While China practices harsh media control at home, it has embarked on a major campaign abroad to present itself as a modernizing and open nation.
The term "smart power" is just half a decade old, but the concept behind it goes back much further. Grand strategists from Carl von Clausewitz to Lawrence of Arabia advocated a mix of "hard" military power and "soft" ideological sway as the recipe for winning wars.
These measured steps of 'Afghanisation' ought to prompt Delhi to contemplate what role India can play. Clearly, Delhi should focus on economic and political rather than military engagement in Afghanistan to bolster long term security in that country and in the region.
Near the center of the World Expo grounds, the crimson-painted, crown-shaped China Pavilion towers over other nations' exhibits as a physical display of the country's pride and growing power.
I was on a panel on Friday at the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. There is both good news and bad news in this critical area of the use of soft power. The good news is that after only a year in office, the Obama Administration has greatly improved the world’s view of America.
This dream-sense of "being a global player" was soon realized as too farfetched. Beside the current important elements of strong economies such as infrastructure, IT and human resources, Indonesia's state of mind isn't ready to play this global player role yet.
Views of the US around the world have improved sharply over the past year, according to a BBC World Service poll. For the first time since the annual poll began in 2005, America's influence in the world is now seen as more positive than negative.