The relation of soft power and hard power in China and/or East Asian countries - Essay Example

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The terms “soft power” and “hard power” are used to describe the way that a country relates to other countries in the world.They derive from the work of Nye and others who have analysed how power always exists in a particular context in which different entities stand in some relationship with one another…
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Download file to see previous pages The terms “soft power” and “hard power” are used to describe the way that a country relates to other countries in the world.They derive from the work of Nye and others who have analysed how power always exists in a particular context in which different entities stand in some relationship with one another. Power can be seen as legitimate, and it can aid stability but it can also act as a catalyst for conflict and instability. International relations are full of examples of both kinds of power. Traditionally China has been viewed as a country that prefers to use “hard power”, in other words military or economic actions to ensure that its interests are followed in the region and even further afield. Certainly it is true that many internal Chinese affairs have been resolved using elements of “hard power” tactics, such as the suppression of dissent by armed forces and a governmental hard line on any moves towards independence and separation from China in regions around its periphery. “Soft power” means the application of non-forceful tactics such as strategically planned foreign aid, cultural activities, diplomatic missions and various forms of joint working on international projects. . The evidence of the last few decades since the end of the Mao era is that China has distanced itself from military conflict and has effected a number of foreign policy changes without any use of force. Despite China’s colossal size, its growing economy and its increasing success in world markets, there has been surprisingly little actual friction, even its own immediate surrounding area. The work of Sheng Ding helps to clarify China’s own view of where it stands on the hard power/soft power spectrum : “Everybody agrees that China is playing an increasingly more important role in global affairs, but the consensus on the approach and nature of the state’s ascendancy has yet to be reached in the academic policy worlds.” (Ding, 2010, p. 256) [this uncertainty shows that observers see no clear choice for soft of hard power tactics in modern China] “For more than two millennia, the idea of soft power had been constantly advocated and comprehensively utilized by ancient Chinese Rulers.” (Ding, 2010, p. 262) [this suggests that the Cultural Revolution was an extreme era, and that in fact China is culturally much more comfortable with soft power, avoiding face to face conflict, and finding smarter solutions which win over a potential enemy before any fighting breaks out] “China’s development of soft power is critical for realizing the dream of becoming a great power, especially since China’s hard power resources lag far behind those of the status quo power- The United States. (Ding, 2010, p. 264) [this suggests that it soft power is the best and most logical strategy for China, given the competition that already exists in the world] “China must provide reassurance and pursue cooperation in its foreign relations so that no major opposition arises against its ascendancy. (Ding, 2010, p. 266) [this points out that China has still got some catching up to do, and while it is in this development phase, soft power is the best way to protect emerging social and economic reforms and ensure a continuing rise to ascendancy] Evidence for China’s use of soft power in recent years can be seen in its handling of the Olympic Games of 2008. The impressive staging of the games, signified in a way the emergence of China out of its self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world. Wang (2005) argues that in recent years China has been pursuing a risk averse foreign policy which follows a “three p strategy : preservation, prosperity and power/prestige.” Hesitation over the words power and prestige illustrates exactly the dilemma that China has in determining what kind of leading position it wants to take in the world, now that it has decided to become more fully involved. Pure power, based on strength of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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