Six months ago I wrote my first blog: Is soft power still a tool in today's world? It was inspired by the work that began at ResPublica, which culminated in the report published last week - Britain's Global Future: Harnessing the soft power capital of UK institutions.
We wanted to share a little story from the recent past of Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who features in this week’s news about Donald Trump Jr. That story, we think, says a lot about Russian power, how it works and when it doesn’t.
Soft and hard power, while millenia-old means deployed to achieve an end, were only distinguished comparatively recently; military force largely associated with the latter, diplomacy with the former. I suppose this is a development which reflected on the decreasing popularity of military interventionism that formerly governed interactions between countries. World-building depended on conquering areas and declaring them yours, but this fell out of fashion eventually. The last new country to emerge on Earth was South Sudan, a fragile, still war-fraught nation founded in 2011.