The Financial Crisis and Soft Power in Asia

November 13, 2009
Drawing upon a three-day workshop in Chicago, Thomas J. Wright, executive director of studies for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, authored a report analyzing the implications of the 2008-2009 financial crisis for soft power and influence in East Asia. Thirty senior experts from Asia and the United States participated the workshop, organized by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the East Asia Institute of Seoul, South Korea, on October 22-24, 2009.

Findings of the report include:
  • American soft power has taken a hit because of the financial crisis but the United States retains significant advantages over China, including its values and ability to accept international criticism.
  • Differences between a U.S. model and a Chinese model of economic growth are overblown.
  • The American worldview and philosophy of international order remains popular; the doubts about the United States have to do with its competence. The soft power of multilateralism has increased.
  • The countries that can lead effective multilateral solutions will benefit.
  • Japan and South Korea will remain key players in the region.

The findings presented in the report, which was released on November 13, 2009, draw from the workshop discussion, but do not necessarily reflect a consensus opinion amongst the workshop participants or the views of any single participant.

The Financial Crisis and Soft Power in Asia