The US may have developed and coined the phrase ‘soft power’. But, China has uniquely crafted and implemented the term around the globe in its global business, financial, and economic transactions and affairs today. ‘Soft power’ defines a relationship of non-militaristic or interventionist action, but rather a relationship of pursuing global business in a non-threatening and non-violent way. For Beijing, soft power works flawlessly in its global dealings and affairs. Soft power works so flawlessly for the Chinese government to the point that the government almost exclusively uses it in its bilateral relations with other nations.
The fact that China is a non-interventionist country and prefers to bud out of other country’s affairs has proven much success for China’s foreign exchange reserve coffer. As of March 2012, China’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $3.3 trillion dollars. By the mere fact of its hefty ‘soft power’ policy around the globe, China has been able to concentrate its foreign affairs on developing relationships abroad rather than stockpiling and deploying military hardware in other peoples lands.
A prime example has been China’s ‘soft power’ bilateral relations with 50 out of 55 African countries. And, its ‘soft power’ approach of investment and trade in Africa has resulted in, for example, Angola and Gabon running economic growth rates of 22% and 20% respectively. Another example is China’s dispensing about 7 billion in lines of credit in 2007 to Angola, Mozambique, and Nigeria when the World Bank only gave the entire continent 2.3 billion around the same time. China has made it clear it cannot expand nor continually build its enormous physical infrastructure without Africa’s strategic minerals and resources.
On the South American continent, China has deployed its ‘soft power’ approach by buying copper from Chile and soy beans from Argentina. Its ‘soft power’ approach has been so effective with positive results to the point of calling China’s investment and trade involvement as ‘the only game in town’ on the continent. The major consequence is China’s ‘soft power’ approach has begun to make the Monroe Doctrine look obsolete or non-existent.
In the Central Asian region, China’s ‘soft power’ policy is taking root and presence in a region possessing huge supplies of gas and oil. For example, China has invested upwards of $3.5 billion in the Caspian Sea oil exploration projects.
China’s ‘soft power’ policy and approach is fueling investments and trade in every corner of the global. At a time when NATO forces and operations are in Afghanistan, China purchased the leasing of the Aynak copper mines to a tune of $3.5 billion near the Afghan capital of Kabul in 2009.
Around the globe, China’s ‘soft power’ policy has had a positive effect on establishing currency swap relationships in both Argentina and Korea. Also, consequences of its ‘soft power’ approach has been responsible for Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank to announce requiring both an RMB and USD accounts not just a USD account. In fact, this will prove more advantageous to African businessmen who wish to do business with BRICS economies.
The jury is still out as to whether military intervention versus soft power is the most effective approach in bilateral relations. In the case of military intervention, it usually breeds violence, destruction, annihilation, and hatred of the occupying forces. On the contrary, soft power maintains and stimulates bilateral relations and develops new ones.