Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft
International Politics and Society 1/2003



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Europe's Mission: Pushing for a Participative World Order

Ernst-Otto Czempiel* 


The EU is called upon to pioneer a new type of foreign policy, aiming at a participative system of global governance. This - not the attempt to match American military might - is the right way to correct unilateralist U.S. power politics. It is also the way to win the fight against terrorism.

Upgrading the Atlantic Community

By 'Europe' I understand primarily the European Union. Its task is procedural as well as conceptual. In order to be a global player the EU must develop an institutional framework within which the common foreign and security policy, as well as the European Security and Defence Policy, must evolve. This organisational problem must be solved by means of the institutional reform which is being prepared by the European Council, and I shall not cover this constitutional aspect. I shall concentrate on the conceptual challenge of installing a world order which recognises the distribution of power in the contemporary world and at the same time introduces, or re-introduces, certain rules of behaviour capable of diminishing, if not eliminating, the use of physical violence for the solution of conflicts.

The Atlantic Community serves as a model for the realisation of societal aspirations throughout t
he world.
Underlying the following analysis and suggestions are four normative values:
  1. The Atlantic Community comprising Western Europe and North America must be consolidated and preserved. In this region there is such a high density of interdependence in the areas of security, economic well-being and democratic participation that it has become the most important zone of peace in the world. With its achievements the Atlantic Community serves as a model for the realisation of societal aspirations throughout the world.The Atlantic Community is not identical with NATO. In spite of its important achievements during the Cold War and its peace-keeping activities since then, the alliance should be treated only as the military arm of the Atlantic Community.

  2. The Atlantic Community is not identical with NATO. In spite of its important achievements during the Cold War and its peace-keeping activities since then, the alliance should be treated only as the military arm of the Atlantic Community.

  3. This community needs some kind of institutional framework, a "new transatlantic agenda". It must produce in the area of security what was accomplished long ago in respect of economic well-being: a symmetric relationship between Western Europe and the United States. It is for that reason that the members of the European Union - or at least some of them - must integrate their foreign and security policies and thereby establish a basis for equality with the United States. This is not a matter of armaments or military expenditure alone; it is above all a matter of integrating national foreign-policy decision-making processes into a European foreign and security policy. Europe must speak with one voice.

  4. It must be recognised that in the contemporary world societal consensus is the indispensable pre-condition for the success of foreign policy. This lesson has been learned by the USA in Vietnam and Somalia, by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and by Russia in Chechnya. The West is learning it again in Afghanistan. Military intervention might be unavoidable in rare cases, but if it is not based on the consensus of the society concerned, it will fail. No proposal to the contrary should be accepted by the citizen and the taxpayer.

Towards a New Foreign-Policy Paradigm

The four normative orientations mentioned in this introductory outline complement each other. For the foreseeable future the United States will dominate world politics; however, I shall explain at some length that seeking agreement with Washington is not the same as submitting to the USA. As it develops as an integrated regional entity, the EU can influence foreign-policy decisions in Washington. Given their economic and political power, the Europeans are able to act on their own. If, for instance, the United States should withdraw from the Balkans (which is very improbable), Western Europeans could easily fill the gap.

After they have succeeded in integrating their policies in the issue area of security, the Europeans can do here what they have been doing in recent years in respect of economic well-being: checking, and balancing, the United States. The famous “Yankee practicality” will always lead Washington to make accommodation with the powerful: the final configuration of the Atlantic Community will resemble the dumbbell envisioned by J.F. Kennedy.

As a regional federation the European Union will not look like the United States. It will not be a nation-state writ large, but something different and new. Capable of defending itself, politically and economically strong enough to face any , this European Union will primarily look inward, not outward. It will not accumulate power, but distribute it. The political structure will be decentralised with many poles of power; only in particular areas of policy – for example, monetary, fiscal and defence – will the Union act in a centralised manner. Otherwise, the principle of subsidiarity will reign. This new kind of state will not try to dominate the world, but to augment the well-being of its citizens. One of its main contributions to the world order should be to encourage other emerging great powers to do the same, namely to fulfil the aspirations and demands of their society and not to privilege the particular interests of their ruling elites.

This is not an idealistic look into a utopian future, but the realistic consequence of the coming into existence of the “societal world” (Gesellschaftswelt).[1] As already mentioned, societal consensus is a prerequisite of any political success. The many civil wars in the world today demonstrate that a lack of societal consensus cannot be compensated by military might. The two most important functional tasks of the state are to provide security and well-being; fulfilling them should not lead to the “arrogance of power”, but to the realisation of democratic peace.

By developing itself into a new European regional federation – that is, into a new, post-modern type of – the European Union must (and will) develop a new type of foreign policy. It will rely on the progress made in 1945 with the Charter of the United Nations: after more than four centuries of constant intra-European war, the Western states decided to abandon the right of war and to transfer it to the Security Council. With the founding of the United Nations these states recognised that one important cause of war is the anarchy of the international system. The prime task of the United Nations has been to reduce this anarchy.

Since the end of the Cold War, the West has learned another lesson. The second great cause of war, and the more important one, is authoritarian–dictatorial regimes. In 1990, therefore, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe brought the spreading of democracy and of the market economy to the forefront of foreign-policy strategy.

The administration of George W. Bush tends to forget the lessons of 1945, 1975, and 1990. However, they remain the basis of any successful foreign policy. And new elements have to be added. Interdependence and democratisation, globalisation and the emancipation of societal actors have created the “societal world” (Gesellschaftswelt). Eminent persons already talk about “global domestic politics” (Weltinnenpolitik): even if only analogically, this expression is apt.

The most important task for the West is to avoid the renaissance of old concepts and old strategies. The process of restoration started in 1994 and the danger is that the impact of terrorism will accelerate this return to the past. _____________________________________________________________

The nation-state has lost its unconstrained sovereignty along with its power. If the state violates the fundamental rights of its citizens, other states are entitled, if not obliged, to intervene. Intervention in favour of democratisation and the market economy is the order of the day in a post-modern, interdependent world. But it must remain non-violent. If violence is unavoidable, it must be authorised by the United Nations or by a “regional arrangement” (which NATO is not). The old “humanitarian intervention” of the nineteenth century should not be revived; it served only as a vehicle for territorial expansion and power politics. The new kind of intervention will take the form of non-violent prevention.

These few and brief remarks merely outline the paradigm of the new foreign policy which the European Union should contribute to the Atlantic Community. Moving on now to describe what a successful strategy against international terrorism should look like, I shall present some details of the necessary new foreign-policy paradigma.

Addressing the Sources of Terrorism

The administration of George W. Bush and most Western European governments are deeply divided over the best strategy against terrorism. Bush pursues what I shall call “selective imperialism” (Selektive Weltherrschaft).[2] The European Union is unable to change the political goals of the Bush administration; only American society, and Congress, could do that. However, the European Union can influence the behaviour of the Bush administration. If Brussels declares unequivocally that the European Union will not pay for any further American wars, they will not occur. If Western European states reject the concept of “defensive intervention”, it will lose momentum.

Most importantly, the European Union should promote a comprehensive concept for the fight against terrorism. It is both urgent and necessary to catch and punish the terrorists responsible for 9/11; it is of paramount importance to prevent them from making new attacks.But this is not enough. As former CIA Director Robert M. Gates has remarked, you cannot fight terrorism, you can only shut off the sources nourishing it.

It is important to distinguish the causes and the sources of terrorism. Terrorism acts from the darkness; its perpetrators are unknown or dead. Nobody knows why the 19 terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, nor the reason why PanAm Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie. Anonymity is an important trait of terrorism.

Political terrorism, however, sends a message to people; and while they are not responsible for terrorist acts, in a way they do provide them with sustenance. If they respond affirmatively, terrorism is successful and goes on; if they fall silent, terrorism runs dry. To address its sources is the optimal strategy for fighting terrorism. Shortly after 9/11, it was clear to the West that there are three such sources in the modern world: the conflict in the Middle East, the predominance of Western power in the world, and the growing poverty stemming from the unequal distribution of the benefits of globalisation. Under the leadership of the administration of George W. Bush, however, the West soon neglected these insights and shifted its focus from fighting terrorism to conquering Afghanistan and preparing for the invasion of Iraq. The European Union should not support this change of agenda, but should re-order the priorities in favour of fighting terrorism. By doing so it will establish many characteristics of the new foreign-policy paradigm.

Promoting Peace between Israelis and Palestinians

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is certainly the deepest source of terrorism. The resolution of this conflict would reduce terrorism to a very low level. The EU is unable to impose a solution on its own; only the USA could do so; but Western Europe can keep the conflict very high on the international agenda – it could focus international attention and the attention of the Atlantic Community on this conflict. The Bush administration is trying very hard to shift the discussion towards the war against Iraq. All the Arab states and the Europeans take a different view; for them it is much more important to solve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians than to depose Saddam Hussein. The latter would serve only to increase terrorism, while solving the conflict in Israel would diminish it.

In the face of the world’s only superpower, the United States, the voice of individual European politicians will not be heard. If, however, all European governments were to speak in concert; if, above all, the European Union were to take an official policy stance on the issue, tremendous influence could be exercised in Washington.

The conflict in Israel is not only the most important source of terrorism, but also the most difficult to handle. Fifty years of bilateral mediation have failed. The efforts of individual European politicians – notably German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer – who have tried time and again to promote peace there, are honourable; but this kind of revolving door diplomacy has not succeeded for the last 50 years and will not succeed. Furthermore, it tends to strengthen the hawks on both sides because they are able to play one visitor against another.

In the modern world traditional bilateralism produces only suboptimal results. The only strategy which has had some success in promoting the peace process in the Middle East has been the multilateralism of the Madrid Conference of 1991. As a method of conflict resolution multilateralism has several advantages. It obliges the parties to lay out their positions and to justify them, both in front of one another and before the international community, present at the table. This distinctive environment produces a political climate which does not permit any tricks or manoeuvres. It forces the conflicting parties to look for real compromises and to stick to them. The peace process of the Madrid Conference survived several years and was not easily destroyed.

Therefore, a second international conference should be convened as soon as possible. Several politicians have made pertinent proposals which President Bush first accepted, but then quickly rejected. Again, if the European Union had acted as one, it would have had more impact in Washington. If the EU had decided to bring before the UN Security Council a resolution calling for such a conference, the Bush administration would have had to think twice before again rejecting it. But at the G-8 summit in Calgary, June 2002, the Europeans did not speak with one voice, and Germany spoke only very softly.

_____________________________________________________________ It is much more important to solve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians than to depose Saddam Hussein. The latter would serve only to increase terrorism, while solving the conflict in Israel would diminish it.

To bring enduring peace to the Middle East requires more effort. A solution must be found in respect of Iraq, which cannot be kept under international sanctions It has to be reintegrated into the community of states. UNSC Res. 687 (3 April 1991), interpreted the many obligations imposed on Iraq as “steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons”. The end of>Gulf War II thus was understood as the beginning of a regional order of disarmament and détente. This innovative proposal was never implemented. Instead, Iraq was singled out and kept under severe sanctions for more than 10 years. (By comparison, Germany, responsible for the Second World War and its 52 million casualties, had to wait only five years before being readmitted into the society of nations.) Of course, Iraq must be kept under control, but it should also have the certain prospect that the sanctions will be lifted. >Other relevant issues include the unfinished business of domestic reform in Iran and the latent conflict between this country and Iraq. There is also Syria and its unrelenting position towards Israel with regard to the Golan Heights. On the other hand, there is the military alliance between Turkey and Israel. Underlying this pattern of conflict is the considerable societal instability in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. No other region in the world is characterised by so much unrest and conflict. No other region of the world has assembled so many weapons. It is, in fact, the world’s most dangerous hotspot.

To constrain the various parties and to calm tensions nothing would be more pertinent than the establishment of a regional organisation in the Middle East. The former German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has proposed the establishment of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Middle East. The European Union should promote this proposal. As the history of the East–West conflict after 1975 demonstrates, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) has contributed substantially to détente between, and democratisation within, the competing states: both these developments are urgently needed in the Middle East. They would do much to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The European Union should speak out clearly and repeatedly in favour of these reforms. The terrorists of 9/11 have not revealed the goals of their attack. One can only guess. But since most of them were/are Arabs, and their attack took place at a time when the conflict in Israel had become much more violent, the connection seems evident. While the Oslo peace process continued, there was less Arab terrorist activity. It reached its unprecedented height only after the conflict in Israel took a turn for the worse.

The relationship between the Arab–Israeli conflict and the terrorist attack of 9/11 is contextual, not causal. But the only key to understanding terrorism is analysis of the contexts within which terrorist violence occurs.

If the most important context for 9/11 is the conflict in Israel, it is not the only one. The second is the dominance of the Western industrialised states. The economic expression of this is globalisation; its political name is intervention. Western Europe participates in this dominance and should be aware of it. The United States is the most dominant power, but the European Union and its member states follow closely behind. This dominance also has a cultural dimension, as Samuel P. Huntington has pointed out.[3] But the political dimension is crucial. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, all Arab states and their societie supported its expulsion. However, after the economic and political punishment of Iraq developed into its strangulation, Arab support waned rapidly. Western policies were increasingly understood as the renaissance of European colonialism in the region.

Since the United States has proved unable to do so, the European Union should shift course. Iraq must fulfil its obligations but should be compensated with a relaxation of the sanctions. War has to be avoided by all means. In Arab eyes such a war would prove beyond doubt that the USA and Western Europe were attempting a second colonisation of the world. This is not what Europe has in mind but this is how the West is currently perceived in Islamic eyes. Therefore, Europe should propose – and should persuade the United States to follow suit – that all states and their respective societies participate in regional and/or universal decision-making. The EU has concluded many bilateral agreements of association with the countries of the Near and the Middle East. But there is no multilateral dialogue in which societal actors participate.

The regime of EU cooperation with (and EU assistance to) a number of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (the ACP regime) should have made much more use of the parliamentary assembly, the most important body for European–African dialogue. With Asia, ASEM should be intensified. It is important to have contact with the societies concerned, because in the world today societies matter; their perceptions of Western behaviour are relevant for security in its modern, more comprehensive sense. It is important to let all states and societies play their proper part in discussing and deciding on the political and economic issues which concern them. It is obvious that Europeans and Americans differ substantially in their views of the world. But the Europeans also maintain a traditional, outmoded understanding of security. They should learn from political terrorism that societal attitudes and perceptions are of critical importance for the establishment of real and comprehensive security.

The development and spreading of this new paradigm of foreign and security policy would be the most important contribution of Western Europe to the global role of the Atlantic Community. It will be years before the European Union can function as a unified actor in world politics. For the development of a new and pertinent foreign and security policy it requires only the will. With their centuries of dreadful experience the Europeans should be the first to realise that in the world today a successful foreign policy depends on the consensus of the partners, governmental as well as societal. This includes the application of power. But it should permit, and promote, the participation of all. And it should apply military force only in the few cases where it is unavoidable and also authorised by the Security Council.

Towards a Participative World Order

Europe should take the lead in re-activating the United Nations. Beginning with the administration of Ronald Reagan and culminating in that of George W. Bush, the USA has abandoned the UN: blinded by its military supremacy, Washington thinks it can do without the international organisation. This is a fatal error. The Europeans should try very hard to bring the USA back on course. The General Assembly is the only political forum where every country of the world is represented. Its importance cannot be overestimated. In the General Assembly dialogue between states can take place. The West has the opportunity to learn what is being thought in the non-industrialised world and can make use of this knowledge when formulating its positions and political goals. In the 1970s several great debates took place in the General Assembly leading to resolutions on the New Economic Order, disarmament, and the environment. The outcome was non-binding. However, the extended discussion gave the impression to all participants that their voice was important and a part of an evolving global public opinion.

Nothing would have been more pertinent than an extended discussion in the General Assembly on the problem of terrorism. The West uses this term in a very indiscriminate way. Of the three forms of societal violence only one deserves the term ‘terrorism’, the one which employs violence for the sake of violence. Prototypes include the AUM group in Tokyo and Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. Palestinian violence against the Israeli occupation, including suicide bombing, does not count as terrorism but as political resistance. The assault of 9/11 falls between the two categories: although its political goals have not emerged it quite obviously had a political context, and so it should be called ‘political terrorism’.

These problems and distinctions are very complex and deserve a much more elaborate discussion. Terminology here is highly politicised. All the more reason to have raised the topic in the General Assembly and to have learned from the opinions presented whether there is a context of political terrorism, what it looks like and what should be done to disperse it.

_____________________________________________________________ If Brussels declares unequivocally that the European Union will not pay for any further American wars, they will not occur.

The General Assembly is still an intergovernmental conference. There are many proposals concerning how to involve societal representatives in it. To reform the General Assembly accordingly could avoid further violent demonstrations against summit conferences. Dissenting voices could have their forum in the General Assembly and might therefore refrain from physical manifestations.

A reformed General Assembly could also be the place where a dialogue of civilisations could take place. The West could learn whether its political dominance is being perceived also in terms of cultural alienation and what could be done to overcome such unwanted consequences.

Listening to what non-European politicians and societal actors have to say does not mean that one must accept their views. It is enough to take note of them, to learn from the non-industrialised world how the OECD countries and their politics of economic and political globalisation are perceived by the recipients. The main mistake of the West has been to neglect those reactions, to confine the discussion on globalisation to their domestic consequences. 9/11 shows that the external consequences are at least equally important.Europeans should not close, but rather open their eyes and ears and think about the world within which they live and act. It is different from the world of the nineteenth century. Two former German presidents, Herzog and von Weizsäcker, already talk about “global domestic politics”. This is certainly an overstatement, but it points in the right direction. Rapidly increasing interdependence has connected states and societies with each other to an unprecedented degree. This new world warrants new strategies. A consciousness of communality demands recognition that all actions have consequences which must not be neglected but integrated into the conceptualisation of foreign policy.

Participation must be institutionalised also at the regional level. The European Union is the leading example of such progress. At a lower level of integration the OSCE was founded for the same purpose. Unfortunately, it has been neglected since its establishment; its revitalisation would constitute an important contribution to European security. As already mentioned, a similar organisation in the Middle East might do wonders. All regions of the world should have regional institutions. Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations foresaw such a development, but tried to keep it under the supervision of the Security Council. In 1945 this reflected the interests of the great powers in controlling the world. Now it is the USA which resists the promotion of regionalism and prefers bilateralism, which benefits the powerful. The interests of security and well-being, however, would be better served if neighbouring states cooperated in regional organisations to solve regional problems. Subsidiarity works well also in international politics.

All regions of the world should have regional institution.

There exist about 15 regional organisations for the promotion of economic well-being; in the area of security, there are only a few. The Organization of American States (OAS) is too much dominated by the United States. The newly formed Organization of African Unity (OAU) is still too young to be successful. More promising is the Asian Regional Forum (ARF), set up by the ASEAN states.Since, given its preference for bilateral relations, the United States will not promote the founding of more regional organisations, the European Union should step in: because the CSCE has been so successful in facilitating the participation of governmental and non-governmental actors, the Europeans should spread this concept worldwide and support its realisation. Regional organisations are most fit to regulate, and to solve, conflicts between their members. They protect their region from unwanted, dominant influences, thereby eliminating one cause of grievances and possible terrorist acts. They are, however, open to cooperative participation from other parts of the world.

It is not necessary to reformulate the wording of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The existing text would permit the blossoming of regional organisations. What is lacking is the political will, regionally as well as globally. Cooperation in international organisations overcomes the limitations of national sovereignty, thereby benefiting the interests of citizens. Recently, the German Foreign Office changed its approach to the world from a continental to a regional orientation. This is very appropriate. The dominance of the term “globalisation” notwithstanding, the world of today is a regionalised one. The states of a given region, and its societies, should take priority in the handling of their own problems. This would be the best guarantee against Western dominance without damaging the genuine interests of industrialised states and their societies.


Intervening on Behalf of Democracy

As an important feature of the organisation of the modern world, participation must be realised not only between states, but also – and more importantly – within states. The “Third Wave of Democratisation” (Huntington) is sweeping through the world. There are few, if any, societies which do not desire to participate in the decision-making of their governments. The negation of such strong desires leads to civil war. The former Yugoslavia is an eminent case in point.

President Jimmy Carter tried to fortify this wave and to ride it. During his first two years in office, President Clinton correctly pursued the politics of the “enlargement” of democracy and the market economy. The “Charter of Paris for a New Europe” of 1990 had reflected this important foreign-policy concept. Since 1994, however, the effort has lost ground in favour of the renewed eminence of the old defence strategies. Only the European Union has gone on working for democratisation, making it a precondition for association. The recent reforms in Turkey represent a striking example of the success of such an audacious policy of democratisation. But even the EU could do better.[4]

_____________________________________________________________ Non-military intervention in favour of democratisation must be made the most important strategy. The law of non-intervention should be turned into an obligation to intervene.

Western Europe should not only continue this policy of structural change, but it should apply it also outside Europe. The world will never attain an enduring international order if the domestic order of states is authoritarian or dictatorial. The United States, and President George W. Bush, correctly demand a new government in Iraq. But democratisation cannot be enforced from the outside. The present government in Washington underestimates the problem. It obviously has forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and Somalia. The present events in Afghanistan tell the same story. It is a contradiction in re to enforce the democratisation of a country with military power.

In any case, Iraq is by no means the only candidate. Many Western allies throughout the world merit strong encouragement towards democratisation, notably in the Middle East. Pakistan under Musharraf only recently took a more decisive turn towards dictatorship. As in the Cold War for many decades, the fight against terrorism is leading Western thinking to overestimate the importance of the foreign-policy orientation of governments and to neglect the character of their domestic behaviour. This was wrong then, and it is dysfunctional today. Terrorism thrives on political suppression. Democratisation is the best antidote.

To put it differently: “humanitarian intervention” is absolutely necessary – but it must be non-violent. In the old, traditional thinking, intervening in the domestic affairs of a foreign state was – and remains – forbidden. This “law of non-intervention” curiously does not apply to military intervention. War, the strongest kind of intervention, has returned to our world after having been absent for almost forty years. What is even more curious: Western powers reject any non-violent intervention as illegal.

To bring order into our modern world, this kind of Western thinking has to be completely reversed. Non-military intervention in favour of democratisation must be made the most important strategy. The law of non-intervention should be turned into an obligation to intervene. Political science has revealed that many – and effective – strategies are available; what is lacking is the political will on the part of governments to use them.

A comparison of the costs of the air war against Serbia with the money invested in the reconstruction and democratisation of that country and of Kosovo is telling. Billions of dollars were spent on the war; only a few million have been invested in democratisation. Even the European Union is putting much more money into its nascent military capabilities than into the Stability Pact for the Southern Balkans.

Strategies of democratisation demand a policy of prevention. In 1992, the Security Council of the United Nations pronounced prevention as the most important forward step. The then Secretary General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, issued two important proposals for preventive strategies. However, nothing has happened. Those proposals should be dug out, enriched with the relevant political-science knowledge, and put at the centre of modern foreign-policy making. Without this reform we shall miss the opportunity to establish a new and lasting world order and return to the pre-1945 world characterised by authoritarian governments and the frequent use of military power.

It is alarming that the present administration in Washington is steering exactly this course. In his graduate address at West Point on 1 June 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed his readiness for “pre-emptive action” and for the use of military power where needed. He is bent on invading Iraq and afterwards perhaps Iran which he has also included in the “axis of evil”.

It is understandable that the trauma of 9/11 obliges the administration of George W. Bush to punish the terrorists and to destroy their bases. The European allies should, however, keep the Bush administration from falling prey to old illusions of the kind which tend to accompany military supremacy. What Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld has called “defensive intervention” is nothing other than old-style and familiar “preventive war”. Pretexts can easily be found for its use. Pre-emptive war, however, has only ever made things worse than before. This temptation should be replaced by a cool and rational analysis of the causes and sources of terrorism and the possibility of eliminating them by pertinent political action.

Bridging the North–South Gap

The third, but not the least important, source of terrorism is the unequal distribution of wealth in the world. It poses the greatest challenge to global policy-making. As a rule, the poor suffer silently. There is, on the other hand, no denying that in a world of well-being and wealth terrorism would occur only rarely. The history of the Red Army Faction in Germany teaches a pertinent lesson. The terrorists found no response whatsoever in German society and had to give up.

The world of today is not yet a world state, but it does show a high degree of interdependence. Global poverty matters globally. Many politicians argue correctly that “worsening poverty throughout the world can only create conditions of desperation that may lead to more terrorism”.[5] In Germany, Minister for Economic Cooperation Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, since long before 9/11, has argued in favour of sustainable development as the basis for a lasting world order.[6]

To put it bluntly, helping the non-industrialised world to develop quickly has become an important aspect of modern security policy. Eight hundred million people are undernourished. The West intends to cut this number in half by 2015, but it will not achieve its aim. To reach it, it will not suffice to raise foreign aid by 12 billion US dollars every year, which the USA and the European Union have promised to do by 2006: they must open their markets to developing countries, as they were told at the conference on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, August 2002.

The industrialised countries cannot live as an island of well-being and wealth while the rest of the world does not even have the prospect of such development. The persistence of a large part of the world in deep poverty creates a source of violence and despair, as President of the UN General Assembly Han Seung Soo has remarked.

Western policies do not reflect this relationship, as the Conference “Financing for Development”, March 2002, documented. The G-8 summit in Canada, June 2002, managed to raise only 6 billion US dollars for the whole continent of Africa. After thirty years of European cooperation with the states of Southern Africa, the latter are worse off than before. The so-called “Barcelona Process” has lost momentum.

With regard to the third source of terrorism, global poverty, the Europeans have to do a lot by themselves. The nascent political union which is being prepared by the Convention on the Future of Europe should recognise the close relationship between structures and policies. As a regional state, the European Union should develop new institutions which are open to the new realities of our world.[7] They need a contemporary concept of power which must include military power, but also emphasises the economic, political, and societal sources of power; these sources must be accumulated, but not centralised. Power should be distributed so that subunits can benefit from it.The most important task for the West is to avoid the renaissance of old concepts and old strategies. The process of restoration started in 1994 and the danger is that the impact of terrorism will accelerate this return to the past.


The Task of Europe: The Power of Good Example

Summing up, I argue that the USA and the EU should not compete for, but cooperate in leadership. The precondition is that the EU implements its political union and speaks with one voice in the area of security.

The best and cheapest way of intervening is to make the EU a shining example of a civilised society and to advertise.

What the Atlantic Community needs is not more military power but modernised foreign-policy concepts. As long as the present US administration remains in office, the USA will rely primarily, if not exclusively, on the military. The EU should avoid that mistake. Its military strength is sufficient, although it does require more division of labour and some modernisation. What is lacking is more sophistication in foreign policy. The EU could provide this. There are many practical lessons to be learned:

  1. To realise that the contemporary world is different from that of former centuries. Old strategies are only of limited value.
  2. To avoid the trap of realism. Vegetius was wrong: to prepare for war only produces war. What the world needs is the reduction of violence, and the EU should inaugurate and promote this process.
  3. The best strategy today is preventive political – not military – intervention. At present, the USA is doing the opposite by establishing the goal of toppling, violently, the dictator Saddam Hussein, but supporting, with a great deal of money, the dictator Pervez Musharraf.
  4. The EU should intervene non-violently, incessantly, and continuously in favour of the enlargement of democratisation and the market economy. Every interaction should contain elements, however small, of such intervention.
  5. The best and cheapest way of intervening is to make the EU a shining example of a civilised society and to advertise it. The “American way of life” has done much more for the world than American weaponry. Since the USA has been led backwards to old-style power politics, the EU should take over.

  6. The EU should take societal attitudes seriously. As Vietnam, Somalia and Afghanistan have shown, time and again, without the consensus of the society concerned, all policies, foreign as well as domestic, are doomed. The societal world of today cannot be governed by coalitions of governments only. Societal actors are important, not only in the area of economic well-being, but also, and above all, in that of security.

As the strongest and most modern regional state, the EU is capable of digesting the political experiences of the recent past and of drawing lessons from them. But it must try harder. The drive towards foreign-policy innovation should be stronger. Otherwise what former American Under-Secretary of State George W. Ball predicted in 1982 for the USA, quoting T.S. Eliot: “We had the experience but missed its meaning”, could apply also to the EU.[8]

[1]    I have dealt extensively with this development in my book Kluge Macht. Aussenpolitik für das 21. Jahrhundert[Intelligent power: foreign policy in the 21, Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999.

[2]    Ernst-Otto Czempiel, Weltpolitik im Umbruch. Die Pax Americana, der Terrorismus und die Zukunft der internationalen Beziehungen [Radical change in world politics: Pax Americana, terrorism, and the future of international relations], Munich: C.H. Beck, 2002.

[3]    Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

[4]    See Carlos Santiso, ‘Promoting democracy by conditioning aid? Towards more effective EU development assistance’, in International Policy and Society 3 (2002), pp. 107–34.

[5]    Lawrence Korb, Arnold Kohen and Peter Prove, ‘Arms spending instead of basic aid’, in International Herald Tribune (22 August 2002).

[6]    See her article, ‘Der Umbau zu einer neuen Weltordnung. Globale Strukturpolitik, Entwicklungspolitik und ihre praktischen Beiträge’ [Rebuilding for a new world order. Global structural policy and development policy and their practical contributions], in International Politics and Society 3 (2001), pp. 227–34.

[7]    See Hanns W. Maull, ‘Containing entropy, rebuilding the state: challenges to international order in the age of globalization’, in International Politics and Society 2 (2002), pp. 9–29.

[8]    George W. Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern. Memoirs, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982.


Ernst-Otto Czempiel *1927;

Professor emeritus für auswärtige und internationale Politik, Universität Frankfurt; ehemaliger Direktor der Hessischen Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung;


© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | net edition malte.michel | 11/2002