On Thursday, November 1, the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade met to continue its study on the impact and utilization of Canadian culture and arts in Canadian foreign policy and diplomacy, and other related matters. NED Vice President for Studies and Analysis Christopher Walker testified on the threat of sharp power to the integrity of democracies in the context of cultural diplomacy, emphasizing the malign objectives pursued by authoritarian governments under the guise of shaping public opinion and perceptions around the world.
Democratic societies must reckon with the challenges presented by sharp power. The challenge is multifaceted, and so must be any response. Society-wide responses are needed that take into account the reality that the democracies cannot rely solely on governmental measures for meeting what is a complex, multidimensional challenge. At the same time, democracies must take care that they do not make things worse. Democratic systems cannot sacrifice their own standards and values as a way of safeguarding against the authoritarian sharp power.
Image Credit: Flickr/Michel Rathwell