China’s Latest Export: Soft Power – Joshua Kurlantzick

From Los Angeles Times, via Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website:

During the last two months, as Washington focused on Iraq, few people were paying attention to what was going in the remote Ural Mountains of Russia. There, under the auspices of the benign-sounding Shanghai Cooperation Organization, some 6,000 troops, combat vehicles and planes from six nations conducted a nine-day war game called “Peace Mission 2007.”

The Bush administration’s lack of interest in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — which is in fact a regional security group linking Russia, Central Asia and China — is not terribly surprising. Since 9/11, President Bush, who won the White House in part by vowing to take a tough line against China, has concentrated on the Muslim world. To win global support for the war on terrorism, his administration has stopped calling Beijing a “strategic competitor,” as he did before 9/11. On a recent visit to China, the U.S. chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, announced that he was “reassured” about China’s military power, adding, “I’m very encouraged about their commitment to continuing to improve this relationship” with America. [Full Text]

Joshua Kurlantzick is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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