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European Union Military And The United States

6431 words - 26 pages

The United States of America currently stands alone in a unique position upon the world stage. After nearly fifty years as the anchor upon one side of a bipolar system, the U.S. now finds itself as the only remaining superpower. The Cold War mentality of the 20th century has persisted in the application of American foreign policy, manifesting itself in a dramatic preponderance of power, both political and military, and a willingness to use it. Enjoying a comparative advantage in both nuclear and conventional military power, the United States has gotten used to exerting its will largely unchecked by the objections of other states. Acting as the hegemon, the United States has pursued whatever ...view middle of the document...

"This essential stabilizing factor is markedly absent from the theatre of interstate politics today. The United States acts without the uncertainty bred from caution that the multipolar balance of power is meant to provide. While there has been a great deal of debate within the realist camp regarding the functional utility of balance of power politics, general consensus is that at least some form of balance must be reached. Adherents of the counterclaim that stability stems from unitary dominance recognize the relative benefits of the hegemonic leadership to all states, pointing out the interdependent nature of economic and social factors. Proponents of this view argue that "the absence of hegemony or leadership may result in chaos or instability." Realist scholars have debated this view against its opposite that stability rises from a balance of power, be it bipolar or multipolar, for quite some time.The way in which the debate is framed is a particularly useful of way of analyzing the impulses and interactions between the United States and Europe since the one has become the hegemonic power. On the one hand, balance of power would hold that the European Union should rise as a counteragent, developing autonomy and military power to balance the United States. Especially in light of French and German reaction to recent U.S. war efforts in Iraq, this possibility is too tantalizing to discount completely and there have been urges in this direction. On the other hand, hegemonic stability theory would hold that as the leader, the United States would continue to supply security and stability in the region, chiefly through NATO and the well established military presence it affords. The way both NATO and European Union military initiatives have operated in the unipolar moment describes the balance of power versus hegemonic stability in action.For the better part of the last century, the United States has worked hard tomaintain a relatively subtle yet undeniably strong military and political presence in Europe. American foreign policy was crafted with sole intention of ensuring that U.S. interests would remain protected in the ever-changing world of European politics. Following the massive conflicts of the World Wars and throughout the back and forth maneuvering of the Cold War chess game, the United States has always recognized the importance of keeping a strong hand in Europe.The epic conflict of the Cold War, in which the United States and the Soviet Union faced each other over the future of the continent, was more than an academic battle of ideologies. Economic and political interests were at stake in the clash of empires. The Soviets controlled Eastern Europe and so the U.S. was necessarily a close ally with the Western European states, in an attempt to halt any possible gains in the encroaching threat of Soviet expansion. This was balance of power writ large. It became strategically vital for the U.S. to maintain a close watch on the European...

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