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Why Europe will run the 21st century

What Europe has, argues Mark Leonard in his provocatively titled book, Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century, is a model, one centered around a new understanding of power and embodied in the institutions and norms of the European Union. The EU exerts an irresistible attraction on the countries around it, Leonard says, drawing them into its orbit, embedding them in its legal and economic framework and changing them from the inside out. Next to this "transformative power," the United States' military might, which can change regimes but not societies, and whose application is necessarily fleeting, seems a weak instrument indeed. Increasingly, Leonard tells us, we'll see more regional groupings emerge bound, as the EU is, by mutual self-interest and common values. It's in this sense, he argues, that Europe--or, more precisely, the "European way"--will dominate the 21st century.

Leonard is Director of Foreign Policy at the Center for European Reform in London, where he works on transatlantic and EU-China relations. He recently spoke with Mother Jones by phone from the UK.

Mother Jones: As we're forever being told, the United States is the most powerful country in the history of the world and is likely to remain so, even as China rises, for the foreseeable future. But you're arguing that this view rests on a minsunderstanding of power. How so?

Mark Leonard: My book isn't about Europe so much as it's about power, and how you go about getting your way and acting in the world. I'm not arguing that Europe will be the most vibrant economic bloc in the world or that it will have the biggest army; I'm saying that the European way of doing things, the European model, will change the way the world works.

What we're coming to realize is that the classic 19th century idea of power is coming unstuck in an interdependent, globalized world. In this world, military power is still important, but it's becoming less so, and the price for using it is much higher than before, as the US has found in Iraq.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/10/why-europe-will-run-21st-century



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 06:08:02 PM EST
It was fashionable among a small cadre of US EUphiles around the turn of the millennium to tout the coming EU dominance. The Bush years changed all that.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not interested in what was or wasn't fashionable, do you have any arguments against what he says ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is too inward-looking and fractious to expand beyond its current size.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a state of mind.

And note that the EU's influence (on things like technical standards, and pretty much anything that requires sophisticated regulation) goes far beyond its formal limits.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've said before, I am coming round to the view that the 'turf battles' and many other aspects of the EU bureaucracy that distribute 'power' are  good. The tiny 6.3% admin costs of the EU also show that 'distributed processing' can also be cost-efficient.

The apparent redundancy of many different committees addressing the same problems is also good. etc etc. The more like the brain it gets, the better imo ;-)

The greatest danger we face in the EU is the establishment of rigid top-down hierarchies.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 08:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The apparent redundancy of many different committees addressing the same problems is also good. etc etc. The more like the brain it gets, the better imo ;-)

The greatest danger we face in the EU is the establishment of rigid top-down hierarchies.

Compare to the human body.  The brain runs the show (rigid top-down hierarchy) and the body (the citizenry) performs the functions it is told to perform.  Apparently nature "thinks" that this is a good design; check out the success of the various species with big brains.  And what killed off the dinosaurs after 160 billion years?  A huge rock from space that the poor bastards couldn't do anything about because they didn't have the technology.

Please notice how the successful human body deals with "dissent".  Cancers (dangers from within) must be stopped and are constantly being destroyed by a healthy immune system.  Invaders (bacteria, fungi, viruses) are not negotiated with; they are destroyed.

Any more brain analogies anyone?  :)

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 10:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fundamentally disagree. Any living body is bottom up, and non-linear. We are, after all, just tubes with mouths at one end and anuses at the other - everything else is simply advanced tube work.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 10:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any living body is bottom up,

In your dreams.  Sven, buddy.  Stick to music/arts.  It's your strength.  Biology/science ain't your field.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 11:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, it is you who have bought into a hierarchic view in your schooling. I would have thought that a lifetime of association with growing things would have disavowed you of any homunculaic thoughts ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 11:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. You may want to check your use of the word "homunculaic".  dictionary.com couldn't find it, the closest that seemed correct was homuncular, a form of homunculus "a fully formed, miniature human body believed, according to some medical theories of the 16th and 17th centuries, to be contained in the spermatozoon."  Not sure what you're shooting for there.

  2. Back to this universe.  What controls what.  The energy for life begins in the sun, green plants trap it in the form of carbohydrates, animals eat other plants/animals.  In the cell, the nucleus runs the show by keeping most of the information bottled up.  Mitochondria and chloroplasts were co-opted because they were useful little buggers who could trap the sunlight and get a whole bunch of ATP out of pyruvate (glycolysis is sooo yesterday).  I mention these little folks because they do have some of their own DNA.  Anyway, once you hit multicellular beyond sponges, you got to keep the folks in line or you don't survive.  "It's a jungle out there, I tells ya!"

Human beings must get BEYOND biology to get to the next step.  Will they make it?  Watch and see.  That's why I'm here.  That, and the chicks.  Hey, have you heard?  Marg Helgenberger is back on the market.  And me with my bad back.  Pshaw!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 12:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neologism IS beyond biology

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 12:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words."

Well, I guess it is but I don't see how it's going to,

  1. Save the human race's bacon, or

  2. Get Marg to start answering my emails.  I mean, she must know I've been holding out for her, for just this occasion.  With my back, I'd make a crappy stalker.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 01:09:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there an example of where the European model accomplished social change (in contrast to "hard power" effected regime changes) in some troubled area?
by asdf on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 08:57:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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