Home / Articles / Foreign Policy through Other Means: Hard Power, Soft Power, and China’s Turn to Political Warfare to Influence the United States
The People’s Republic of China increasingly has turned to political warfare and sharp power to influence U.S. policy toward China and on international issues that it considers important. This turn in part reflects the limited effectiveness of Beijing’s much-increased hard power and its never-formidable and now-reduced soft power as means to achieve China’s ends with the United States. China’s political warfare and uses of sharp power pursue both direct influence on U.S. policy and indirect impact through affecting American attitudes toward China and China-related issues. China’s efforts range across many sectors—including business, culture, media, education, and more—and they have prompted reactions and countermeasures. In China’s view, the United States has long been engaged in something like political warfare or sharp power undertakings targeting China. If, or as, U.S.-China relations continue to become more adversarial, political warfare, uses of sharp power, and measures to counter them are likely to increase.