This week, the economist release an article about Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power and how it is relatively overlooked at times. The concept of hard power and soft power are complementary. Both must exists to a certain extent for an administration to optimise their full capability.
My final project two semesters ago was exactly the topic of China using Confucius Institutes (CI) all around universities to have some influence. This is by no means a negative connotation. At times, media amplifies China’s position as a ruthless Dragon waiting to engulf the world with its flames of fury. Thus, CI’s play an important role in mending this. Their influences provide the international community with a positive perspective of China and its people. Exchange programs, language programs and workshops/seminars are just some methods where their influences stem from.
Just with any concept, there is also another side to everything. What are the adverse effects of these CIs? Could there also be negative effects or influences? Well, that is up to you to decide.
My paper discussed how China has used education (such as the CIs) as a legitimate foreign policy tool to layout there influences through the channel of Nye’s soft power. The only issue with soft power is measurability and accountability. Can we attempt to do either? If so, would it be reliable?