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On normative power (Zhao Chen)

On normative power (Zhao Chen)

Author:Zhao Chen From:Site author Update:2017-08-21 13:43:59

The European Union on April 4 decided to set up a peacekeeping troupe of 600 to 1,500 people to provide assistance for humanitarian rescue in Libya at any time, upon the request of the United Nations Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance. It is the fourth peacekeeping army the EU established in ten years under the framework of common diplomatic and security policy, with a quick response.   When the US and Europe were in tensions during the Iraq wars, the American scholar Rober Kagan was dissatisfied with the European countries such as Germany and France for their uncooperativeness, saying that these old European countries always attempted to wheel while sitting next to the driver. Since the multinational military force intervened Libya, the US has given way to Europe, who felt wheeling the vehicle.

Because Europe believes it owns the comparative advantages, it is very active in international affairs. President of the European Commission Barroso mentioned for many times in recent years that the Europe’s comparative advantage lies in its normative power or value power. According to Ian Manners and some other scholars, the normative power refers to the capability of defining what is the normal behaviour in world politics, ie. defining the international norm and the moral standards of international behaviour. Europe’s economy is in the post-industrial period. Even though its economic development does not grow rapidly, it has the balanced increase, and moreover, it has an established welfare system and strong environmental protection value. All these serve as the basis of Barroso’s argument of normative power.

After the World War II, Europe has been pioneering in founding peace community starting from the reconciliation between France and Germany. Europe set up a set of procedures and mechanisms to tackle the ideological conflicts, social conflicts and political conflicts. According to German philosopher Habermas, Europeans have learnt how to address the conflicts between religious power and secular power, conflicts between belief and knowledge, the parochial religious conflicts, and the vendetta among nation states during their painful and treacherous history. Europe hopes to promote their concepts and architectures to the world to affect other countries and populations.

Any mode has its own forming and development soil and process. It can be hardly found a universally applicable mode without taking the historical, cultural, economic and social background into consideration. One type of mode is effective in one area, but may not be applicable in elsewhere. Even if we put aside the motives of normative power, we should take serious note of the world’s complexity.

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