AN ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF CHINESE AND AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE ON SOFT POWER
Durrence, Thomas Christopher
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In the current geopolitical atmosphere, China and the United States are often involved in conversations regarding spheres of influence. This power can be referred to as a country’s level of soft power, and it is becoming increasingly beneficial to invest in elements that increase it. The following research explores the connection between the level of development assistance that a donor country provides and shifts in public opinion. In this case, public opinion is being used as an abridged measure of soft power and the objective is to quantitatively demonstrate that more official development assistance equates to stronger soft power. In the twenty-first century, China has used much of its capital to invest in various development projects throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Just as well, the United States has provided its own aid in the same regions, and recently reorganized the entire structure of its development aid agencies with the passing of the bipartisan bill known as the Build Act of 2018. The subsequent research focuses on two of these regions, the most of which is directed at Latin America and a following section on Africa. Latin America affords us excellent data and its geographic proximity makes it a critical area of study. Africa on the other hand, has been a huge area of interest for China and the raw materials contained within it make it a crucial investment. With these two superpowers fighting for global influence, policymakers need indicators that can provide them with a snapshot of how effective aid programs are. If a relationship can be proved, then perhaps such a marker can promote more effective aid and diplomacy, thereby increasing the soft power of the nation. This research found that there is no observable positive or negative relationship between our variables, even when accounting for time lag.