Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sharp Power: The Growing Challenge to Democracy [audio]

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The concept of “soft power” evokes for many a benign alternative to the exercise of hard power as nations strive for strategic influence abroad. Among the United States and its democratic allies, soft power involves public diplomacy [JB emphasis], people-to-people programs, student exchanges, cultural outreach and broadcasting news to foreign publics. For authoritarian regimes, however, the open exchange of ideas that characterize democracies is seen as a weakness and vulnerability to be exploited. In our globalized information environment, countries like China and Russia practice a very different kind of influence projection, termed “sharp power” by the authors of a new study published by the National Endowment of Democracy.

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