the 'Korean Wave. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  77. ^ Constant, Linda (14 November 2011). "K-pop: Soft Power for the Global Cool".  
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See also

"Cool Japan" is a concept coined in 2002 as an expression of Japan’s popular culture. The concept has been adopted by the Japanese government as well as trade bodies seeking to exploit the commercial capital of the country’s culture industry.[95][96] It has been described as a form of soft power, “the ability to indirectly influence behavior or interests through cultural or ideological means”.[97] In a 2002 article in the journal Foreign Policy titled “Japan’s Gross National Cool”, Douglas McGray wrote of Japan “reinventing superpower” as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the “lost decade”. Surveying youth culture and the role of J-pop, manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan’s considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project. He also argued that Japan’s recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.[98][99]


Russia has been developing its soft power by investing in various public diplomacy instruments throughout the 2000s[91] but the term was first used in an official document in 2010 as President Medvedev approved an Addendum to the national Foreign Policy Concept. The term was not defined but it was described as related to cultural diplomacy.[92] In 2013, the term appeared in a new version of the Foreign Policy Concept itself soft power was defined as "a comprehensive toolkit for achieving foreign policy objectives building on civil society potential, information, cultural and other methods and technologies alternative to traditional diplomacy".[93] In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin was named Time Person of the Year. In 2013, he was named most powerful person by Forbes magazine.[94]


First driven by the spread of Korean dramas televised across East, South and Southeast Asia during its initial stages, the Korean Wave evolved from a regional development into a global phenomenon due to the proliferation of Korean pop (K-pop) music videos on YouTube.[82] Currently, the spread of the Korean Wave to other regions of the world is most visibly seen among teenagers and young adults in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and immigrant enclaves of the Western world.[83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90]

In 2012, the BBC's country rating poll revealed that public opinion of South Korea has been improving every year since the first rating poll for the country was conducted in 2009. In several countries such as Russia, India, China and France, public opinion of South Korea turned from slightly negative to generally positive. The report cited culture and tradition as among the most important factors contributing to positive perceptions of South Korea.[80] This comes alongside a rapid growth in the total value of cultural exports which rose to US$4.2 billion in 2011.[81]

In the 21st century, culture is power.
— South Korean president Park Geun-hye.[79]

"Hallyu", also known as the "Korean Wave", is a neologism referring to the increase in the popularity of South Korean culture since the late 1990s. According to a Washington Post reporter, the increased popularity of South Korean entertainment has led to higher sales of other goods and services such as food, clothing, video games, and Korean language classes.[76] Besides increasing the amount of exports, the Korean Wave is used by the government as a soft power tool to engage with the masses of young people all over the world,[77] and to reduce anti-Korean sentiment.[78]

As is clear with the recent rise of Psy's "Gangnam Style",
the Hallyu-wave and Korean pop music, Korean culture
is making its mark on the world.
—United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon[75]
U.S. President Barack Obama: "...And of course, around the world, people are being swept up by Korean culture -- the Korean Wave"[74]

South Korea's Hallyu diplomacy

Outside of Africa, Chinese soft power extends to countries like the Barbados. Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson expressed admiration for the Chinese economic model and sought to emulate the way Chinese state controlled banks guided development.[73]

Furthermore, there is an increasing support for cultural visitors programs which gained momentum in 2004 when the African Cultural Visitors Program was established. There is a rising number of African entrepreneurs who choose to move to China and there are also diaspora communities in many Chinese cities that have been found.[72]

Cultural exchange between China and Africa can be a representative example of how China has been spreading its soft power. In 2005, the first Confucius Institute was established in Africa. The institute is funded by the Chinese government and it provides Chinese language and cultural programming to the public. There are 19 institutes today in Africa and China has planned to spend 20 million renminbi for education projects in South Africa, including the teaching of Mandarin in 50 local high schools.

China has made a systematic effort to expand and give greater profile to its soft-power policies in Africa ever since the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000. The commitments of China's soft power ranges from health, humanitarian assistance to academic, professional and cultural exchange. China's assistance to Africa, however, is not near the U.S. assistance in Africa.

A spring 2014 Global Attitudes survey from Pew Research Center states China receives mostly positive reviews in the sub-Saharan African nations polled, although South Africans are closely divided (45% favorable, 40% unfavorable).[71] China's increasing soft power can be explained by looking at China's economic growth and regarding economic engagement with many African countries. China's expansion of trade and investment on the African continent and the spread of Chinese-led infrastructure projects gives positive impression about China towards people in Africa. China's economic engagement in African countries is considered as much more pragmatic and in consistency with the priorities of many African countries. Moreover, China's increasing role as a global superpower seems appealing and this drives a desire to tie African economies more closely to China's economy.

China's traditional culture has been a source of attraction, building on which it has created several hundred Confucius Institutes around the world to teach its language and culture. The enrollment of foreign students in China has increased from 36,000 a decade ago to at least 240,000 in 2010.[69] China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has attracted many western countries to join.[70]


The annual soft power rankings by Monocle magazine and the Institute for Government ranks 30 countries which “best attract favor from other nations through culture, sport, cuisine, design, diplomacy and beyond.” Monocle magazine said: “Merkel may be painted as a stern taskmaster but it seems she has a softer side, or the country she leads does.” It said Germany’s rise as a soft power should not come as a surprise. “The country is traditionally excellent at pursuing its ideas, values and aims using diplomatic, cultural and economic tools," it said. “By quietly doing the simple things well it is a country that has become a global power and the rest of us can feel comfortable with that.” Germans had been understandably wary about depicting a dominant image aboard, the magazine added, but it said that the country’s rise should not make everyone else feel uncomfortable.[67][68]


Alongside the English language, English contract law is the most important and most used contract law in international business.[60][61] London is the headquarters for four of the world's six largest law firms.[62] The UK and more specifically London is a centre of international finance where foreign participants in financial markets come to deal with one another.[63][64] It is headquarters for major international corporations, many of which choose to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.[65][66]

The influence of British culture and brands is widespread, particularly notable during the period of British Invasion and more recently the Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Summer Olympics.[51][52] The opening and closing ceremonies celebrated British culture and achievements with the world.[53][54] London is the only city to have hosted the modern Olympics three times.[55] British media is broadcast internationally, notably the BBC World Service, BBC World News and The Economist magazine. British film and literature have international appeal, and British theatre helps make London one of the most visited cities in the world.[56][57] Schools and universities in Britain are popular destinations for students of other nations.[58][59]

The UK has strong diplomatic relations with countries around the world, particularly countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and many others in Europe, Asia, the Middle-east, Africa and the United States.[46] Diplomatic missions between Commonwealth countries are known as High Commissions rather than Embassies to indicate the closeness of the relationship.[47] As a member of the European Union, the UK exerts influence both on countries within the Union, and on other countries around the world.[48][49] The United Kingdom has one of the largest global networks of diplomatic missions.[43] Many countries around the world use the British form of democracy and government known as the Westminster system.[50]

Since the period of Pax Britannica the United Kingdom has held significant soft power.[42] Today, it remains one of the most influential countries in the world, and came first in the Monocle survey of global soft power in 2012.[43][44][45]

United Kingdom

"Satellite TV is actively promoting American soft power in the Arab world in ways that the United States has been incapable of doing. The launch of the Arabic-language Radio Sawa in Arabic and Radio Farda in Persian – have captured a substantial market share in their target regions."[16]
Alhurra Logo

Studies of American broadcasting into the Soviet bloc, and testimonials from Czech President Václav Havel, Polish President Lech Wałęsa, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin support that soft power efforts of the United States and its allies during the Cold War were ultimately successful in creating the favorable conditions that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire.[41]

The United States has long had a great deal of soft power. Examples include Franklin D. Roosevelt's four freedoms in Europe at the end of World War II, young people behind the Iron Curtain listening to radio Free Europe, Chinese students symbolizing their protests in Tiananmen Square by creating a replica of the Statue of Liberty that they called "Goddess of Democracy", newly liberated Afghans in 2001 asking for a copy of the Bill of Rights and young Iranians today surreptitiously watching banned American videos and satellite television broadcasts in the privacy of their homes.[14] America's early commitment to religious toleration, for example, was a powerful element of its overall appeal to potential immigrants; and American aid in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II was an advertisement both of the prosperity and the generosity of the people of the United States.

"Soft power has been a strong suit for the United States virtually from its inception – certainly long before the country became a recognized world power in the twentieth century. American 'exceptionalism' – the nation’s devotion to freedom, the rule of law, and the practice of republican government, its openness to immigrants of all races and religions, its opposition to traditional power politics and imperialism – has had a great deal to do with the rise of the United States to its currently dominant global role." [40]

United States

to recruit members and project their voice on the global stage. [39] The

Soft power extends beyond the operations of government, to the activities of the private sector and to society and culture at large.[37] Soft power has gained more influence because it addresses the underlying dispositions of the people who have increasingly become more active in their governments.[15] This is true even in authoritarian countries where people and institutions are increasingly able to shape the debate.[38]

Asia and more recently China have been working to use the potential soft power assets that are present in the admiration of their ancient cultures, ares, fashion and cuisine. China is currently competing with the United States in areas of soft power by presenting itself as a defender of national sovereignty.[34] This became an issue after the NATO air campaign to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and NATO's support of the rebels in Libya.[35] The Chinese are also competing with the United States to gain influence throughout the South Pacific, however some commentators have said their recent assertiveness in this region has created an appeal for nations in this region to align with the United States thus increasing U.S. soft power in this area.[36]

[33][32] "for over six decades [it has] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".Nobel Peace Prize was awarded the European Union throughout the world. Unlike America, the Europeans love of soccer enhances their soft power globally, whereas the primary sports of the U.S. such as football and baseball are largely unpopular on the world stage. In 2012, the international law and human rights Europe also competes with U.S. in promotion of [30] consisting of its art, literature, music, design, fashion, and even food have been global magnets for some time.European culture [31]

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