by ROBERT BECKHUSEN In October, China ordered the deployment of a 25,000-ton, 300-bed hospital ship dubbed the “Peace Ark” into the Caribbean Sea. The goal: provide humanitarian aid and put on a friendly face for China’s growing international ambitions. This “soft power” mission was similar to related and ongoing U.S. humanitarian missions conducted in the [...]
Archived posts from category ‘Soft Power’
Within 45 minutes of the massive Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami hitting the northeast of Japan on March 11, the country’s Maritime Self-Defence Forces had sortied their first ship from the fleet anchorage at Yokosuka, the destroyer Kurasame, sending it north. With 24 hours, 17 MSDF ships had been sent north. In less than a week, over 100,000 members of the Self-Defence Forces, hundreds of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, and more than 50 percent of the fleet was at work in the affected zone, doing everything from search and rescue, to sheltering displaced persons.
I was interviewed for China Talking Points on the subject of Chinese soft power and Africa. Give it a listen below.
Every day for a week in early September, U.S. Army soldiers traveled the same 10-mile route between Kinshasa’s dilapidated Grand Hotel and the hilltop Congolese military training base overlooking the Democratic Republic of Congo capital. The Americans probably didn’t realize it, but the wide, smooth, freshly-paved avenue they used, so incongruous in a city of potholed and unpaved roads, had recently been constructed by a growing rival — China.
Japanese Navy’s New Soft-Power Ops
Pacific Partnership 2010, the U.S. Navy’s annual soft power cruise through the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, is now five years old. Begun in the aftermath of the 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Pacific Partnership annually sends a U.S. Navy vessel loaded with doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and engineers to remote locations to assist local communities on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
The hospital ship USNS Mercy left San Diego May 2, on the first leg of the Pacific Partnership 2010 mission. I sent in a request to embed with them under my War Is Boring credentials, but never heard a peep. Oh well. More than the embarkation missions on combat vessels or with combat units, I was interested in embedding with the Mercy because the soft-power mission fascinates me. I was also interested in spending a few days in Tokyo on the way back, but I digress.