Friday, October 29, 2010

Soft power

"China’s state-led model of winning hearts and minds is no match for India’s private effort", writes Sadanand Dhume in "Likable India" in The Wall Street Journal (October 25, 2010). A few excerpts.
"Scholars and journalists alike tend to make much of China’s vaunted "charm offensive." It turns out, however, that when it comes to winning hearts and minds—at least democratic hearts and minds—China’s top down state-led model is not much of a match for India’s decentralized private effort."

"In terms of goodwill, India bests China in both Western and Eastern democracies. For instance, according to a poll released last month by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Americans place India in the same ballpark as long-term allies South Korea and Israel. China elicits only about as much warmth as Venezuela and Mexico."

"A recent BBC World Service poll of 28 countries says more or less the same thing. On average, more than half of Americans, Britons and Canadians feel "mainly positive" about India; only about one in six feel "mainly negative." With China the numbers are reversed. Barely one in three from the Anglophone countries feel mostly positive about the Middle Kingdom; for more than four in 10 the emotions evoked are negative. Similarly, more Japanese, Indonesians and South Koreans feel positively than negatively toward India; with China it’s the opposite."

"For many people, India is probably more likeable in part because it’s not nearly as threatening as a powerful, well-organized China."

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