Soft power: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The title may be a bit misleading, because each of these three examples of soft power have a mix of both three. I’ll highlight some of each, but there’s plenty more that could be drawn from them. First example is the use of recent (relatively) Russian tactics against its “near abroad”, its old sphere of influence if you will, from USSR times. Second one is the lack of soft power that China wields, which is self-inflicted. And the last one is the recent trend in the US, which if facing the loss of soft power by the government, but not by the popular culture.

China: c-c-changes

This article on unintended consequences of China’s President’s Xi Jinping’s drive to purge the China’s Communist Party of corruption is likely to go unnoticed by most. Which is a shame, because it shows most clearly just how divided CCP is and how many different factions there are. Some key quotes: >Chinese leader Xi Jinping in fact says no one is immune from his corruption probes and that he is going after both “tigers” and “flies,” party lingo for officials high and low.

Cyber espionage - the Chinese way

We reviewed the Chinese intelligence community structure, the way they collect data and, as a result of the first two, also tackled the monolith myth of China in order to explain why most things you hear about Chinese cyber activities do not make sense nor survive any closer analysis. Now it is time we have a look at Chinese cyber capabilities and their use. This is Part 4 of the four part series: Chinese intelligence structures The Chinese way of collecting data [China: the monolith myth]((http://playgod.

China: The monolith myth

Diversity that is China China is always seen by the West as a big, monolithic country. That nothing could be further from the truth does not shake that popular wisdom, which is typical of cultural biases and heuristics. After all, our brain is mostly wired to deal with small communities of similar people - it is nigh impossible to consider the country with the population size of China. This is Part 2 of the four part series: Chinese intelligence structures The Chinese way of collecting data This post Cyber espionage - the Chinese way China has

The Chinese way of collecting data

Just like the Russian intelligence services make a great deal of using traditional tradecraft and Western agencies prefer clear-cut approach which leaves no doubt in the asset’s mind who they are working for so the Chinese approach has a typical modus operandi… This is Part 2 of the four part series: Chinese intelligence structures This post China: The Monolith Myth Cyber espionage - the Chinese way The Chinese agents cultivate their assets for a long period of time, building friendly relations and discussing mutual benefits.

Intelligence Chinese style (part 1)

Too often we hear about the “Chinese threat” which generally makes Chinese army and polity seem like a monolithic structure: to the (uninformed) outsiders, the journalists covering the issue, and too often to the cyber security experts China is a well-organised single entity - a hivemind if there ever was one in the human history. That this kind of thinking beggars belief on even slightly closer examination just goes to show how well the sceptre of “Chinese Threat” was been sold to the general populace.

China's Crackdown on Cyber Activism

To argue that one case led to the abolishment of either system is as simplistic as it is to argue that online activism is capable of having influence without corresponding offline activities. While most online activity is unsuccessful at achieving results like those just described, the importance is arguably not merely in the specific cases or their consequent effects but in the way Chinese civil society has engaged online to investigate or pressure government behavior in a system without rule of law.

Cyberwar? Bah humbug.

Another poll, another breathless doom and gloom prognostication. This time cyberwar is seen as top threat facing US: Cyberwarfare is the most serious threat facing the United States, according to almost half of US national security leaders who responded to the inaugural Defense News Leadership Poll, underwritten by United Technologies. If we skip over the details of the poll, some of it questionable due to the self-selection of the respondents (out of all the subscribers asked to respond to the survey only 9% did) and the slightly dubious truthfulness of the respondents to their actual ranks:

China and becoming a world power

In every country, internal interests come first. With more time on the world stage, China’s leaders may learn to do what their American, British, French, and other counterparts also had to learn: at least feigning awareness of the interest of mankind. China’s predicament is more difficult because its emergence is so rapid, and so much is unclear about other ways in which it will change. International - James Fallows - What Is the Chinese Dream? - The Atlantic

Soft power and why China doesn't have it

Soft power becomes powerful when people imagine themselves transformed, improved, by adopting a new style. Koreans and Armenians imagine they will be freer or more successful if they become Americans — or Australians or Canadians. Young men and women from the provinces imagine they will be more glamorous if they look and act like people in Paris, London, or New York. If a society thinks it is unique because of its system, or its style, or its standards, it can easily exert soft power, because outsiders can imagine themselves taking part in that same system and adopting those same styles.