Press Preview: The Rivals

Der Spiegel, Rivals

newsstand, Bremen, Aug 2010

“The Rivals. China against Germany: the Struggle for the Global Markets”, is Germany’s news magazine Der Spiegel ‘s cover story this week.

It shouldn’t surprise me if it is much in line with another story – “China’s Soft Power is a Threat to the West” of July this year -, and if it uses some of that English story’s arguments, too. In the context of the July story, the “soft power” title seemed to be somewhat misleading to me anyway.

The primary currencies of soft power are an actor’s values, culture, policies and institutions—and the extent to which these “primary currencies” as Nye calls them, are able to attract or repel other actors to “want what you want.”*)

It’s business or business opportunities that drive China’s influence on Western decisionmakers. If money – or the – real or perceived – chance to make money in a country’s markets – doesn’t belong to the primary currencies of such a country’s soft power, soft power is not the issue when it comes to China. There are no such currencies, with the exception of Chinese policies, which are coordinated by the CCP.

Der Spiegel is much more critical of China, than they have ever been – in my memory, that is – of the Soviet Union. I appreciate their current critical coverage and wish it had started years earlier. But I have my doubt about the paper’s motivation. For sure, the title will catch the attention of  bypassers – sales, i. e. money, will be the issue here, too.

And obviously, it caught my attention. I’ll probably by a copy later this week, once I feel that I have the time to read thoroughly. I’m curious if Der Spiegel will show some soft power of its own.

____________

Footnote
*) Soft Power, Wikipedia of Aug 23, 2010

Related
Old Friend, younger than ever, July 22, 2010

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