Tracking Global Power Via the Opinion Press

Last week, the Washington Post’s online “Post Global” section launched a new feature called the “Global Power Barometer,” which is described as “a simple way to understand 24/7 who’s winning and losing globally.”

The barometer, developed by an outfit called the Denver Research Group, “provides a relative measure of how well various nations, ideologies and political movements are exercising their power to move global opinion and events in the directions they desire,” says the site.

The day-to-day measurements of which countries are up and which are down in the news and opinion pages is pretty useless. But the four-week tracking view could prove to be interesting to follow. Right now, China, Iran, Islamists and North Korea are on the upswing, while the United States and Israel are not doing well in the influence game.

Measuring “Global Thought” through media is certainly not a definitive way to gauge power, but given the importance of opinion and perceptions in contributing to “soft power,” the trends depicted by the GPB may be worth a look from time to time.

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