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"Sharp Power" and the Growing Influence of China and Russia in the Western Hemisphere

Council of the Americas

February 7, 2018
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(Image: Ministry of Pubic Affairs, PRC)

Recent months have seen an acceleration of activities by China and Russia in the Americas. Both have invested significant resources in media, academic, cultural, and think-tank initiatives designed to shape public opinion and perception. Latin America is a region of significant interest and includes a number of the world’s leading democracies. Their priorities include promoting closer economic engagement, media partnerships, and people-to-people diplomacy, in addition to funding joint research initiatives and study centers between prominent universities.

Such influence efforts have traditionally been viewed by democracies through the familiar lens of “soft power,” a concept which has become a catch-all term for forms of influence that are not “hard” in the sense of military force or economic might. But a new report, “Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence,” by the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC,  finds that these regimes are not necessarily seeking to “win hearts and minds,” the common frame of reference for “soft power” efforts, but that they are seeking instead to influence their target audiences through a variety of tools.

Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the National Endowment for Democracy will hold a discussion on the tools and techniques--and implications--of these rapidly accelerating efforts by China and Russia in the Americas.

Introductory Remarks:

  • Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis, National Endowment for Democracy

Speakers:

  • Shanthi Kalathil, Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy
  • Jessica Ludwig, Research and Conferences Officer, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy
  • Frank O. Mora, Director, Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

To register: Email us at: RSVPMiami@as-coa.org

RSVP no later than 3:00 p.m. the day before the event.

 

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