The real culture war: China vs U.S.

Soft power in the age of Covid

The era of America’s cultural supremacy may be coming to an end. In Southeast Asia, China is gaining influence not only through PR campaigns like mask and vaccine diplomacy, but through its cultural exports. TikTok, pop music and the Chinese equivalents of Netflix and HBO might seem of little consequence to hard geopolitical power struggles. But these exports are winning over hearts and minds and normalising China’s autocratic government, Thomas Barker argues.


As the old maxim says, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Covid-19 is the great crisis of our time. Mostly refracted through the “great power competition” between the incumbent hegemon the United States and the rising power, the People’s Republic of China, the Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a fecund ground for soft power projection, national image management, and public diplomacy.

Southeast Asian countries are viewing this ongoing co

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Stephaine Mcclanahan 14 January 2022

Good post