The ability of influencing other people’s thoughts, behaviors and culture to a certain alignment and inclination to achieve a desired outcome is referred to as power. Power may take different forms from coercion, attraction or even inducement. Many nations and countries have had the desire to gain more power through accumulation of economic growth and enhancement of military might in their quench to achieve the country’s national goals. Therefore for a country to be considered powerful, their reputation must be good and appealing to others; this reason forced many states especially in the 17th century to input a lot of efforts in improving and maintaining their reputation in the international frontier. It is notable that after both first and second world wars, countries endeavored in cultivation of international professional image which was entrenched in their national objectives and culture to form the core of international politics. Every mean and methods were utilized by respective countries to promote their image in the international field most importantly to appeal and please other countries to align their economic, socio-cultural and political ideologies to their own (Joshua 2007).
Technological developments were mostly utilized to publicize and publicly declare the country’s policies to others through use of radio, internet innovations and collaborative events. A notable transition has been witnessed since both world war one, two and even after the cold war. Countries have shifted from utilization and deployment of hard power which included use of military operations and economic strength to coerce and threaten other states to align their operations and accept certain socio-cultural, political and economic doctrines. The common methodology that countries have adopted is the use of attractive means through influential policies, cultures and political systems in the Soft power method. Soft power represents the ability to use attractive means and ways to influence others to achieve a desired outcome as opposed to use of force through coercion in military operations and economic sanctions. Soft power is defined as the ability of state to use other attractive means besides force, payments and coercion (Joshua 2007).
This ability arises from how attractive and appealing the country’s culture, policies and political ideologies are shaped. Therefore enhancement of soft power is regarded as how legitimate policies and cultures are perceived by others. Achievement of these powers has been diversified and adopted through use of three major channels including; force and coercion in military and economic fields like the US, lower dimensions like use of international crime, contagious diseases and climate change strategies, soft dimensions in cultural and economic dimensions like Japan, European Union and most notably China. Other nations have adopted the use of hybrid of both soft and hard power a strategy termed as “Smart Power” (Joshua 2007).
China and the Soft Power
China unlike US has utilized soft power approach to achieve its international goal which has been mostly inclined to the use of hard power especially military and economic might. China’s influence has been concentrated on its favorable cultural styles, foreign policies which are regarded legitimate and commands moral authority and political values which have been held both at home and abroad. China’s institutions, governance and administrative approaches have been attractive to other players in the international frontier gathering respect and worth of emulations. The country has achieved this through collaborative efforts in economic fields, good and close relations with other countries and cultural exchange programs with other countries have won it a good public opinion in the international frontier. China has exploited both high soft power targeting to elites and low soft power aimed at the general public across the world (Joshua 2007).
Therefore china has been regarded as the champion of second face of power since the use of soft power adopts an indirect way to influence others unconsciously and unobtrusively. Democratic institutions and transparent accountable administrative governance structures adopted by china has boosted their development of strong soft power not only in Asia and Africa but also in the European Union countries as well as Latin American countries. The potential of china as a resource of soft power has been developed from the rich and attractiveness of its arts, designs, fashion and ancient culture which had a strong and immense impart across the world. The massive investments china has adopted not only in Asia and Latin American countries but also in Africa excludes military operations but includes all other forms like economic investments, formal diplomacy and humanitarian aid. China and other Asian countries like Japan have developed conscious strategies to enhance their imposition of soft power in the international frontier (Joshua 2007).
China has increased the use cultural, educational and diplomatic tools to influence and increase its appeals in the international frontier. The increase support of china in the cultural exchange programs with other countries, active participation in educational development activities like sending doctors, teachers and lecturers abroad, opening doors to thousands of foreign students to study in china besides establishment and funding of Chinese programs abroad. The Confucius Institutes established abroad by china is aimed at promoting Chinese language; transmit Chinese aspects of learning as well as their cultural activities and norms to other countries. The massive investments undertaken by china in other countries have been a major boost to the transmission of its cultures, policies and influence especially institutions already established in Japan, India, US, Australia and Sweden. China’s foreign relations with other nation states have been anchored in the development of a win-win diplomacy strategy enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation and multilateralism. The development of a free trade area in china has promoted economic cooperation with other nation states which acts a source of strong foreign investment which has strengthened its international image through enhancement of international free trade (Joshua 2007).