- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
- Israel’s ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
Is growing ‘soft power’ key to China’s influence?
Question of the Day
There is almost no resemblance between that and China’s current efforts to buy influence. While China’s brand of Leninist capitalism and its disdain for human rights may attract favorable notice from dictators, even here China’s new clout is fundamentally based on what Mr. Nye called “the hard power of threats or payments.”
That is to say, it is in return for football stadiums, public works projects, exchange programs, generous aid packages, not to mention support in controversies with the United States and U.S.-led international organizations, that leaders in dozens of countries are cozying up to China. We are witnessing an exercise in hard power, not soft.
This conceptual confusion aside, Mr. Kurlantzick offers several useful case studies of how China operates on the ground to expand its influence. In Cambodia, when the World Bank threatened to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assistance because of Phnom Penh’s “rampant corruption and its crackdown on civil liberties,” China rode to the rescue with an April 2006 offer of $600 million worth of grants and loans.
In Angola, home of the second-largest oil deposits in Africa, the International Monetary Fund tried to force the government “to agree to provisions that would slash graft and improve economic management.” Again China stepped in, offering a package of loans and credits worth up to 6 billion, on condition that Chinese firms carry out the reconstruction of the oil infrastructure. Privileged access to Angola’s oil resources may well be another, unpublicized, condition.
Mr. Kurlantzick ends by contrasting America’s idealistic promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights (along with, it must be said, more unsavory things such as population control and gender feminism) with China’s supposedly more pragmatic approach to international relations.
But China has its ideals as well. And its ideal, readers of “Charm Offensive” will come away convinced, is a world that pays tribute to China’s preeminence and sends its resources to Chinese ports, a world in which corrupt oligarchies rule and human rights are relegated to the dustbin of history. Such is the naivete of our current efforts to make China a “responsible stakeholder” in the existing international order.
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Rick Perry: County jails in Texas have taken in 203,000 "criminal aliens"
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- ISTOOK: The secret is out: 'Unaccompanied minors' are only one-fourth of illegal border-crossers
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Tony Dungy doubles down on Michael Sam remarks: 'Drafting him would bring much distraction'
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq