Reflections on America as a World Power: A European View

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VOL. 29

1999/2000

No. 3
P. 5
Articles
Reflections on America as a World Power: A European View
ABSTRACT

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, restraints on U.S. power have been greatly diminished, allowing free rein for the unilateralism the author sees as rooted in the U.S. perception of its moral authority and the legacy of Manifest Destiny. Using examples from the Middle East, the author highlights differences in approach between the Europeans and the Americans -- the European preference for dialogue with adversaries versus the U.S. tendency toward punishment and sanction. More generally, this essay argues, the difference is between Europe's increased multilateralism and acceptance of the constraints of international law, and America's turning away from international institutions and growing disdain for legality. Such a development can only have adverse consequences for long-term security.

Pascal Boniface is executive director of IRIS (the Institute of International and Strategic Relations), one of France's leading think tanks. He is also professor of international relations at the Institut d'Études Politiques in Lille and Paris and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Atlas des Guerres, Géopolitique du Football, Repenser la Dissuasion Nucléaire, and, in English, The Will to Powerlessness (Toronto: Queens University Press, 1999).