The US, China and Rebalancing World When Media is Weaponized

19.07.2021

The US during last year has been experiencing various social developments. It is argued that these challenges occurred, as there have been serious social gaps in American society for a long time. I think race and inequality are enduring issues in US society,and the relative freedom of the US economic system tends to extend the inequality unless restrained by government interventions of the kind seen at the beginning of the 20th century and during Roosevelt’s New Deal.

I see cycles of unrest in US history and feel that the unrest we saw in 2019 has triggered significant introspection.  International attention is currently focused on social issues and the US needs to appreciate that it will be evaluated internationally by its ability to deliver on the promises of its political system to all of its citizens.

In global stage, as a potential superpower, China is presently working hard to build relationships and enhance its reputation and ‘soft power’ around the world.  Scientific public opinion research reveals a growing reputation but not at the level that that Chinese government would like.  We know that China is widely identified with the outbreak of COVID 19 and that it has fallen from the mid-20s in the ISPOS/Anholt index to the mid-30s which places it behind India.

I see reputation as a dimension of security but ultimately reputation rests on reality not just show case initiatives.  Issues include ability to conform to international standards of human rights and to play a positive role in the lives of citizens of other countries. China will be judged by these standards in the same way as other countries. 

I consider inward migration and foreign student enrolment as powerful evidence of a country’s good reputation but more than this if people would LIKE to migrate to a place but are restrained that can play very badly.  A country whose reputation is threatened by limits on its migration is Japan. Looking at student flows reveals the enduring Soft Power of Russia, which is underestimated by many western observers.

In terms of a rebalancing of relative power from the US and west towards a larger role for China I see dangers of conflict.  One problem is the way that governments use international rivalries as a mechanism to build domestic consensus and cohesion.  If we want international understanding we need to work at it.

Of the categories of media, cognitive science and AI, I have thought most about media.  I believe that at the moment media is weaponized and a force for instability therefore we need a media disarmament process in just the same way as we use processes to control over weapons.  There is precedent for this in media-focused negotiations during the later 1980s and the US/USSR reconciliation.   I think that in the other fields there is more of a quest for advantage.

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