By brokering a difficult normalisation deal between Saudis and Iranians, the two Middle Eastern rivals, Beijing has shown that it can be a stabilising force across the turbulent region.
Washington has long considered Latin America as its backyard, but the region has slowly moved out of the US orbit, solidifying its ties with the rising China.
China has recently signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, a tiny Pacific state close to Australia, angering the Western alliance.
While the US lost the so-called battle for ‘hearts and minds’ in the Muslim world, elements of public diplomacy still retain their strategic importance for Washington.
After 17 days of competition, China and the US were locked in a dead heat for gold medal supremacy. Their competition at the games also represents their increasing great power rivalry.
China is lavishing scholarships on foreign students and opening up institutions around the world as it looks to exert influence and serve the national interest in a different way.
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