Dahrendorf, Ralf
October 1977
Foreign Affairs;Oct77, Vol. 56 Issue 1, p72
This article looks at the nature of the power held by Europe. Power may be a relatively clear concept, describing the capacity to assert interest effectively, or more simply, to make others do what one wants them to do; but the reality of power is much less clear. In the same manner, Europe or what is Europe is unclear. The ambiguities of Europe and the European Community has led the U.S. and others to generate two false conclusions: it is the Community that must be regarded as a natural partner rather than its individual partners and there is no identifiable identity called Europe as the nine members of the European community disagree often. As much as this is true, the fact remains that, more often than not, as Europeans they find themselves in the same boat and guided by the same attitudes, whether such community has been organized or not. This then is the position of Europe as a world power--now you see it, now you do not, but it exists. At times its existence becomes manifest through the institutions of the European Community, at other times through other institutions; but more often its reality is latent, informing the attitudes and actions of governments as well as the general climate in which governments act. And despite the obvious weakness of European institutions, this Europe has become more rather than less real in recent years.


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