New forms of international relations, where knowledge diplomacy is a significant soft power tool, are being shaped.
Ambassador Tom Fletcher discusses the results of the Soft Power 30 report.
The Qatar crisis raises two issues in the field of international relations today. The first is to disprove the mainstream Cold War-era view that small states cannot play a significant role in global affairs. The second is that big powers always use hard means to take control of ambitious, small states in order to preserve the status quo.
Just as many fans have been grudgingly coming to terms with football’s new reality, Qatar Sports Investments shelled out the £198m to transfer Neymar from Barcelona. This hardly came as a surprise. Neymar is a phenomenal talent. But it is important to understand what lies behind this: governments from across Asia have been targeting football for some time as a means of building their global soft power and boosting their images.
Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj, despite a monthslong rift between Doha and four Arab countries led by Riyadh that prompted both sides to trade accusations of politicizing the pilgrimage.
Doha-based beIN Sports, a successor to the Al Jazeera Sports network, has been a mainstay in the homes of many football-loving Arabs. [...] However, the political dispute between Qatar and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in June opened the door for other Arab networks to challenge beIN’s stranglehold on sports broadcasts.
"The announcement of Neymar's transfer to PSG was piloted among the high ranks in Qatar as a sort of communications strategy that would overshadow the debate around all other considerations, namely terrorism," said Mathieu Guidere, an expert in the geopolitics of the Arab world.
Read about roof repair, foreign aid, and a traveling medical ship in this week's roundup.