The status of Soft power in the future structure of international system: The Role of China



Assistant Prof. Allameh Tabatabaei University


The resources of power have brought about great changes in the international system so much so that the national power of the stats and the resources that give them weightage and significance are shaped by the soft elements in the international system. This paper tries to explain soft power with indicators such as: ability to build idea and discourse, capability to ideationalize the concepts, making its own life style that people accept it and then the capacity to be refer as the final pattern for the world. If the governments would consider these elements as the new references of the power and redefine their foreign policies on the basis of soft power would be successful in the future.
Power in the changing world order is more important than past. The priorities of governments has dramatically changed due to some issues: shifting power from hard to soft resources, growth of new emerging powers, the role of social and cultural power as priorities in foreign policy. Governments in such system must increase the ability to making norms and undermine others ability to this. Even United States really focuses on soft power from last decade of twenty century due to impressing the other countries. The Americans believe that today the most important disadvantage of countries to compete with US is their weakness or disability relation to soft power (social and cultural power) especially china consider itself as a superpower in the future.
This article aims to explain software components of power and then the role of China. The main question is what the status of the soft power is in the future of the international politics and how the role of china could be evaluated? The hypothesis to the question is based on the fact that the power moves toward the soft components of the international system which are mentioned above. In this regard, china would not have centric and significant role to compete with US and in order to become a superpower must greatly consider these elements more than past. The most challenging step that China is facing, is to reshape and redefine its foreign policy toward soft power, therefor China must make its own structure base on the internal thought and domestic values in all dimensions. Of course it is also that others would accept the role of China in this context. China as a superpower to arrange the new order and structure must reinforce this side of power.


  1. EUNIC, “Europe – China cultural compass, Orientation for Cultural Cooperation Between China and Europe, page 201
  2. Bates Gill and Yanzhong Huany , sources and limits of Chinas soft power, Taylor Francis online, 18 july 2006
  3. Mingjiang Li, soft power Chinas emerging strategy in international politics, Lexington Books, 2011, p2
  4. Li Mingjiang, Soft power in Chinese discourse: popularity and prospect, No 165, 2008, P.3
  5. Men Honghua, Assessment and report of Chinese soft power, Guoji Guancha( international observations ), part 1.issue 2, 2007,P.15
  6. Bonnie S.Glaser and Mellisa E.Murphy , soft power with Chinese characterictics, the ongoing debate,P.6
  7. The building of a socialist spiritual civilization in an ongoing process. President Hu Jintos theoretical contribution is the moral guidance of the eight honors and eight disgraces, March 18, 2006