The Contest of the Century by Geoff Dyer (2014)

It was a Chinese liberal intellectual and diplomat, Hu Shi, who in the 1930s provided the best answer to those afraid of Chinese soft power. He was writing in another era of intense debates in China about how to modernise its society and whether it should follow a Western path. If these was anything really valuable in traditional Chinese culture, Hu Shi told his compatriots, then it would easily survive the entry of Western ideas into the country. “If our culture really contains priceless treasures that are able to withstand the power of the cleansing foreign attack, this indestructible part of our culture will naturally emerge even more fully after scientific cultire washes over it,” Hu wrote. The threat to America’s soft power does not come from China, but from its own seemingly inability to solve basic issues of governance. The U.S. should worry less about the attractiveness of China and more about getting its own house in order.