Soft Power

A pedestrian walks over a bridge in Belgrade as heavy fog and air pollution dominate the sky over the Serbian capital Belgrade on Jan. 16, 2020.

How Serbia Became China’s Dirty-Energy Dumping Ground

Belgrade is vital to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. But as China takes over old industrial sites, Serbian citizens are suffering the environmental consequences.

A performer on stilts dressed in the colors of the flag of the European Union attends a "March for Europe" gathering to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which created the precursor to the European Union, on March 25, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

Is Europe Any Good at Soft Power?

The increasingly aggressive authoritarianism of Belarus is an acute test of the EU’s diplomatic self-image.

A Bharatiya Janata Party member wears a face mask at birthday celebrations for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai, India, on Sept. 16, 2020.

The End of Modi’s Global Dreams

India’s prime minister advanced a muscular foreign policy, but his mishandling of the pandemic is an embarrassing step back.

A woman wearing a face mask holds a sign during a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence near Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 20.

Young People in China Are Losing Faith in the West

And that spells trouble for liberal democracy and Beijing’s relations with Washington.

Clerics walk along a market street near the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Iran's holy city of Qom

Iran Is Trying to Convert Syria to Shiism

Ten years after entering Syria’s civil war, Tehran is using religion to make its influence there permanent.

An Emirati man wears a protective mask with the flags of the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, on Aug. 31, 2020.

Israel Is the Arab World’s New Soft Power

Arab countries are increasingly competing to deepen ties with their former enemy.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a public meeting at Jerenga Pathar in Assam, India, on Jan. 23.

Modi Spent India’s Soft Power—and Got Little in Return

The prime minister has decided that international criticism is a price worth paying for pursuing his domestic agenda, but he shouldn’t be so sure.

China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump review the Chinese honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017.

How Trump’s Assault on International Organizations Benefits Beijing

The United States was already fighting with China for influence at global organizations, but the pandemic made everything worse.

Members of BTS attend the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards at Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Japan, on Dec. 4, 2019.

China Backs Off From Fight With K-Pop Fans

South Korea’s soft power should be a model for Beijing.

Paramilitary police march near the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China.

COVID-19 Might Not Change the World

Pandemics are not always transformative events. While some worrying preexisting trends could accelerate, it’s incorrect to assume that the coronavirus will end globalization, kill liberal democracy, or enhance China’s soft power.

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit look at an artic map of the world with the museum official Kasia Majewski at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, Nov. 7, 2016.

All Great-Power Politics Is Local

When it comes to building international power, there’s growing reason to think that foreign policy barely matters.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres meets Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sept. 3, 2018.

China’s Soft-Power Grab

Beijing is ramping up support for U.N. and a host of other international organizations, racking up more influence even as Washington is in headlong retreat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Igor Sechin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 1, 2019. Among the powerful businessmen and officials with whom Putin surrounds himself is Sechin, a former KGB agent in East Africa who worked as Putin’s secretary in the 1990s and is now the head of state-owned oil giant Rosneft. ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP via Getty Images

How Putin and the KGB Took Control of Russia—and Duped the West

An important new book details the carefully calculated rise of a modern-day tsar.

Two members of the National Guard walk past at the World War II Memorial as protests against police brutality and racism take place

It’s Not Just Trump. The World Worries America Is Broken.

Protests against police brutality and systemic racism highlight what is seen as the United States’ accelerated decline.

Foreign Policy illustration

No, the Coronavirus Will Not Change the Global Order

We should be skeptical toward claims that the pandemic changes everything. China won’t benefit, and the United States will remain preeminent.

posh-britain-decoder-sign-article

British Elites Know Who Isn’t Quite Their Type

The term “posh” appeals to foreigners, but the British know there are teeth underneath the smile.

Women wave a Lebanese national flag and Lebanese Shiite movement flags in front of portraits of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Iran’s Proxies Are More Powerful Than Ever

The Trump administration’s maximum pressure strategy is working—just not in the way that matters most.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Aug. 25.

Asia’s Coming Era of Unpredictability

Why the crisis in Hong Kong and a deterioration in relations between South Korea and Japan are just the beginning of a broader period of flux in Asia.

From left, U.S. Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pause between answering questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 15.

America’s Road to Reputational Ruin

The decline in U.S. soft power didn’t start with Trump, but he accelerated it this week with his racist tweets.