TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Reported by Julia Cassano
University of Paris Cite Political Science Professor Frederic Charillon has explained the meaning of influence to the world and the shift it has seen from the use of hard power to soft power and influence in the modern era.
The discussion was held yesterday at the International Peace Institute, Middle East, and North Africa. In his opening remarks, Prof Charillon questioned the true meaning of influence and speculated if the world is ready for the “war of influence”.
He discussed the ways in which the most powerful countries throughout the world use influence to achieve an objective, such as “using incentive, conviction, and money.”
The professor also spoke how countries previously gained influence throughout the world, which would be through the use of force. He, however, said: “Influence does not coincide with the use of force. In fact, influence is the social or financial capital and trusted networks a country uses to assert its power and influence.”
Elaborating, he stated that influence is not about the national branding of a country, but about retaining the vote. “Influence is the art of not using force,” he said. He also said that a country gaining influence, requires an immense amount of money to its achieve global power.
“Influence is an interaction between someone who is influenced and someone who is influential.” He stated the US is an example as it has spent mass amounts of money on information, and to gather information, which is a prime example on how the US uses information in regards to power and influence across the world.
“Europe has experienced a wake-up call of influence, and many people in Europe have suddenly realised that external influences were at work in the European Union such as the Chinese and the Russian influence,” he said.
Pertaining to Russia, he discussed his personal opinion of the invasion in Ukraine pertaining to influence and power. “I was surprised that Russia invaded Ukraine and used the force they did to do so, instead of implementing the use of influence to gain its objective, which has been very successful on a global level.”
He highlighted the strength of influence in today’s modern era saying, “We have seen a change in how the world operates with each other. The key strategy in international relations is the strategy of influence, despite what the world is witnessing regarding the war in Ukraine. Again, influence does not equate to hard power.”
Underlining the key objective and strategy of influence he voiced that, the solution is not to showcase yourself as a country with predominant amounts of power and influence to others, however, the key strategy of influence is to encourage those in democracies to adapt to the country’s models, or to instill doubt amongst a society to achieve objectives.
“There are various types of approaches when it comes to influence, but what we have to keep in mind is today, the war of influence has already begun, containing different causes and objectives.”
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