France Tops Global Rankings For ‘Soft Power’

World | July 19, 2017, Wednesday // 15:10|  views

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The annual Soft Power 30 rankings have revealed France rising to first place, while the UK remains in second place and the US sinks to third, according to the Businesstraveller.

Strategic communications consultancy Portland has published the findings of its Soft Power 30 2017 rankings for countries around the world, based on factors ranging from culture, government, enterprise, digital and education, to cuisine, friendliness, luxury goods, foreign policy and liveability.

With data from objective sources such as embassies and the World Bank, and perception polls from 11,000 people living in 25 countries, the findings result in the “world’s most comprehensive comparative assessment of global soft power”.

In first place is France, which has jumped from fifth place last year.

France’s greatest strengths are its vast diplomatic network and cultural offering, which encompasses unrivalled restaurants, a flourishing film sector, and some of the world’s most-visited museums and galleries.

In second place, for the second year running, is the UK, while slipping from first place in 2016 to third place this year, is the US.

Portland states: “The index illustrates the threat to the global standing of both America and the UK, due in part to the recent Brexit decision, and the election campaign of a mercurial US president in Donald Trump. Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine has played poorly abroad, alienating allies, and damaging links with the rest of the world.”

The UK’s strengths are engagement, culture, education and digital. Portland says: “British soft power benefits from a wealth of publicly funded resources. The BBC World Service maintains its position as the world’s most trusted new provider and the British Council is an exemplar in cultural and educational engagement. Government departments like the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Development have been hugely successful in making the UK’s presence felt.”

What about the US? Portland highlights American universities and its film, television and music industries, which set the pace for the rest of the world. It also reminds us that the US leads the way in technology and innovation, with Silicon Valley home to massive tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google.

However, Portland says President Trump’s “often divisive rhetoric” has led to a sharp decline in America’s performance in international polling, which in fact took place before he pulled out of the Paris Agreement, meaning its soft power ranking could have been lower still. Trump has “indicated his preference for hard over soft power, perhaps without properly understanding the need for a combination of both,” says Portland.

The Soft Power 30 are as follows…

  1. France
  2. UK
  3. US
  4. Germany
  5. Canada
  6. Japan
  7. Switzerland
  8. Australia
  9. Sweden
  10. Netherlands
  11. Denmark
  12. Norway
  13. Italy
  14. Austria
  15. Spain
  16. Belgium
  17. Finland
  18. New Zealand
  19. Ireland
  20. Singapore
  21. South Korea
  22. Portugal
  23. Greece
  24. Poland
  25. China
  26. Russian Federation
  27. Czech Republic
  28. Hungary
  29. Brazil
  30. Turkey

Tags: soft power, France, U.S, Emmanuel Macron

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