Power and Weakness by Robert Kagan

Topics: United States, Europe, World War II Pages: 4 (1364 words) Published: February 28, 2007
Study of the essay "Power and Weakness" by Robert Kagan

Robert Kagan, American neoconservative scholar and political commentator created an international sensation in 2002 with his essay "Power and Weakness," that he later expanded into a bestselling book entitled Of Paradise and Power. His essay announced that "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus." Here is a summary of his essay and the different steps of his analysis of the deteriorating US-Europe relationship According to Kagan, a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Europe has begun. Indeed Europe is hiding from power beyond laws and rules, whereas United States is using power because laws are not reliable enough. This results in a difference in the way to lead Foreign policy. The United States are less patient with diplomacy; they want to solve problems quickly. This leads to unilateralism in international affairs. Europeans are more tolerant, preferring negotiation, diplomacy. They use economic ties to unite nations together. What is the source of these differing strategic perspectives? For Europeans the peaceful strategic culture is pretty new. The power has shifted 200 years ago when the United States were weak, and practiced the strategies of indirection, now that the United States are powerful, they behave as powerful nations do and European countries see the world through the eyes of weaker powers.

1.Power gap: perception and reality
Europe has been militarily weak since World War II, but it remained unnoticed because of the unique geopolitical context of the Cold War: it was the strategic pivot between the United States and the Soviet Union. With the "new Europe", in 1990s, everybody agreed that Europe will restore its power. However, the Balkan conflict revealed the European military incapability. The United States carried out the decisive phases of a military mission and led to a stable situation. This isn't a surprise when we know that average...
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