China is expanding its use of cultural, educational, and diplomatic tools to increase its appeal across the world. The move comes as U.S. cultural influence slips and some say the United States may be losing its "soft power," or ability to gain influence through non-coercive means.
While U.S. cultural exports, from Hollywood movies to books to fashion and soft drinks, exercise a dominant influence in the world marketplace, experts say America's "soft power" is declining. That creates opportunities for China.
Each year, the Council invites members to bring their guests of high school-age and older to a special “Daughters and Sons” meeting. This year, in cooperation with HBO, the Council will screen the HBO documentary Afghan Star. Since 2005, millions of Afghans have followed the reality television program Afghan Star, whose contestants – irrespective of ethnicity, age, or gender – compete for a cash prize and a record deal. For many viewers, who vote for contestants via cell phone, it is their first experience with the democratic process in a country where television, music, and dancing were once forbidden under Taliban rule.
Following the screening, a panel of experts will provide perspective on the broader cultural realities of Afghanistan and their implications for U.S. policy toward the country, where well over half the population is below the age of twenty-five.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »