Europe: The quiet superpower

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This article challenges the conventional view that Europe's global influence is declining. Since 1989 realists have predicted Europe's demise, as well as greater intra-European and transatlantic conflict. The reverse has occurred. This outcome suggests the superior predictive power of liberal international relations theory, which stresses the importance of the varied national interests of states, reflecting specific social coalitions, patterns of global interdependence and domestic institutions. According to a liberal analysis, Europe is and will foreseeably remain the only superpower besides the United States in a bipolar world - and its relative power is rising. Europe is the world's pre-eminent civilian power, and its second military power, far more influential than China or India. None of this is likely to change much, because Europe's influence rests on stable factors such as high per capita income, long-term institutional advantages and convergence of underlying national interests between European countries and other great powers, notably the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-422
Number of pages20
JournalFrench Politics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • European Union (EU)
  • European foreign and defense policy
  • Interdependence
  • Interest
  • Liberal international relations theory
  • Transatlantic relations


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