Robert Kagan in his article, “ Power and Weakness” published in 2002 makes a claim that “ Americans are originally from Mars while Europeans are originally from Venus”. Mars, in this particular case signifies the god of war while Venus signifies the goddess of love. Kagan claims that over the years, Americans have continued to exist in an environment where the use of force is considered to be supreme while Europeans exist in a world governed by law amongst other procedural doctrines.
Kagan’s claims are quite accurate. In the modern world political setting, it is quite clear that there is a conflict of interests and views between the world superpowers, that is the US and the European Union. Japan which is also another major world player seems to side with the European Union on most political matters. The issue of national sovereignty is particularly of minimal concerns to the EU and Japan. When it comes to solving international conflicts, a division between the EU and the US is very evident. The EU as well as Japan generally prefers to solve international conflicts using diplomacy while the US appears to prefer the use of force and military power to solve such conflicts.
The power of the US and the relative weakness of the EU frame the manner in which the two institutions approach international politics. First of all, the United States being the world’s superpower is inclined to assert this power in the quest of its aims and objectives. It military is the mightiest in the world and its annual defense budget exceeds any other in the world. Essentially, the United States views the world as a violent and anarchic place where the only way to deal with arising problems is by showing who the boss, that is by using is military power if needs be. Therefore the United States cannot be blamed for trying to use its strongest asset in pursuance of its national and international objectives.
The European Union and Japan on the other hand do not possess the super power of the United States and therefore tend to orientate towards rule based and multilateral international agreements reached through diplomacy. The EU is constantly in support of a world where standard policies and the rule of law decide how matters are tackled rather than using sheer brutal force. This supposed weakness of the EU could also be the reason why it tends to concentrate less on national sovereignty. After years of wars that have consistently ravished the European continent, member states of the EU have realized that they have a higher chance of economically progressing and averting war if they emphasize less on national sovereignty and form a union capable of looking after their general interests. In spite of the fact that a little bit of the national sovereignty of member’s states is given away when countries sign up to join the EU or pass a treaty under it, countries are willing to pool their sovereignties amongst other resources because they have realized the enormous number of practical benefits that come with it. Some of these practical benefits include a united resistance to foreign threats, promotion of peace and security, common human rights defense and free trade and investment between member states.
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Ucnik, Lubica. Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus: An Answer to Robert Kagan [online]. Arena Journal, No. 21, 2003 – 2004: 127-150