Week 12: Globalization and Global Power(s)
S. Huntington, The Lonely Superpower, published in FOREIGN AFFAIRS in March/April 1999. Here is
the approach to the EU:
• Fairly long article, but he uses the name EU only 2 TIMES. Instead he
describes the EU as the Franco-German alliance, or the German-French
condominium in Europe. Partly this is due to his understanding of the
• and here is how he sees the international system. He does agree that
the world is not bipolar, for the SU in no more. But it is not an
unambiguously multipolar system, as this would mean that there are
several powers of comparable strength that compete and cooperate
with each other by forming shifting alliances. So, would this mean that
the world is unipolar. He doesn't think so either. If this were the case,
the US would be the only power able to resolve important international
issues alone. He does not want the US to be the only one that resolves
international issues. This would cost too much; and this would make
the US a very busy power. So, the US has to get some relief. It will be
always the last instance and the final decision-maker. But this also
means that it decide that some issues may be dealt with by others, by
those who will be assigned by the US to deal with the issues. So, the US
needs helpers. This is why the international system is UNI-
"The United States, of course, is the sole state with preeminence in every domain of power –
economic, military, diplomatic, ideological, technological, and cultural – with the reach and
capabilities to promote its interests in virtually every part of the world. At a second level are
major regional powers that are preeminent in areas of the world without being able to extend
their interests and capabilities as globally as the United States can. They include the German-
French condominium in Europe, Russia in Eurasia, China and potentially Japan in East Asia, India
in South Asia, and Nigeria in Africa. At a third level are secondary regional powers whose
interests often conflict with the more powerful regional states. These include Britain in relation
to the German-French combination, Ukraine in relation to Russia, Japan in relation to China,
South Korea in relation to Japan, Pakistan in relation to India, Saudi Arabia in relation to Iran,
and Argentina in relation to Brazil." p.36.
So the condominium is as strong as Russia or Nigeria, for example.
And it doesn't matter that Europe gave Russia 1.5 billion dollars = 7x as much as the US
and that in 1996 EU humanitarian aid was 2 billion, 1/3 more than the aid given to by
Then, Huntington criticizes US foreign policy for acting upon the assumption that it is a
superpower in a unipolar world. He repeats that the world is uni-multipolar. So, it is wise not to
act as if the world was unipolar.
So what does the US should do? The US should build coalitions, shifting as they might be, of
course. And in this context, he, for the first time in the article, uses the name European Union:
"Undoubtedly the single most important move toward an antihegemonic coalition, however,
antedates the end of the Cold War: the formation of the European Union and the creation of a
common European currency. As French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has said, Europe must
come together on its own and create a counterweight to stop the United States from
dominating a multipolar world. Clearly the euro could pose an important challenge to the
hegemony of the dollar in global finance." p.45.
So, Huntington is both:
Concerned about the power and, perhaps, the nature of the EU, which is why he singles out the
euro as the biggest threat to US hegemony. And the euro, of course, cannot be explained by
Realism. Unfortunately, he does not elaborate on this.
And he is
not very concerned about the EU, for the Union, just like any other coalition of states, is, of
course, based on shifting alliances.
So what should the US do? US can help to shift the shifting cooperation to protect American
interests. How can this be done?
FIRST: "The U.S. special relationship with Britain provides leverage against the emerging
superpower of a united Europe." p.47.
And he refers to his views presented in The Clash of Civilizations and the Rethinking of World
Order, about culture being a factor that facilitates cooperation in global politics, which is, to
repeat based on shifting alliances. So, here is how:
"… the interaction of power and culture has special relevance for European-American relations.
The dynamics of power encourage rivalry; cultural commonalties facilitate cooperation. The
achievement of almost any major American goal depends on the triumph of the latter over the
former. The relation with Europe is central to the success of American foreign policy, and given
the pro- and anti-American outlooks of Britain and France, respectively, America's relations
with Germany are central to its relations with Europe. Healthy cooperation with Europe is the
prime antidote for the loneliness of American superpowerdom." p.48.
So relations with Germany should be used as a device against the French and, automatically,
against the EU as a whole.
IN THE END:
IF AMERICA HAS HELPERS, OF WHICH EUROPE IS PROBABLY MOST USEFUL, THE USA WILL BE
LESS LONELY AS THE LONELY SUPERPOWER IN THE UNI-MULTIPOLAR WORLD. Hence the
WORLD WILL BE MULTIPOLAR AND, AT THE SAME TIME, DOMINATED, BUT IN MORE
ACCEPTABLE WAY TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, BY THE US.
COOPERATION WITH EUROPE IS TO KEEP THE WORLD'S ONLY AND LONELY SUPERPOWER
WELL… LESS LONELY and more SUPERPOWERFUL.
“America and Europe: Clash of the Titans?” International Affairs, March/April 1999
C. Fred Bergsten
“THE LAUNCH of the euro offers the prospect of a new bipolar international economic order
that could replace America's hegemony since World War II. The global trading system has
already been jointly run since the early days of the European Common Market, which enabled
Europe to integrate its commerce and exercise power equivalent to that of the United States in
that domain. Now Euroland will equal or exceed the United States on every key measure of
economic strength and will speak increasingly with a single voice on a wide array of economic
issues. The euro is likely to challenge the international financial dominance of the dollar.
Moreover, the end of the Cold War has sharply reduced the importance of U.S. military might
for Europe and pulled aside the security blanket that often allowed both sides to cover up or
resolve their economic disputes for the greater good of preserving the anticommunist
Economic relations between the United States and the European Union will therefore rest
increasingly on a foundation of virtual equality. The United States will either have to adjust to
this new reality or conduct a series of rear-guard defensive actions that will be increasingly
futile and costly-like the British did for many decades as their leadership role declined. The
EU will either have to exercise positive leadership, which it now can do, or become highly
frustrated at home and a spoiler abroad.
Partly as a result of these seismic shifts, transatlantic economic interdependence and joint
responsibility for global leadership have grown rapidly for both economic superpowers.
Europe and America therefore need to devise new strategies and institutional arrangements to
manage both their bilateral economic relations and global economic issues. Such strategies can
be constructed with or without a "common European foreign policy" that embraces traditional