Which are the most influential countries in the world

  • Macron and Merkel
Published on 2017-07-20 at 15:00 by Veedushi
The meaning of power has changed through time, and nowadays, in the era of digital diplomacy, in which diplomatic objectives are achieved through the internet, the stronger country is the one that collaborates, builds networks beyond geographical borders, and influences others.

“Soft power” or in other words “power with others than power over others” is a term that was first mentioned 27 years ago by Professor Joseph Nye to show that armies and wealth are getting outdated. On the other hand, policy makers are adjusting their diplomacy strategies and security relationships in pursuit of stability, security, and prosperity. But which countries deploy their soft powers more successfully?

France: In favour of European relationships


France's youngest ever president, Emmanuel Macron, is giving the world a lesson on outward focused cooperation, lining up business and relationships with the EU. For this, and his victory over the far-right Front National, France is taking the first place in the 2017 Portland Soft Power Index. France is the best networked state in the world and is a member of more multilateral organisations that any other country. The consequent terror attacks in the country have not stopped the flow of international visitors -- France remains a popular tourist destination for anyone who wants to indulge into culture and a delicate cuisine.

UK: The influencer of a global audience


The UK is going through a period of political uncertainty, which started a year ago with the sudden change in leadership after the Brexit vote, and continued with an inconclusive general election in June. The country is also struggling with a public weariness over austerity measures and public-sector cutbacks, while is trying to retain its international influence and relevance. However, Britain is still at the top of international relations (#2) index first and foremost thanks to its strategic position between North America and Europe. The country is also highly performing in the education soft power, hosting some of the world's best universities. At the same time, one cannot ignore the international influence and the global reach that UK's institutions, such as the BBC World Service and the British Council have.  

USA: An ever growing entrepreneurial culture


From the first place in 2016, the USA has now fallen to the third -- an unsurprising drop for an “America First” leadership, which promotes nationalism, devalues international alliances, and emphasises on hard power (the army). While an entire world is waiting to see if the US will further detach itself from the international community, there's no doubt that the country has no rivals in other soft powers -- education, culture, and technological innovation. From Stanford University to the Silicon Valley, and Hollywood, America sets the standards for the rest of the world, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Germany: A substantial presence in the political, financial, and cultural scene

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Germany's fall from the third place last year to the fourth shouldn't worry those concerned with the country's soft powers. Germany's stability and Angela Merkel's exemplary leadership in Europe and the world, establish Germany among the most tolerant, fair, and resilient countries. The ongoing mass migration and refugee crisis, along with the rise of the right-wing AfD don't affect Germany's engagement soft power, which measures its wide diplomatic footprint. Also, Germany promotes the creative and night time economies, supported by global art enthusiasts, clubbers, and foodies, which all contribute to a glowing culture soft power.

Canada: A proud supporter of diversity and hospitality


Canada is one of the world's most well-regarded countries for quality of life among other values. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thrives in digital diplomacy with his good looks and political savvy. However, Canada must implement a more dynamic digital engagement strategy, if it is to hold its position in the top five soft power index. In any case, it's beautiful to see a country opening its doors to welcome Syrian refugees. The country's hospitality and openness to diversity are already showing effects on Canada's significant increase in international students applications to its universities.

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