Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I would have normally written Kaplan rather than neocon, but neopacifist need some balance. In retrospect, perhaps neorealist would be more apt now. Kaplan's writings have evolved over time. I think during the early Bush years he definitely veered more toward neocon thinking, but he is quicker to finesse and change his thinking that the current group of neocon deadbeats.

Anyway to put labels aside, do you agree with his many assessments, among which are Europe is decadent and neopacifist? Kaplan is prodding Europe to get involved:

At home, Europe's social safety net is estimable. But what will the European Union, now with its own president and foreign minister, work toward abroad? After all, a neopacifist Europe is the result not only of the continent's ethical awakening following centuries of war, but of a new strategic context in which Europeans simply face no credible security threat.

In some ways, attitudes of Europe today reminds me of American isolationism at the onset of World War I. Since most Europeans do not see an external threat, they seem content to not meddle. Kaplan sees this as "Europe's apathy".

The subtext that Kaplan, I think, is arguing is the following: America cannot stop being involved militarily around the world,

Because the cause of international peace and security sometimes requires a willingness to fight, and humanitarian rescue missions often rely on skills honed in combat, the U.S. has, since the end of the Cold War, had to try to enlist Europe in its grand strategy, despite what some might legitimately consider Europe's neopacifism.

"Grand strategy" could be described by others as imperialistic goals.

For the last half of the 20th century, the U.S. has shouldered the burden because of the "anemic level of European military spending", but now "the way the world is shaping up, America will have no choice but to yank Europe kicking and screaming into conflict zones".

So, while the U.S. continues to fight the wars, Kaplan advocates Europe take responsibility in "humanitarian assistance", "rescue missions", and the "training of indigenous forces".

Ultimately, I think Kaplan believes European foreign policy is still a part of the larger American foreign policy. He wants Europe to reengage with the world, but also it seems under the direction of the U.S.

I think this means continuing to let the United States be the West's lightning rod and thus allowing Europeans to mostly not get involved in the messy parts of wars, have a social safety net instead of a large military, and be the people the world likes instead of being the 'great Satan'. In exchange, I think it would mean the EU/NATO show a deference to the U.S. in foreign policy matters.

As an American, I'm not in favor of this. But, then maybe I'm misreading what this "hard-nosed realist", as you describe him, is advocating.

by Magnifico on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 09:30:15 AM EST
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