Thursday, September 24, 2009

Solana: the shift

"It was a challenging day for Javier Solana to take the stage at an American university. The European Commission's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy addressed a packed Yenching Auditorium just hours after President Barack Obama '91 announced that the United States was cancelling its plans for missile interceptors to be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move that alienated many in an East Central Europe that was already skeptical of the new American president. In light of these complications, Solana could have avoided or deferred the issue: but he had his talking points prepared before many in the room had even heard about the shift: he welcomed it.

However much that sentiment may have rattled governments in Warsaw or Prague, who are fearful the American policy reversal has cost them both face and security, the E.U. foreign policy chief displayed no hesitancy. As Kennedy School of Government professor Stephen Walt put it after hearing Solana's address, "it is clear that Europe at least has a foreign policy agenda".

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Viewed in this light, Solana's address shed important light on Europe's evolving foreign policy. He began by warning that other powers could not be isolated, and the world dominated, by a U.S.-E.U. "G2": the West "can no longer," he intoned, "run the world as we used to". Moreover, he observed that a globalized world required effective governance..."MORE:

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