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A new geography of European power? Egmont Paper 42, January 2011

Rogers., James (2011) A new geography of European power? Egmont Paper 42, January 2011. [Policy Paper]

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    The aim of this paper is to offer an analysis of the geography of European power in the early twenty-first century. It will begin by looking at the sub-components of grand strategy: geopolitics, geostrategy and forward presence. This will be followed by an analysis of the European Union’s geopolitical situation, something that is frequently overlooked in contemporary European politics. The improvement and further integration of the European homeland will bolster the European Union as a base of power, which itself could then be exploited á la Mahan to diffuse awe into foreign governments and make them more respectful of European preferences. Most importantly of all, though, the paper will show why and how the European Union should focus less on disjointed ‘crisis management’ operations and more on the quiet and covert expansion of its political and economic power into geographic locations of particular significance (see Figure 1). The paper will identify these locations as the proximal belt of surrounding countries, buttressed by overseas maritime zones that are of specific importance to the European economy. Acquiring influence in such regions will necessitate the final completion of the ‘comprehensive approach’ through the creation of a European ‘forward presence’: firstly, to deter foreign powers from meddling in countries in the wider European Neighbourhood and secondly, to dissuade obstinacy and misbehaviour on the part of local rulers.4 In other words, a truly omprehensive European grand strategy should be inculcated with a grand design: the constitution of an extended ‘Grand Area’, a zone where European power would be progressively institutionalized by the dislocation of existing divisions and their reintegration into a new liberal order. By reducing the likelihood of having to use military force reactively, it would better connect with the conception of preventative engagement as outlined in the European Security Strategy (European Council, 2003: p. 11). And by filling political vacuums with the gradual expansion of European power, conflicts could actually be prevented from breaking out before they start or spiral out of control – and thus stifling the potential for dangerous ‘vacuum wars’.5

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    EU policies and themes > External relations > conflict resolution/crisis management
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Egmont : Royal Institute for International Affairs > Egmont Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2011 22:11
    Number of Pages: 35
    Last Modified: 17 Feb 2011 22:11

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