China’s Quest For Soft Power
Whatever exaggerated stories one might be spinning of American decline, one place where it’s clear we remain dominant is in “soft power” — our culture is the driver of world culture. The world primarily looks at how we strut, sing, dance, tell stories, entertain ourselves etc. In the news part of this, taking a cue from the unexpected success of Qatar’s Al Jazeera, China is attempting to tell its story directly in the US, as CCTV, the national broadcaster launches US produced programming. While American television news has been on a quick spiral to the bottom in actually delivering news, the Chinese perhaps don’t get it if they think that a channel that is a propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist party is going to deliver the soft power that China lacks. Nonetheless, it is an interesting story to follow, and perhaps it will shed light on the durability of US soft power. Here is the story in the FT.
(An interesting footnote is how often other cultures become part of world culture when they fuse with American culture through the immigrant experience — think of the influence of Indian-American authors or a certain Taiwanese-American baller.)