In This Review

Terms of Engagement
Terms of Engagement
By Michael J. Brenner
Praeger, 1998, 144 pp
Explaining Euro-Paralysis: Why Europe Is Unable to Act in International Politics
Explaining Euro-Paralysis: Why Europe Is Unable to Act in International Politics
By Jan Zielonka
St. Martin's, 1998, 272 pp
Paradoxes of European Foreign Policy
Paradoxes of European Foreign Policy
Edited by Jan Zielonka
Kluwer Law International, 1998, 192 pp

After the optimists come the therapists. These new books address the gap between the EU's economic power and its diplomatic impotence. One alternative therapy is offered by Brenner, who examines the perennially touchy U.S.-European security relationship and points out that Washington has always been reluctant to allow a common EU position, within or outside of NATO, before consultation with the United States. Meanwhile, the Europeans remain divided over how far to go. To get beyond this impasse, the new "terms of engagement" that Brenner seeks would entail in the short term regular dialogue, coordinated diplomatic action, and reliance on NATO when military action is needed. At the same time, for the long run the Europeans must create a military force allowing them to act without waiting for America. Alas, these prudent and sensible proposals are not likely to satisfy those Europeans who want to go beyond "Atlanticism."

It might, however, satisfy Zielonka, who aims at rehabilitating the idea of the EU as a "civilian power." In both of his volumes, he pleads for institutional reforms that would permit a genuine European foreign policy while leaving security matters to NATO. He explores the domestic and institutional causes of collective impotence and suggests "decentralizing" and "socializing" foreign policies that would reduce the EU to a "forum for expressing grassroots initiatives" and treat international affairs as "social work," not power politics. This view may reflect opinion in the smaller EU states, but certainly not the major ones. And Zielonka underestimates the continuing importance of strategic questions in world politics. In the edited volume, however, he receives some support for his views from France's Jean-Marie Guehenno and the overheated Atlanticism of Charles Kupchan.