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Research Report

A new geography of European power?

James Rogers
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Published by: Egmont Institute
Pages: 35
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-6)
    James Rogers

    The naval historian and geostrategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan, understood the utility of military power perhaps better than anyone before or since. In an article called The Place of Force in International Relations – penned two years before his death in 1914 – he claimed: ‘Force is never more operative then when it is known to exist but is not brandished’ (1912: p. 31).¹ If Mahan’s point was valid then, it is perhaps even more pertinent now. The rise of new powers around the world has contributed to the emergence of an increasingly unpredictable and multipolar international system. Making the use...

  2. (pp. 7-12)

    In recent years, the linkages between geography and politics have been ignored or downplayed. Scholars and analysts have been ‘overdosing’ on globalization, which became the main framework in the 1990s through which international relations was understood (Gray, 2004: p. 9). This approach merged with a number of laudable but nevertheless peculiar fantasies, which saw the rise of a multilateral and civilized era in international relations as inevitable, while force and coercion would be progressively and irrevocably abolished. As Toje says: ‘These movements were united in the belief that the world could be, or already had been, fundamentally changed by new...

  3. (pp. 13-18)

    The history of the European Community has long been as a ‘civilian power’, whose aim was to ‘domesticate’ and ‘institutionalize’ the relations between its component Member States and prevent them from even considering military action as a possible option in their interactions with one another (Duchêne, 1972, 1973). European integration thus aimed to transcend geopolitics, at least within Europe. It is perhaps for this reason that there has been a tendency for contemporary Europeans to play down the significance of geopolitics. As Hill has noted: ‘Students of the European Union have for too long neglected geopolitics, either because they could...

  4. (pp. 19-24)

    Until recently, the European Union has given little consideration to high political matters, at least when they occurred beyond its borders. When issues of foreign and military policy presented themselves, they were dealt with almost exclusively by the Member States or delegated to the Atlantic Alliance. Yet, with the functional and geographic expansion of the European Union over the past decade; the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy; the passage of the Treaty of Lisbon; the 2008 financial crisis; and the ongoing transformation in the global balance of power, the European Union has been both asked and compelled...

  5. (pp. 25-26)

    Geography and geopolitics have often been neglected in European foreign and security policy. This is a mistake. The rising powers of the twenty-first century have already begun to integrate their homelands more effectively and chart the regions where their own geographic and geopolitical interests lay. The European Union’s future is dependent on the adoption of a truly comprehensive and preventative approach, which fuses together civilian and military assets for permanent power projection into the regions most vital to the maintenance of European prosperity and the democratic way of life. These regions – forming the ‘Grand Area’ – should be placed...