Friday, January 21, 2011

Why is the EU "both attractive, and irrelevant in international politics"?

Interesting post by Nicu Popescu, on whether the EU's soft power is merely freeloading, on the European Council on Foriegn Relations website.
The EU is proud that it is a ‘soft power’ (when you make others what you want through attraction, rather than coercion). It also thinks this is the most sophisticated and benefic way to exercise power (‘post-modern’ in other words). It might be true, but seen from the outside the logic of soft power might not be that appealing for others. In fact if you sit in Dushanbe, Caracas or Karachi why would you care for someone’s soft power?

The answer is, you don't really. No matter how nice you are and attractive you are the dreams of  The European Elite are still meaningless. Of course the author thinks that the answer is for the EU to furnish itself otherwise,
In other words, a state or a union of states, can have some soft power, but not be a soft power. Consequently soft power can and will only work on the margins and in support of other types of power – hard, military or economic. It is an enabling factor for the effective use of other types of foreign policy tools, but not a replacement for them
But really the point is made, Europe is freeloading and has been for one hell of a long time. What is interesting is that in the seven or so years since Robert Kagan wrote "Of Paradise and Power" there seems to be very little change. Europe is still from Venus.

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