Yet amid all the hyperbole and hysteria, a basic point gets missed. Europe today is a genuine superpower and will likely remain one for decades to come. By most objective measures, it either rivals or surpasses the United States and China in its ability to project a full spectrum of global military, economic, and soft power. Europe consistently deploys military troops within and beyond its immediate neighborhood. It manipulates economic power with a skill and success unmatched by any other country or region. And its ability to employ “soft power” to persuade other countries to change their behavior is unique.
If a superpower is a political entity that can consistently project military, economic, and soft power transcontinentally with a reasonable chance of success, Europe surely qualifies. Its power, moreover, is likely to remain entrenched for at least another generation, regardless of the outcome of current European crises. In sum, Europe is the “invisible superpower” in contemporary world politics. Here’s why. [emphasis added]
Get a room. This is a full spectrum delusion.
I'd go through the piece to argue against it. But why bother? When has a European power projected significant military power in recent decades without the assistance of America's logistics machine? Even pounding on civil war-wracked Libya was embarrassingly reliant on America despite pretensions of showing that Europe could lead the show.
Seriously, on paper Europe has military power, but the numbers lie. And without military power, I don't believe any entity can rank high in actual--as opposed to potential--power.
This hope is nothing new. Even France's good--but small--operation in Mali inspired visions of Euro-power leading the West into the glorious future!
But in reality, Europeans are getting dangerously close because of their refusal to spend on defense to being suitable only as tribal auxiliaries for America.
The author is well educated and deploys many (many) charts, but the claim that Europe is an "invisible" power should lead the author to question whether he is astutely perceiving what others don't see or is just delusional (back to the original FP article):
Sixty years ago, when European leaders met to sign the Treaty of Rome, one of their shared goals was to strengthen Europe’s global position. They have succeeded and, looking forward, there is little reason to doubt they will continue to do so.
Yeah, I'm going with the latter. Remember, the author concludes by saying Europe will continue to succeed but started out saying that Europe still had some good decades left in it. Pick one.
Oh, and here's a fellow comedian arguing that when Britain leaves the European Union--superpower that it is!--that Argentina will have an opening to get the Falklands back!
All that stands between Britain and Argentina's wrath are the EU legions?? (Or is it the soft power?)
Stop! Please! You're killing me!! I think I'm going to burst my spleen!!!
As I wrote in this post on some questionable power projection measurements that ranked Europe high in the future:
I suspect that the EU is just primed to be the most healthy, educated, and well-governed non-factor in global power consideration the world has ever seen.
Europe has economic, scientific, and demographic power but lacks the military power to be more than a potential superpower that for now is more likely to be fought over as an objective than a force to fight--or stop--others.
UPDATE: This is related. This video headline says that American and European Union special forces are training African militaries. No, that is not is what happening. American and European forces are training African troops. The EU is doing nothing.
Yes, the European states are part of the EU, but you could by that logic say that NATO, United Nations, or even UNESCO troops are doing the training.
But if you want a myth of a rising EU power, such little things push the image. To be fair, it is just the headline that makes this error and not the text or video. But how many just see the headline and move on?