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Embracing Europe’s Power

Europeans must deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it to be. And that means relearning the language of power and combining the European Union's resources in a way that maximizes their geopolitical impact. 

BRUSSELS – The geopolitical upheavals we are witnessing today underline the urgency with which the European Union must find its way in a world increasingly characterized by raw power politics. We Europeans must adjust our mental maps to deal with the world as it is, not as we hoped it would be.

This is a world of geostrategic competition, in which some leaders have no scruples about using force, and economic and other instruments are weaponized. To avoid being the losers in today’s US-China competition, we must relearn the language of power and conceive of Europe as a top-tier geostrategic actor.

It may, at first, seem difficult to face this challenge. After all, the EU was established to abolish power politics. It built peace and the rule of law by separating hard power from economics, rule-making, and soft power. We assumed that multilateralism, openness, and reciprocity comprised the best model not only for our continent but also for the wider world.