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Macron’s France beats Trump’s US in global soft power survey

© Joël Saget, AFP | France has beaten the US in the world's soft power ratings, according to a 2017 study.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-07-19

France has for the first time beaten the US and the UK to become the new world leader of "soft power", according to a report published Tuesday.

France was declared the world’s top soft power for 2017 by The SoftPower 30, an annual report by the UK-based PR firm Portland and the University of Southern California.

It's the first time France has topped the annual rankings -- Britain headed the index two years ago and was beaten last year by the US -- since the SoftPower index was established three years ago.

“Undoubtedly the most impressive year-on-year performance from 2016 to 2017 is France overtaking the UK, US, Germany and Canada to secure the top spot,” said the report.

France’s sweep was a result of Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the 2017 presidential race, the country’s vast diplomatic network as well as the way France as a nation is perceived abroad.

“France’s soft power has no doubt seen a boost with the defeat of the Front National and election of its youngest ever president, Emmanuel Macron. Elected on a pro-Europe platform of reform, the president is riding a wave of both domestic and international popularity,” the report noted.

‘America First’ puts US third

In contrast, the US slump to third spot -- after the UK -- was due to President Donald Trump’s policies, according to the report. "Trump's 'America First' doctrine has played poorly abroad, alienating allies and damaging links with the rest of the world," said the report.

"The rise of Trump could be viewed as a threat to American soft power, not least because his kind of populist rhetoric is known for devaluing international alliances," the authors of the report noted.

Coined 27 years ago by US political scientist Joseph Nye, the term "soft power" is used to describe a country’s non-military global influence by harnessing international alliances and shaping preferences through a country’s perceived appeal and attraction.

The poll gauged how well countries were regarded according to such issues as culture, foreign policy, digital engagement and perceived capacity for economic innovation, among others.

Date created : 2017-07-19

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