Frédéric Charillon

A World of Influences Soft Power Publication date : January 5, 2022

Frédéric Charillon is professor of political science at the Université Clermont Auvergne, consultant for issues of defense and diplomacy at ESSEC Business School, and coordinator of instruction in international issues at the École nationale d’administration. He was director of the institute of strategic research of the École Militaire and the Centre d’Études en Sciences Sociales de la défense. He also teaches at Sciences Po and in several universities overseas.

What do “Panda kissers,” “Putin-mania,” K-Pop (Korean pop music), the TV series “The Bureau,” the British Council, and “Cocacolonization” have in common? All of them involve displaying, seducing, convincing, and finding footholds within a more global government strategy.

Because – and this is the thesis of this book – influence, and no longer brute power, is the new key to understanding the game of international relations. But what is influence? Who exercises it? What are its means, its fields of action, its objectives?

This book answers those questions: influence mobilizes more resources for governments. It enables them to obtain positions of power, to modify international relationships of strength, to control third-world countries, and to prosper in them without impediments.

One can denounce influence as an unacceptable manipulation, point one’s finger at its wielders, in particular when they cause harm and practice intimidation. But it remains true that this competition for minds has become the norm in the field of international relations.

Henceforth, it is a matter of knowing whether France and more broadly Europe are well-armed to wage this new type of war.