Buck, Karl. (2004) Strategic Hemispheric Objectives for the Next Decade, Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series, Vol. 4 No. 10, October 2004. [Working Paper]
The Unitd States is the only military superpower in the world today, due to its huge budget for defence spending, 750 bases in the world, and its technological advantage. The United States has enormous power and influence, but not unlimited: military power is indispensable in certain situations, but does not solve political or social problems. The United States is also very strong economically, but not nearly so dominant. The European Union has a similar GDP, is an equal trading power. Also, East Asia holds 70% of foreign currency reserves. In addition, the United States has ballooning deficits. In his afterword to "American power and the crisis of legitimacy", R. Kagan comes to the conclusion that: "Europe is too weak to be an essential ally, and it is too secure to be a potential victim". There is much truth in this quote, just like in the following one, again from Kagan: "Europe matters because Europe and the United States remain the heart of the liberal, democratic world. The liberal, democratic essence of the United States makes it difficult, if not impossible for the Americans to ignore the fears, concerns, interests and demands of its fellow liberal democracies." The European Union may not be a global power, but it is a global player, a power in the world. True, the European Union continues to punch below its weight in the United Nations and the international financial institutions. The European Union provides 37% of the UN's regular budget and around 50% of all UN Member States' contributions to UN funds, programs and agencies. Its impact is not commensurate with this level of contribution.
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