Abstract of the book Of Paradise and Power
International Institutions and Organizations
Professor Alfonso Aragón
September 4th 2009
OF PARADISE AND POWER
By Robert Kagan
In the book Of Paradise and Power it is possible to see that since the middle of the XX century Europeans and Americans do not share the same world view nor are part of thesame world. This happened because according their own history both countries have developed their own way to think about power and its main postulations like efficiency, morality and desirability. Therefore, Europe believes in power in terms of economy and inside a framework of law and cooperation, because it has entered in a post historical paradise of peace and virtual prosperity where theKantian ideal of perpetual peace does really exists. Meanwhile the United States still understanding power in terms of the anarchic Hobbesian world, where international laws and rules are flawed; thus, security only can be achieved through the military power and the spread of the liberal ideal.
Moreover, the dissimilarities among both countries are not only in terms of power but also in terms ofculture, physiology and foreign policy. As a result, US continue looking at world under the idea of evil and good; as well as, through the death and results culture, meanwhile in Europe people think about world in a most complex way and also through the culture that emphasizes the process over the results.
It is for the last that many theorists nowadays said that Americans are from mars andEuropeans from Venus. Therefore, today both countries agree on little and understand each other less and at it can be predicted this state between them is not going to be transitory.
Besides, some historians said wrongly that the US founding fathers were utopians, however that is not truth because even when they used to act under the ideas of aversion to war and military power and the appealto international law and states regulation during a part of the XVIII and XX centuries and all the XIX one, it was not because they where utopians, but because they were not so powerful as the biggest European empires, so they must look for their strengths that were the economic ones in order to be able to constrain France and Great Britain. Nevertheless, to many time later the Europeans are theones that do not have the greatest power in world, so they are appealing and avoiding the same things that US allured and evaded when they were not the powerful ones.
For all the previous reasons, the next work is going to present the most important explanations and justifications of each country according the situation that both are living, that clearly represents the persisting ideologicaland action separation in the foreign affairs.
The power Gap
The world wars have an important weight in the transformation of power in relation of United States and Europe. Before the world wars United States (US) had dependence with the European banks, but these wars transformed the situation and the most important thing is that it changed the way of life of Great Britain and France.
Afterthe 1st World War Europe made its first attempt to make the weakness a virtue and look away from the politic power, so they appealed to collective security and the creation of an international institution for world peace, The League of Nations. However, the US refused to participate in the Wilsonian institution.
As a result, the growing of Germany came up and the collective security idea wasreplaced by an appeasement policy based on weakness and fear that finally escorted to the Second World War that at last destroyed the European possibilities of maintains its global power, and transformed the United States “strategy of dependence” in something profitable that led it to the beginning of their strong hegemony over the world.
However, the US was not already the only hegemonic...