Analysis: The Soft Power Surge
Council on Foreign Relations
July 21, 2008
Author: Greg Bruno
In parts of Africa and Asia, the effort to promote U.S. values and influence foreign publics—either via broadcasts, cultural exchanges, or government-sponsored programs—may already be paying off. According to a recent global attitudes survey by the Pew Research Center, positive views of the United States (PDF) in the last twelve months inched up in Tanzania, South Korea, India, China, and elsewhere. But in a number of Muslim states, the study found very low favorability ratings for the United States. There are indications these publics are already looking past the Bush administration to its successor. The U.S. presidential campaign between Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is generating enormous interest outside the country, though experts say either one faces major challenges to burnishing the U.S. image abroad.
President Bush's national terrorism strategy of 2006 noted that "winning the war on terror means winning the battle of ideas." Two years later, "soft power" diplomacy is gaining steam.
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