Tuesday, September 16, 2008

EU Defense and The New World Order

An article in The Economist titled <“A Worrying New World Order”> poses the undeterminable question as to what position the European Union will obtain when a new world order emerges. No matter what the new world order has in store, it would be beneficial for the European Union to continue progress of the principle of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defense Policy <(ESDP)>, a collective security principle and body within the EU, in order to enhance its influential role in the new world order. After the re-emergence of Russia during the Georgia-Russia conflict over the past few weeks this question has been heavily discussed across Europe. Some would argue that a new world order already exists and from that stems the decline of the United States as a hegemony. The article suggest that “A previous generation of EU leaders, such as Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroder, dreamt of a multi-polar world, in which several powers would wield clout.” However, this multi-polar system is not a certain outcome and one source suggests that “this is a neo-polar world, in which old alliances and rivalries are bumping up against each other in new ways.” Although this notion has little evidence to back it, the “neo-polar world” is identified more by what it is not.

The European Union has certainly evolved since the establishment of the European Steel and Coal Community in 1951. It has extended its influence across the continent by lowering trade barriers amongst members in order to create a common market, implementing a common currency for most of the members, and by acquiring more members which currently encompasses 27 countries. Overall, the EU has had tremendous success in uniting Europe, and in promoting a peaceful existence amongst members; however, there are modern-day challenges that inevitably face the EU and the institution will have to develop collective strategies to deal with them.

The national security challenges range on a spectrum from international terrorism to drug and human trafficking, issues that are essentially on the entire global west agenda. The EU has attempted to devise a common defense strategy encompassing decisive diplomacy and a military, but so far it has not been an overall success. This is due in part to the reservations that member governments are having in authorizing a set of policies that may be contradictive to domestic policies. These reservations are certainly valid, but it also goes to show that creating a completely unified set of standards can be a lengthy process; however, the clock is ticking and the new world system is slowly emerging. The sooner the EU can attain policy solidarity in the ESDP than the sooner it will be able to manage its own conflicts, gather as a single unified force, and reduce its heavy reliance upon other collective security institutions, thus, enabling it to gain even more credibility in the ever changing world order.

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