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Cuba

As The Pope Heads To Mexico And Cuba, A Quieter Vatican Diplomacy Is Tested Anew

In 1998 when Pope John Paul II made a historic trip to Havana, Vatican diplomacy was on full display. Pope Benedict XVI's arrival in Cuba, after a visit to Mexico, reminds us that the influence of the Catholic Church is based above all on its vas

John Paul II and Jimmy Carter in another era (Marion Doss)
John Paul II and Jimmy Carter in another era (Marion Doss)
Stéphanie Le Bars

Pope Benedict XVI does not travel much. The four or five trips abroad that he makes each year, and the speeches that he makes to his foreign flocks, as well as to the leaders of the countries he visits, are therefore key indicators of Vatican positions.

The Pope's trip to Cuba and Mexico, which begins Friday, should be a typical example of this. The United States has already made its stance on the matter clear: they "hope" that Benedict will raise the question of human rights in Cuba. Indeed, the mediation of the Cuban Church facilitated the released of 115 political prisoners over the past two years.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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