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American power: softer and smarter

“Are the “declinists” on the United States, focused on hard power and America’s falling share of global output, missing something?”

“U.S.-based global corporations added 683,000 workers in China during the 1999-2009 decade, a 172 percent increase, and 392,000 workers in India, a 542 percent increase. In all they added 1.5 million workers to payrolls in the Asia and Pacific region, while cutting 864,600 workers at home, according to figures from the Commerce Department.”

American isolationism has become an oxymoron. As these figures show, it’s a non-option.”

“On one level this shift poses problems for the United States: Cash-rich companies are creating jobs elsewhere rather than at home. On another, however, the global American corporation expands U.S. power in ways that are hard to quantify but significant. They tend to propagate cultures of openness, connectedness and transparency.”

“A General Electric or a Goldman or a Twitter tries to work in each country in culturally appropriate ways, but at their base these companies hold an American set of values. And that is what influence is,” Xenia Dormandy, a senior fellow at Chatham House, told me. “Power viewed in state terms alone, or even primarily, is a false premise these days.”

 - Roger Cohen, writing in the New York Times in his piece “America Abroad”. See the full piece here.

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