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Minding the gap: the American Public Diplomacy in the engagement of China

US has to face a competitor such as China which is aiming to get the throne of only world superpower. Besides strategic containment, Washington also recurs to the realm of soft power theorized by Joseph Nye. This thesis goes through all those public diplomacy strategies enacted since 1994 (student exchange, cultural diplomacy, the private firms' contributions) to build a bridge between Washington and Chinese public opinion. Then it looks at Chinese response in terms of soft power: the harmonious growth, economic funds to developing states that become political propaganda, the Beijing Consensus and the teaching of Chinese language around the world are the core features of Chinese public diplomacy.

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3 INTRODUCTION The Washington-Beijing route is destined to be one of the most covered diplomatic channels in the next months and years: the world’s main developed country and the world’s main developing country cannot afford not to increase their collaboration and ties. Given that, the Obama administration is called to a hard task: how to further improve a relation that is already the best in the 20 years following the Tiananmen events and maybe the best ever? Obama inherited a positive and constructive dialogue from the previous administration: China has been upgraded to the status of ―responsible stakeholder‖ and the two countries have been dealing with each other regularly and in a wide spectrum of issues. The new administration seems to be willing to engage China in a even broader agenda: besides trying to renovate longstanding crucial areas of cooperation, Obama aims to add new bilateral understandings like climate change, energy, arms control and joint solutions to the financial crisis. However, since the two countries still look at each other with a latent dubiety, none of these goals can be accomplished without a prior investment in mutual trust. Given the intangibility of the obstacle, traditional policies need to be massively implemented by ―soft‖ measures, like for instance the recourse of culture. By the concept of ―Soft Power‖, coined by Joseph Nye at the beginning of the 90s, we now mean the capability of a state to gain the outcome it wants thanks to its appeal and fascination. Nowadays, the highly intertwined international system allows and sometimes demands state to exert influence through persuasion rather than coercion, through engagement rather than force. This is why the more attractive a nation can portrait itself to the eyes of an ally or a partner, the more chances it will have to get the outcome it wants. As Nye argues, states cannot rely exclusively on their traditional diplomacy or their military might in order to succeed in the international arena. This type of reasoning seems to apply perfectly also for the current relationship between the China and US: the mere existence of the necessity to cooperate in hard power realms (such as economy, global warming, nuclear non-proliferation etc.) does not mean that the two nations will be willing to collaborate and thus high diplomacy does need to be complemented by low diplomacy in a trust-building process that needs to start from the very grassroots level. Governments have long understood the importance of promoting their own image in the public opinions abroad. Thus, starting from the XIX century, pioneer-states like France,

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Scienze Politiche

Autore: Enrico Cellini Contatta »

Composta da 118 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 96 click dal 07/11/2011.


Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.