soft power

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Hezbollah supporter displays a picture of Iran's late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini as he marks Ashura in a southern suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Oct. 1, 2017.

The Hidden Sources of Iranian Strength

Iran’s ties with its proxies are far deeper than the Trump administration understands.

Donald Trump eats pizza at his office in Trump Tower on April 1, 2005 in New York City. (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

The Middle East Doesn’t Admire America Anymore

What a late-night meal in Italy taught me about U.S. power in the Arab world.

Chinese President Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and U.S. President Donald Trump pose with other Asian leaders during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam on Nov. 11, 2017.
(Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

Putin and Xi Outrank Trump in Global Confidence Poll

Merkel and Macron come out far ahead in a new Pew Research survey.

Participants arrive for the final of a Chinese language dictation contest  at the Vladivostok branch of the Confucious Institute at the Far Eastern Federal University on Feb 18, 2017. (Yuri Smityuk/TASS/ Getty Images)

Forget Hearts and Minds

Soft power is out; sharp power is in. Here's how to win the new influence wars.

A decorative plate featuring an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen behind statues of late communist leader Mao Zedong at a souvenir store next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on February 27. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

The Rise and Fall of Soft Power

Joseph Nye’s concept lost relevance, but China could bring it back.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, then-Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May pose for a photo at the G-7 summit in Sicily on May 26, 2017. (Miguel Medine/AFP/Getty Images)

Bullies Don’t Win at Diplomacy

President Donald Trump is learning that, just because the United States is powerful, that doesn’t mean it can push other countries around.

Apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone in the Indian capital New Delhi. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Tech Companies Are Ruining America’s Image

The United States has become identified with the global internet economy — for better and worse.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is sworn in at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 1, 2017. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

There’s No Happy Ending for Rex Tillerson

The secretary of state has held on for a year, but it’s too late for his tenure to end well.

North Korea's all-female Moranbong band perform in Pyongyang on May 11, 2016. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

How a Girl Band May Unify Korea

How to solve the Korean crisis through the power of kitschy, hyperpatriotic pop music.

U.S. President Donald Trump at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Japan on November 5, 2017. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump Is the Worst Salesman America Has Ever Had

The United States is more unpopular than ever before, and that’s no accident.

CORRECTION - US President Donald Trump (C), President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron walk to the Hotel San Domenico during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Sicily.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE                   has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [President of the European Council Donald Tusk] instead of [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

America’s Not First. It’s Third.

The United States slips behind France and the U.K. in this year’s soft-power ranking.

A freight train transporting containers laden with goods from the UK, departs from DP World London Gateway's rail freight depot in Corringham, east of London, on April 10, 2017, enroute to Yiwu in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.
The first-ever freight train from Britain to China started its mammoth journey on Monday along a modern-day "Silk Road" trade route as Britain eyes new opportunities after it leaves the European Union. The 32-container train, around 600 metres (656 yards) long, left the vast London Gateway container port laden with whisky, soft drinks and baby products, bound for Yiwu on the east coast of China. / AFP PHOTO / Isabel Infantes        (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s Continent-Spanning Trains Are Running Half-Empty

Beijing's funding dozens of new rail routes as part of its global ambitions — and losing money on every one. So what's the long game?