Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment of Democracy, Tuesday said that unlike India and the US, China and Russia were not soft powers since they tried to “exploit the openings of democratic society”.
Delivering a lecture on ‘US-India Relations: Building Democratic Cooperation’ at the Institute of Social Sciences, Gershman referred to an article in The Economist and said, “The West’s 25-year bet on China has failed. What was that bet? That was a bet taken by virtually the entire policy establishment of the US. The bet was that if we encourage China’s economic growth, they will liberalise… Instead, the West’s 25-year bet on China has failed because it didn’t happen.”
“Rather than liberalising, China is returning to the Maoist system of centralising power in its own hands…” he added.
“There is something called soft power. India is a soft power because of the attractiveness of its democracy; we (US) have a soft power — Hollywood, our universities, exchange programmes and so on. What China has and also Russia, is not soft power, but something different because their purpose is to use information to penetrate, manipulate, control, undermine democratic societies, to try and exploit openings of democratic society. What does Russia do in the United States if not use information to exploit all the hatred and divides in society? China has done that in many countries.”
Gershman also said that India was the “most important ally” of the US in the new world, where China was trying to dominate.