HKS in the News January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012

1. Why China is Weak on Soft Power (Nye)
International Herald Tribune

2. FE Editorial : 22-19=3? Can’t really say (Pritchett) Financial Express (India)

3. Boston reacts to Wikipedia’s protest blackout (Mele) Boston Herald

4. Not Another War, Please! (Cogan) Huffington Post

Why China is Weak on Soft Power
International Herald Tribune
January 17
Commentary by: Joseph Nye
Topic: China's soft power

China’s president, Hu Jintao, greeted 2012 with an important essay warning that China was being battered by Western culture: “We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration,” he wrote, adding that “the international culture of the West is strong while we are weak.”

Essentially, Hu was saying that China was under assault by Western soft power — the ability to produce outcomes through persuasion and attraction rather than coercion or payment — and needed to fight back.

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FE Editorial : 22-19=3? Can’t really say
Financial Express (India)
January 18
Research by: Lant Pritchett
Topic: Quality of education in Indian schools

The fact that learning outcomes have fallen dramatically—the national figure for the proportion of children in Standard V able to read Standard II level texts fell from 53.7% in 2010 to 48.2% in 2011—is the standout result of the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)....

Education-economist Lant Pritchett points out the rise in learning is very low. Instead of looking at learning levels for each year, Pritchett looks at them over a period of time—does a kid who can’t read in Standard II learn to read by Standard V?

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Boston reacts to Wikipedia’s protest blackout
Boston Herald
January 18
Quoted: Nicco Mele, Shorenstein Center
Topic: Wikipedia protest against pending anti-piracy laws

The Web’s go-to information site, Wikipedia, will be blocked all day today to protest two pending anti-piracy laws....

Nicco Mele, public policy lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said the piracy vs. censorship spat won’t end soon.

“This is just another installment in a very long war between the Internet giants and the Hollywood and cable giants,” he said.

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Not Another War, Please!
Huffington Post
January 17
Commentary by: Charles Cogan, Belfer Center
Topic: U.S.-Iranian relations

The rhetoric toward war is increasing between the United States and Iran. The prospect of further sanctions against Iran, coupled with the Iranian promise that, if this happens, Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, has upped the ante. American troops are out of Iraq, which frees up a least some American troops. Since the U.S. has gone from Iraq, and since Iraq has no air force, Israel now has more or less a straight shot at the Iranian target.

Apart from the question, never asked and never answered, as to why Iran cannot have nuclear weapons while India and Pakistan can, there is the lassitude that has set in over the successive wars in Afghanistan -- which has lasted much too long -- and Iraq -- which has been essentially fruitless. A new war is certainly to be avoided, if possible.

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Broadcast Notes

Michael Semple, Carr Center
NPR's “Morning Edition,” 1/18
Topic: Taliban political gains in Afghanistan

This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

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