Friday, July 06, 2007

Pg. 69: Joshua Kurlantzick's "Charm Offensive"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power is Transforming the World by Joshua Kurlantzick.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, China is poised to become a major global power. And though much has been written of China’s rise, a crucial aspect of this transformation has gone largely unnoticed: the way that China is using soft power to appeal to its neighbors and to distant countries alike.

This book is the first to examine the significance of China’s recent reliance on soft power — diplomacy, trade incentives, cultural and educational exchange opportunities, and other techniques — to project a benign national image, position itself as a model of social and economic success, and develop stronger international alliances. Drawing on years of experience tracking China’s policies in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, Joshua Kurlantzick reveals how China has wooed the world with a "charm offensive" that has largely escaped the attention of American policy makers.

Beijing’s new diplomacy has altered the political landscape in Southeast Asia and far beyond, changing the dynamics of China’s relationships with other countries. China also has worked to take advantage of American policy mistakes, Kurlantzick contends. In a provocative conclusion, he considers a future in which China may be the first nation since the Soviet Union to rival the United States in international influence.
Among the praise for Charm Offensive:

"At a time when polls show American soft power declining, China's is rising. Based on first hand experience in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Kurlantzick's fascinating book traces how China is building its global soft power. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of American foreign policy."
—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

"Joshua Kurlantzick has written an eye-opening book about an important aspect of China's global rise. Although often eclipsed by its growing economic clout, China's recent 'charm offensive' in quest of closer relations and more natural resources has begun to transform the world balance of power in a way that makes it essential for Americans to recalibrate their presumption of US pre-eminence."
—Orville Schell, author of Virtual Tibet and coeditor of The China Reader

"In this critically important book, Joshua Kurlantzick describes the incredible gains that China has made over the past decade in winning over the hearts and minds of populations and governments around the world through its strategic outreach campaign. Kurlantzick's excellent work reminds us that America neglects our public diplomacy at our own peril, and that reinvigorating American prestige around the world will require far healthier doses of U.S. leadership for the greater good."
—Jamie F. Metzl, Executive Vice President, The Asia Society

"In Charm Offensive, Joshua Kurlantzick explains how the Chinese are increasing their reach and, in the process, helping rogue leaders, causing environmental degradation, and undermining the United States.... An important story.... His book reminds us that this is no time for America to forgo its leadership position or to accept consensus management, especially when that means empowering authoritarian states — like newly, charmingly offensive China."
—Gordon G. Chang, Commentary

"An intellectually honest book.... The book's greatest contribution is its systematic portrayal of China's growing global influence, and the ways in which that influence is hurting not only Washington but also international development institutions."
—Dan Blumenthal, The Weekly Standard

Listen to an interview with Joshua Kurlantzick.

Joshua Kurlantzick is special correspondent for the New Republic and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has covered Southeast Asia and China as a correspondent for U.S. News and World Report and The Economist, and his writings on Asia have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.

The Page 69 Test: Charm Offensive.

--Marshal Zeringue