Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chapter Three: Martians and Venusians?

Weigel devouts an entire chapter to Robert Kagan's examination of the differences between Europe and the U.S. in terms of the use of "Hard Power" and "Soft Power." His premise is that Europe has been devasted by two wold wars thus causing them to have "a different set of perceptions about the threats to peace and freedom..." He underscores Europe's soft power, which is the "further refinement of international legal and political instruments of conflict resolution" approach by suggesting that it can only be soft under the umbrella of the United State's "hard power" protection.

Weigel, in my opinion, fails to clarify Europe's approach to terrorism. In other words, why do they have military stationed at airports in various parts of Europe? Why do they even have a military if they are so focused on "soft power"? Also, he does not clarify the U.S. approach to terrorism such as our negotiations with other countries in trying to deal with North Korea and our current relationship with European countries in the fight against terrorism. He bases everything on our use of force against Iraq, a one time event which is debatable.

A couple questions arise from this chapter:
1) What is the balance between hard and soft power?
2) Does Europe appreciate or even understand that our military provided their protection against the Soviets which ultimately laxed their views on international affairs?
3) Is it safe to suggest that Europe is approaching terrorism as Chamberlain approached the Nazis?

1 comment:

Civis said...

1) Speak softly and carry a big stick.
2) Sure, but the cold war is over. Do we need to be so pugnatiuos?
3) This is not appeasment, this is being reasonable. Stop provoking and you wound be bitten so much.