Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mao got it about right

Thorvaldur Gylfason and  Per Magnus Wijkman say the European Union needs to man up;
When push came to shove, Armenia found the soft power of the EU to be no match for the hard power of Russia and the ruling oligarchs in Ukraine preferred quick money in their pockets to slow modernisation of the Ukraine economy and the rule of law. While Georgia and Moldova chose to initiate their agreements [with the EU], they have frozen conflicts with Russia (South Ossetia, Abkhasia, Transnistria) for which the EU’s soft power alone is insufficient protection. As Raik (2013, p. 22) notes: “The Eastern Partnership reflects the general tendency of the EU to play down issues of hard security and geopolitics and pursue economic integration as an instrument for enhancing stability and peace.”
Thus, hard power trumped soft power at the Vilnius Summit. As a result, the Eastern Partnership, a key programme of the EU, lost out in the contest of “geopolitics versus economic modernisation” (Raik 2013, p. 19). This loss of credibility will affect the EU’s Euro-Mediterranean partnership as well. Hence, the EU must alter its mix of soft and hard power.
[Bold by HSIB in the above.]

The EU's hard power, such as it is, comes from the United States military. And that is currently being watered down by a combination of budget politics and indifference to military power by Barack Obama (and his former Sec'y of State, Hillary Clinton, as well as the current one, John Kerry).

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