The European Union is going through a severe thunderstorm, with many on both sides of the Atlantic predicting an eventual demise to the European project. Amidst this turbulent background, it may seem strange that one would even bother to analyze the European Union's "power". Yet, I can't think of a more appropriate time to explore the foundations of the European project and the trajectory that the future holds for the Union. All Unions face an uphill battle and by beating the odds, they come out stronger and more united. The United States is a product of a calamitous war that threatened to tear the union apart, yet strong leadership by one of the most charismatic men in history not only saved the union but helped sow the seeds for a more united America that would be the beacon of capitalism and democracy around the world. Europe certainly faces a similar moment, though in the twenty first century, economic stagnation and turmoil have replaced the threats of traditional battalion warfare.
Here, I believe the European Union will prevail and henceforth look back into history at a time when the continent united to save the Union. This paper explores why the European Union is a global power, how it has transformed traditional norms of power and its embrace of a "smart" strategy to fight twenty-first century threats.
Amal Varghese is a Columnist with ACCESS at the Australian Institute of International Affairs and has just completed an internship at the William J. Clinton Foundation. He has previously contributed articles to the ABC Drum, the AIIA and the World Policy Institute Blog. He is also the Victorian Representative for the Australia-India Youth Dialogue.