UK heads 'Soft Power' list

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Yeoman_dai, Nov 19, 2012.

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  1. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    The UK has had a very good summer.

    I think we do tend to under-rate ourselves, what with over 60 years of genteel post-imperial decline. In my own service and in my travels, I've almost always found that mention of service in the British armed forces has gone down well (I tend not to advertise this in certain parts of the world, of course).

    Whilst this attitude is perhaps understandable in obvious places around the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian world, it's also good to see in places as varied as the DDR, Russia, Turkmenistan, Bosnia, Turkey, Cyprus and the odd bit of Africa I've ventured into. People often seem to expect rather alot from you and it feels it would be a shame not to play the part.
     
  2. Can soft power exist without hard power? I would suggest not.
     
  3. Well if they don't like our soft power we'll send a charabanc load of eckythump ninja's....that'll learn 'em.
     
  4. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    It's always useful to have a big stick, but the Beatles and Manchester Utd (other boy bands are available) can have more influence than you imagine.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. What remains of the "white man's burden?"
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Most of the places I've felt that were actually inhabited by 'white' men with a different history. What is it like for a Brit in your neck of the woods?
     
  7. In the words of Colonel Nathan R Jessup

    So as you can clearly see, you can shove soft power up your hoop.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Maybe not entirely, but it can reach further than you think. Japan has been constitutionally forbidden from war for almost seventy years and yet with a "soft power" doctrine it has projected economic and cultural influence far beyond the extent of its territorial empire. Grandfathers fought the Japanese, and grandsons listen to Walkmans, play Nintendo, and watch Pokémon.
     
  9. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    All things must pass:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Economic and industrial power is hard power, no?
     
  11. Right now, all of our local staff are trying to get me married off with their sisters, cousins, nieces etc. The local employees that we have are continually trying to "borrow" money from me for ciggies and beer on account of the fact that I am "rich".

    People tend to think that I am a "boss" (I am one but I never play the part) because I am white - you get that in Asia too.

    Funny how in Saigon, when I say good morning as I pass someone when doing my morning exercise, they often respond "Good morning Sir", but that could be age related as well.

    In Bangkok, I am (as usual) universally polite to people and it's amazing how many taxi drivers and bar girls get stopped in their tracks by it. They tell me that most foreigners are often rude and aggressive, especially the Ffrench and a lot of the Brits. I had a drunken (and I mean he was almost incoherent) Jock grab me by the arm in BKK international airport last year trying to borrow money to pay his flight home. When I told him I had no cash on me, he became abusive (ah f*** ye anall ye c***.. etc). What the Thais thought about that behaviour I have no idea.

    The people in most places I go outside the western world have the view that Europeans and Americans are rich and clever. Some of them are resentful over it.

    I took LBFM's niece and nephew out for an ice cream in Saigon a few months ago and, coming back to the apartment, someone said something I didn't catch whilst we were in the lift. The lad - all of 8 years old - gave the person who made the comment a bollocking and said "don't say rude things about my uncle. Apparently the bloke had muttered something like "nước ngoài mẹ đồ ngu" or foreign mother f*****.

    Interestingly in most parts of Asia, if you are a boss, you are expected to behave like one and this consists of treating your staff with contempt, having a big expensive and ostentatious car, a big house etc. And if you are white you are almost automatically expected to have the same attributes. And generally speaking the Ffrench do.
     
  12. I spent quite a few years as the chief Mechanic of an multi-national workshop in North Africa and Saudi and agree completely. An interesting thing was the fact that a straight Black and White workforce, in my case.. Brit/Kiwi expats and black african (mainly sudani) junior staff worked really well with all party's happy in their work, it all started to go tits up when the parent company started introducing local "graduates" into the senior staff. Almost overnight the easygoing boss/worker relationship became a master/servant one. The worst offenders were Egyptians/Saudi's for whom corruption, arrogance, and incompetence seem to be compulsory.
    I think trust was a major factor, I wouldn't expect anyone to work for nothing and to me a working man is a working man regardless of where he comes from and no-one ever lost out on pay when I was signing the timesheets. There was no such trust with local senior staff...with good reason.
     
  13. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Here's Brotherton Lad ..[​IMG]
     
  14. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    The locals in Bosnia did give me a round of applause one evening in Vitez, when I popped down the road to the Mess in a tweed jacket and tie, the CO was rather less impressed. But then the Bn had form for that sort of thing, as this young chap in the Bosnia Mess shows (there was, of course, a very strict 2 goblet rule enforced):

    CIMG1201.JPG