Lade Inhalt...

China's Growing Footprint in North Africa. Does soft power or hard power explain China's Growing?

Akademische Arbeit 2020 18 Seiten

BWL - Wirtschaftspolitik


Does soft power or hard power explain China's Growing Footprint in North Africa? Or does so-called 'Sharp Power' better explain this? Critically analyze the former and the latter.

China has developed a profoundly entrenched stance as both a diplomatic partner and a rising investor in Africa. The interests of the Chinese in the continent covers not only natural resources but also pressing matters of trade, security, combating terrorism, and soft power which entails Confucius institutes and people to people exchanges. Chinese aid practices to Africa which encompasses Chinese medical fleet has been blown out of proportion by Western media to influence Africa to take caution and shield itself from China. The expression "soft power" has turned into a political theory for types of impact that are not "hard" in the sense of military power. As indicated by Joseph Nye's unique definition (Nye 2010), a nation's hard power depends on intimidation, to a great extent a component of its military or monetary might. "Soft power", conversely, depends on fascination, emerging from the positive intrigue of a nation's way of life, political goals, and strategies just as a dynamic, free affable society.

According to one view (Walker 2018), aggressive authoritarian regimes, which methodically smother political pluralism and freedom of assembly and speech to keep up power at home, are progressively applying similar standards universally. For example, Washington has been grappling with another term that depicts an old existential threat, the latter amounting to a new way of thinking about this aggressive authoritarian brand of overseas intervention. Neither "hard" nor "soft," but sharp power has the effect of limiting free expression and distorting the political environment, as explained in a December 2017 report by the National Endowment for Democracy's International Forum for Democratic Studies. (Walker and Ludwig 2019)

This part of the essay explains the concepts of hard, soft and sharp power, and how soft and hard power better explain the case of China. The expression 'sharp power' became buzzword since it was coined by Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig in a November 2017 Foreign Affairs post. Nye published an article entitled "China's Soft and Hard Power" (2018) in which he observes that sharp power is simply a "form of hard power" that emerges from "soft power."

An article in The Economist (2017) describes "sharp power" by focusing on "subversion, coercion and pressure, which propagate self-censorship." While soft power relies on the appeal of culture and values to increase the influence of a country sharp power, Sharp power allows authoritarian regimes to constrain freedom at home and influence perception abroad. The concept "soft power" is the ability to influence others by desire and persuasion rather than the hard power of coercion and payment is sometimes used to describe any exercise of power that does not require the use of force. But that's a mistake, power often depends on whose army or economy wins, but it can also depend on whose story it wins.

Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig introduced the new phrase "sharp power" in 2017 to refer to "authoritarian soft power" an Inevitable result of today's communication technology because it "pierces, penetrates or perforates the political and information systems in the targeted countries" through the use of "outward surveillance, coercion and diversion."

What renders the realist conception of hard power is not just its realist approach, but also the emphasis on power as coercion through direct interaction Nye (2018). Soft power is not a form of idealism or liberalism. It is simply a form of power, one way of getting desired outcomes (Nye2018). This article builds on scholarship that seeks to address this issue by transcending the explicitly rationalistic epistemology and individualistic, causal, and often materialistic ontology underlying much of the existing literature on soft power. This work has also started to problematize soft power's alleged "softness" and its juxtaposition with hard power. We summaries the essence of these contributions but go one step further with the argument. We argue that soft power, understood in these terms, can legitimize, and enable hard power, here primarily understood as the coercive use of statecraft and physical violence military instruments (Baldwin 2016, P.178–88). Hard power relies on military intervention, coercive diplomacy, and economic sanctions (Wilson, 2008:114) and depends on measurable resources such as armed forces or economic resources (Gallarotti, 2011P: 29).

The definition of hard and soft power is a continuum with several components of varying degrees of coercion or persuasion (cf. Smith-Windsor,2000:P.52). Sharp power is more about "who" than "how", which has given the authoritarian programs a "malign and aggressive nature." Examples of such practices include people to people interactions and cultural events such as the Chinese New Year celebrations and Confucius institutes.

A post-colonial hypothesis argues that China's interests in Africa are not substantially different from those of other industrialized countries competing for the continent's wealth, whether now or in the past. The tendency of Western critics to demonize and over-determine China's role may reveal more about their fears and concerns about competition from China than about the shape of China. The answer to this question is how China has essentially treated Africa not as a continent in need of Economic and development assistance, but as a partner in a long-term business deal (Wasim2001). Alternatively, China signs trade deals that entail exchange loans, infrastructure and goods in exchange for African commodities, political support, and access to its vast and emerging markets, leaving Africans alone in finding solutions to their problems. The fact that Western media sources constantly castigate China's non-stringed approach to engaging with African regimes as indications that this is a disservice to Africa's people demonstrates a lack of understanding that the West has of the worldview of many Africans. China's neo-colonialism approaches argued by US scholars require cultural soft power to be backed up by an economic and military "hard power" to assert its position as a rising superpower (Nkrumah1965).

Furthermore, China's narrative of national rejuvenation, as a non-Western nation that was demeaned by Western imperialism but managed to revive itself as a great power, is profoundly resonant in Africa and elsewhere in the non-Western world. It is this lesson, as well as the fact that Western democratic institutions are, in fact, not readily applicable to the societies of many countries. It is this lesson, as well as the fact that Western democratic mechanisms are not readily adaptable to the cultures of many developing nations, that the West needs to learn. For China, Africa is a source of cheap coal and oil, two vital resources for its energy needs. As far as African countries are concerned, China is the ideal trading partner that rarely imposes special political preconditions on its readily available suppliers and regularly gives diplomatic backing to the continent. However, China-Africa's growing relations are in direct conflict with the interests of the United States, which is also seriously concerned with the challenge of diversifying the sources of its oil imports.

On the ground, these ventures tend to fulfil the quest of African nations to construct a sound infrastructure. But, after closer examination, they serve China's ambitions to write the rules for the next stage of globalization. China wants to use Africa as a location to secure maritime roads that promote Chinese exports, as demonstrated by Beijing's large military presence in Djibouti. Because of the above-mentioned support policy, one can conclude that the main reason for China's partnership is to gain access to the plentiful raw materials that Africa provides. Although this may be a good reason, Alden and Davis (2006) argue that China's insistence that Africans recognize its "One China" policy as another important requirement. Alden 2005 also lists four factors that have shaped contemporary China African policy: China's need for energy security; new market and entrepreneurial endeavors; symbolic diplomacy and development; and hence the development of strategic partnerships (Alden 2005). This paper critically analyses the relationship between China's-Africa cooperation in terms of non-interference and security, oil deposits, military, debt book diplomacy, and the US in retreat.

1. Non-interference and Security

Chinese interest in Africa was reintroduced by events surrounding the Tiananmen Square incident in June 1989, when African leaders were quick to support Beijing in the face of intense Western criticism. China's renewed interest in Africa coincided with an increase in Western interest in promoting liberal democracy and human rights (Ahmad2008). Nonetheless, as the Cold War came to an end, the so-called “third wave of populism” spread through Africa, sponsored albeit unevenly by the developed world. This phenomenon undermined the entrenched position of incumbent leaders across the continent. Importantly, while Sino-African relations have a historical basis, one built on the principle of' non-interference, the economic stimulus is now possibly dominant. There is no inconsistency here, as the theoretical shield of state sovereignty is being used by Beijing as part and parcel of its oil diplomacy and as part of the construction of its diplomatic ties. It is, after all, a very high-profile theme that is highly attractive to many African leaders. However, China's particular focus on African oil though not removing it from other resources, combined with its apparent lack of interest in the internal affairs of other countries, is potentially problematic (African economic merit award).


China's oil diplomacy in Africa has two main objectives: to secure oil supplies in the short term to help feed domestic demand back to China; and to put China as a global player in the international oil market in the long term. At the same time, this oil safari is preceded by an implicit policy that prioritizes state sovereignty and' non-interference' in domestic affairs and is disengaged in government accountability or human rights. As a result, Beijing has increasingly been accused of turning a blind eye to autocracy and corruption. Beijing has been empowering agents of state-owned organizations to verify investigation and supply concurrences with states that produce oil, gas, and other resources. The designed system is essential to get outside vitality assets through long-haul contracts just as purchasing overseas assets essential to business. This strategy depends on the craving to circumvent an over-dependence on the worldwide oil advertise through either securing significant stakes in Africa's oilfields or protecting access to them. Arguably, Chinese organizations saw the open opportunity in Africa before various international players who are currently voicing distress and apprehension over the size of China's exercises on the continent. This concern is exasperated by the idea of Chinese companies.

Since China's oil organizations state claimed, China can seek after this course regardless of whether it implies outbidding rivals in significant agreements granted by African governments and paying over the odds. China takes the long-haul perspective on vitality security, as opposed to the transient perspective on private western organizations required by contemplations of profits and shareholders. That stated China's mission for overseas oil may have less to do with Beijing's vital security than with other long-haul contemplations. Indeed, even given China's gigantic increment in abroad oil generation exercises, Beijing's remote oil discretion will likely never produce enough to satisfy the nation's hugely expanding interest. Or maybe, the ongoing upsurge in Chinese oil discretion might be connected to the needs of Chinese strategists at the national level Such reliance presents significant impediments to the worldwide job that China means to play. Normally, Africa has turned into an enticing domain since, US intercession in Iraq, that nation has merged its authority over every one of the nations in the Centre East. In any case, the US additionally has its eye on these African oil and gas fields, so Africa currently ends up as a field of contention between these two forces. China's dynamic proximity to Africa is accordingly creating a few unique lines. What's more, as Chris Alden underlines in his interpretation of the title of Shintaro Ishihara's booklet, "Africa can say no". African nations must request progressively impartial financial relations with China. India is endeavoring to offer African nations an increasingly fair organization. India, who faces a similar issue of vitality reliance, can't match China in money related terms however offers its providers specialized co-activity. "The trade-in oil, gas, gems, metals, and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa (Burgis 2015) writes Tom Burgis in "The Looting of Africa" (New York: Perseus Books Group, 201) . During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain (Burgis 2106). With China's emergence, a whole new world opened. The desperation of China was evident in its predilection for raw materials and energy to power their ever so growing manufacturing scope.

Africa was placed on China's globalization blueprint. In terms of Beijing's economic priority, arrangements were made for the African content to be placed right next to Shanghai. Africa was a priority for Beijing's economic agenda. Beijing's persistence was demonstrated in the business envoys to every single African capital yearly. The endgame was the acquired infrastructure projects and posited trade talks, ameliorating Africa into a "second continent" for China, metaphorically speaking. The investments made by the Chinese State in Africa were not conducted in an "imperialist" or "colonialist" manner. The driving force underpinning china's investments is not profit. The long-term goal in mind is that Chinese corporations encourage African's independence and autonomy, rather than wonted a democracy that is affiliated with liberalism. Henceforth, China is assisting Africa to stand tall, rather than make Africa dependent on Beijing. According to Taylor (2006), China's quest for energy security is more than simple economics. It is about China's overall development strategy; the direction of China's modernization program and what kind of China is emerging as a world power. This is a salient aspect that Beijing's politicians and Legislators need to be tackled (Taylor 2006).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
Institution / Hochschule
University of Bradford
China Soft power Africa footprint



Titel: China's Growing Footprint in North Africa. Does soft power or hard power explain China's Growing?