Soft power scholar Joseph S. Nye, Jr. evaluates how public diplomacy investment impacts American soft power in the Trump administration.
China will almost certainly pass the United States in the total size of its economy within a decade or so. But if one looks also at military and "soft power" resources, the United States is likely to remain more powerful than China for at least the next few decades. Does it matter?
No-one has been more skeptical about Chinese soft power than Joseph Nye, the man who first coined the phrase twenty years ago. In particular, Nye has criticized Beijing’s efforts to acquire soft power through centralized schemes, like the spread of Confucius Institutes or the establishment at the end of last year of the China Public Diplomacy Association. Despite “spending billions of dollars to increase its soft power … China has had a limited return on its investment,” he recently argued.