Soft power, or the good, the bad and the ugly
In the globalised world of the 21st century, with the widespread use of the Internet and the development of information technology, soft power - in the broadest sense - is becoming increasingly important in geopolitical battles.
Soft power, or the good, the bad and the ugly
Geurasia

Soft power, or the good, the bad and the ugly

Photo:
15/07/2024 07:00

Levente Horváth, Ph.D.,
Director of the Eurasia Center,
Editor-in-Chief of Eurasia

In the globalised world of the 21st century, with the widespread use of the Internet and the development of information technology, soft power - in the broadest sense - is becoming increasingly important in geopolitical battles.

The concept of soft power was coined by Joseph Nye, a professor at Harvard University, in the late 1980s, but of course it existed before then and is now a fundamental concept in the study of rivalries between great powers. After the Second World War, which was about hard power, i.e. military strength, the ideological struggle took the place of skirmishes. The great powers are no longer trying to gain political influence worldwide through military superiority, but through ideological brainwashing. The United States has been at the top of the various soft power rankings - Brand Finance's Global Soft Power, ISSF World Soft Power Index, Monocle's Soft Power Survey, Portland's The Soft Power 30 Report, etc. - for many years. The most obvious example of this is Hollywood.

Levente Horváth

We learn about the world through Hollywood films - in the American narrative: the US is the saviour and protector of the earth, and the Russians/Arabs/Chinese (depending on where they are in conflict) are the world's villains in charge. Of course, since the Chinese market has become very important to Hollywood, nowadays the Chinese are no longer portrayed as villains, but as neutral actors.

In the 21st century, social networks have become very important for spreading different ideologies and views. Moreover, a kind of information war has broken out, with Western soft power using its information bubble to tell us that only the Western mainstream conveys reality and the truth, while other superpowers only spread disinformation with their propaganda. In fact, the Western mainstream media and soft power constantly demonise the non-Western world, idolise their own world and then export this image and thinking everywhere. However, in reality, outside the Western world and information bubble, in the 7.2 billion-strong "rest of the world", Western soft power is seen as Western disinformation propaganda. Moreover, there are as many civilisations as there are soft power strategies. China is now producing Hollywood-level films and series, but unlike the Koreans, they are not spreading to the global market. Chinese soft power, as we have come to know it in its 5,000-year history, spreads the greatness of Chinese civilisation, the technological sophistication of the country and wants to create a better image of itself in the world.

The main aim of Eurasia magazine is to present the culture, developments and characteristics of Asian countries, the thinking and soft power of Eastern peoples, so that we can get to know the other side of the coin with the West and thus be able to think properly about what the true reality is. This is probably the middle way between the various disinformation propaganda.

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