The US was once the undisputed global powerhouse. Now it is under threat from contenders who use the influence of culture and lifestyle to fight for global economic and political dominance.
This political manipulation is referred to as soft power – achieving what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your customs - thriving on control, not force.
In this series, Philip Dodd investigates how this cultural rivalry is being formed and what weapons of persuasion are being deployed, from global sporting fixtures to cultural events and educational projects.
China's charm offensive
In the first part, he takes a look at how China's global charm offensive is taking shape - why they want to be loved and take the world's attention.
He visits the World Expo in Shanghai and looks at the impact the Beijing Olympics had on China's image.
He also pays a visit to Scotland, where the Chinese government is promoting its language and culture to ordinary people - who they are hoping - will develop a more positive attitude to the country.
Philip also reflects on how America - the country where soft power was first thought of - is not the only model to follow. After the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis - many are even questioning the principal of democracy itself.
Listen as he talks to the key players, from those involved in China's soft power offensive in Africa to the Washington civilians unnerved by their country's loss of influence.
First broadcast on 17 May 2010
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