Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations will join Jim Falk of Global Santa Fe for a virtual conversation about China's efforts to shape its global image using soft and sharp power. While most discussions of China tend to focus on the rise of China's military, the economy, or the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative, Kurlantzick asserts that China's well-funded campaign to influence public opinion must be better understood. China has increasingly devoted resources to improve its global reputation, including investing millions directly or through the back door to curry favor. While at times its efforts may be clumsy, there have been significant successes notably in Africa and South America.
Kurlantzick has recommendations on how the United States and its allies should respond to China's "charm" offensive as well as what should be the appropriate approach to Confucius Institutes, TikTok and WeChat. To be sure, China's reputation has been negatively impacted by its handling of the pandemic, heightened threats towards Taiwan and ties with Russia, but this has only heightened its commitment to sway popular opinion, making it even more imperative that we understand what the future may bring.
Joshua Kurlantzick is senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is the author, most recently, of Beijing's Global Media Offensive: China's Uneven Campaign To Influence Asia and the World. Kurlantzick was previously a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he studied Southeast Asian politics and economics and China's relations with Southeast Asia, including Chinese investment, aid, and diplomacy. Previously, he was a fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy and a fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy. He is currently focused on China’s relations with Southeast Asia, and China’s approach to soft and sharp power, including state-backed media and information efforts and other components of soft and sharp power. He is also working on issues related to the rise of global populism, populism in Asia, and the impact of COVID-19 on illiberal populism and political freedom overall.
Jim retired in March 2021 as president of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, a position he held for two decades; he is now its president emeritus. He served as Interim Executive Director of the Santa Fe Council on International Relations for seven months ending in March 2022 and is currently a member of the Board and chair of programs. Jim’s interest in travel and global affairs grew from his years spent in Tunisia where he attended a French lycée. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and earned his MA in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia with a focus on international law and Middle East politics. Jim co-hosts McCuistion/Perspectives, a public affairs program, on KERA-Dallas. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco.