Entries with Categories Global Affairs World order, diplomacy and governance .

essay/ Marianna McMillan

I. Introduction

On 31 March 2016, the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, presented the new cultural diplomacy platform, which goal is to enhance visibility and understanding of the Union through intercultural dialogue. The fact that all influential actors are committed to this platform (from a top-down, bottom-up perspective), means that we need to reconsider three EU factors: (1) the context in which it operates; (2) the domestic constraints it has to address, and (3) the foreign policy it aspires to. However, the EU wants to give a single cultural image, with a single voice that is consistent with its policies; That is why, first and foremost, the EU must uphold its motto 'unity in diversity'. This motto signifies the integration of national cultures into other countries, without this integration endangering the different national identities of the member states. Consequently, in its status as an international actor and regional organisation, the EU is lacking in intercultural dialogue and negotiation between identities (European External Action Service, 2017). For this reason, it must strive both in one and in the other (intercultural dialogue and the negotiation between identities) to face threats to European security such as terrorism, cyber-insecurity, energy insecurity or identity ambiguity.

The goal The aim of this analysis is, on the one hand, to understand the importance of culture as an instrument of soft power, and on the other hand, to reflect on the influence of culture as the theoretical foundation of the new European cultural platform.

II. Unity in diversity through the New Cultural Diplomacy Platform

If the European Union aspires to be a liberal order based on cooperation, then to what extent can the EU be globally influential? What is undeniable is that it lacks a single voice and a coherent common foreign policy.

The fact that the EU lacks a single voice is result of the course of integration throughout history, an integration that has been based more on diversity and not so much on equality. On the other hand, the assertion about the incoherence of the common foreign policy makes reference letter to all those cases in which, in the face of a coordination problem, what was agreed in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty takes precedence (Banús, 2015: 103-105 and Art. 6, TFEU): the competences may be of the member states, of the EU or they may be shared competences

As a result of the acceleration of globalisation, the increase in non-traditional security threats (international terrorism, energy vulnerability, irregular migratory flows, cyber threats or climate change) the idea of a common foreign policy between member states and the EU is challenged. Such threats demand not only a new paradigm of security, but also a new paradigm of coexistence. This paradigm shift would allow the EU to have a greater capacity to reduce radicalisation and to direct coexistence towards the needs of civil societies (see European Commission, 2016). By way of illustration of the new paradigm, we can name the promotion of narratives of a shared cultural heritage that financial aid to the regional integration process. However, at the same time that initiatives such as the above are implemented, scepticism towards immigrants is growing and narratives contrary to the EU narrative projected by the EU are being promoted. These institutional and structural constraints – diversity and shared competences – reflect the dynamics of the cultural landscape and their unintended consequences within the EU. They also give a glimpse of the project European identity as a process of integration (unity in diversity) and European identity as a single voice. Therefore, the EU, as an international actor and regional organisation, based on unity in diversity, has a need to establish an intercultural dialogue and a negotiation of shared identities from within its organisation (EEAS, 2017). This would serve not only to establish favourable conditions for Brussels' policies, but also as an instrument or means for the EU to counter non-traditional and external threats, such as terrorism, populist narratives, cyber threats, energy insecurity and identity ambiguity.

Regarding the difficulty in distinguishing internal constraints and external threats, Federica Mogherini established the New Cultural Diplomacy Platform (NPC) in 2016.

With the goal to clarify the terminology Previously used, 'cultural diplomacy' is understood as a 'balance of power' according to the approach realistic and as a "reflective balance" from a approach (Triandafyllidou & Szucs, 2017). On the one hand, the approach realist understands cultural diplomacy as a subject of dialogue that serves to advance and protect national interests abroad (e.g. joint European cultural events or bilateral programmes, such as film festivals, support for the strengthening of Tunisia's cultural sector, the creation of European cultural houses, the Culture and Creativity, Communication and Culture programme for the development in the Southern Mediterranean region, and the NPC).  On the other hand, the approach Conceptually, more reflectively, he understands cultural diplomacy as a policy in itself. The potential of cultural synergies is fostered for a development social and economic sustainability through individuals (e.g. cultural exchanges such as Erasmus Plus, the Instrument for Promoting and Developing Countries). development and Cooperation and its subprogrammes, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the ENI Cross Border Cooperation and the Civil Society Facility). The application of cultural diplomacy to the EU seeks to have global visibility and influence, and on the other hand, seeks to promote economic growth and social cohesion through civil societies (Trobbiani, 2017: 3-5).

Despite being funded by the Partnership Instrument (PI), which has as its goal to promote visibility and understanding of the EU, the NPC is a balance between the approach realistic and the approach (European Commission, 2016b). Consequently, it is a resilience strategy that responds to a new reality (resilience is understood in terms of inclusiveness, prosperity and security of society). In this reality, non-traditional security threats have emerged and in which there has been a change in the position of citizens, who have gone from being independent observers, to being active participants demanding a constructive dialogue involving all stakeholders: national governments, international organizations and civil societies (Higgot, 2017:6-8 and EU, 2016).

The 2016 Global Strategy seeks pluralism, coexistence and respect by "deepening the work In the Education, culture and youth" (EU, 2016). In other words, the platform invests in Structures creative organizations, such as think tanks, cultural institutes, or local artists, to preserve a cultural identity, advance economic prosperity, and enhance soft power.

By seeking global understanding and visibility, we see how the EU's interest in international cultural relations (ICR) and cultural diplomacy (CD) has grown. This, in turn, reflects the EU's internal need for a single voice and a common foreign policy. This effort demonstrates the fundamental role of culture in soft power, thus creating a connection between culture and external power. Perhaps the most appropriate question is: to what extent can Mogherini's NCP turn culture into a tool soft power? And are the strategies – ICR and NCP – a communication and a model effective coordination in the face of internal and external security threats, or will it inevitably undermine their narrative of unity in diversity?

III. Culture and Soft Power

The change in the concept of security requires a revisit of the concept of soft power. In this case, cultural diplomacy must be understood in terms of soft power, and soft power must be understood in terms of attractiveness and influence. Soft power, of agreement with Joseph Nye's notion of persuasion, it arises from "intangible resources of power": "such as culture, ideology and institutions" (Nye, 1992:150-170).

The EU as a product of cultural dialogues is a civil power, a normative power and a soft power. The EU's power of persuasion depends on its legitimacy and credibility in its institutions (EU, 2016a and Michalski, 2005:124-141). For this reason, the coherence between the identity that the EU wishes to show and the practices it will follow is fundamental for the projection of itself as a credible international actor. This coherence will be necessary if the EU is to meet its goal to "reinforce unity in diversity". Otherwise, their liberal values would be contradicted and populist prejudices against the EU would be solidified. Thus, domestic legitimacy and credibility as sources of soft power ultimately depend on the written request of the consistency between the EU's narrative identity and the democratic values reflected in its practices (EU, 2016).

Cultural diplomacy responds to incoherence by requiring reflection, on the one hand, and improving that identity, on the other. For example, optimising Europe's image through the European Neighbourhood Instrument communication programme and association (ENPI) help promote specific geopolitical interests, creating more durable conditions for cooperation with countries such as Algeria, Libya and Syria to the south; and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to the east. This is relevant in relation to what Nye coined as "co-optive power": "the ability of a country to manage a status so that other countries develop certain preferences or define their interests in the agreement with their own" (Nye, 1990:168). Soft power applied to culture can work indirectly or directly. It works indirectly when it is independent of government control (e.g., popular culture) and directly through cultural diplomacy (e.g., the NCP). Foreign policy actors can act as defenders of domestic culture, both consciously (e.g., politicians) and unconsciously (e.g., local artists). In doing so, they serve as agents for other countries or channels of soft power.

IV. Culture and foreign policy

Considering soft power as an emergence of culture, values, and national policies, we can say that culture is both a foundation and a foundation. resource of foreign policy (Liland, 1993:8). Foreign policy, in turn, operates within the framework of any society interacting at the international level. Therefore, there is a need for a European cultural context capable of influencing the world (such as the difference in the accession negotiations between Croatia and Turkey and the attractiveness of economic integration or the ability to adjust human rights policies). Culture, in turn, is a resource, as the exchange empowers the EU. This new capacity of the EU allows it to become acquainted with new attitudes, sentiments and popular images that are capable of influencing foreign policy, domestic policy and social life. (Liland, 1993:9-14 and Walt, 1998). Another noteworthy function of culture is the dissemination of information and its ability to obtain favorable opinions in the foreign nation (Liland, 1993:12-13).

Cultural diplomacy is therefore at the forefront of European foreign policy; On the other hand, this does not mean that the use of culture can replace traditional foreign policy objectives – geography, power, security, politics and economics – but that the use of culture serves to support and legitimize them. In other words, culture is not the main agent in the foreign policy process, but is the foundation that reinforces, contradicts, or explains its content – thus, Wilson's idealism in the 1920s can be linked to a domestic culture of "manifest destiny" (Liland, 1993 and Kim, 2011:6).

V. Conclusions

The purpose of this article has been to highlight the importance of culture in relation to soft power and foreign policy, as a theoretical foundation to understand the logic of the new EU Cultural Diplomacy platform. Identifying the role of culture as a fundamental part of social cohesion within the EU, we can conclude that culture has made the EU a global actor with more capacity for influence. Culture, likewise, has been identified as source and as an instrument of foreign policy. But the sources of soft power—culture, political values, and foreign policy—depend on three factors: (1) a favorable context; (2) credibility in values and internship, and (3) the perception of legitimacy and moral authority (see Nye, 2006). The EU must first legitimise itself as a coherent actor with moral authority, in order to be able to deal effectively with its existential crisis (European Union, 2016a:9 and Tuomioja, 2009).

To do so, the EU must overcome its institutional and structural limits by collectively confronting its non-traditional external external security threats. This requires a strategy of resistance in which the EU is not identified as a threat to national identity, but as a cultural, economic and legislative entity.

In this article various topics related to culture, soft power, the EU's foreign policy and its internal dynamics were discussed; However, the impact of a "uniform cultural system" and how foreign policy can influence a society's culture has not been analysed in depth. Culture is not an end in itself, nor are intercultural dialogues and the development of cultural diplomacy.

The Union should avoid the risk of evolving towards a dehumanising bureaucratic structure favouring a standard culture to counter its internal constraints and non-traditional external security threats. According to Vaclav Havel, the EU can avoid this phenomenon by supporting cultural institutions that work for plurality and freedom of culture. These institutions are critical to preserving each nation's national identity and traditions. In other words, culture must be subsidized to better adapt to its plurality and freedom, as is the case with national heritages, libraries, museums and public archives – or the witnesses of our past (Havel, 1992).

As a final touch and as a historical reflection, cultural diplomacy promotes shared narratives about cultural identities. To do otherwise would not only solidify populist rhetoric and domestic prejudice against the Union, but would also make cultural totalitarianism, or worse, cultural relativism, endemic. To aspire to a 'uniform culture system' through an agreed European narrative would be to negotiate pluralism and freedom and, consequently, to contradict firstly the nature of culture and, secondly, the liberal values on which the Union was founded.



Banus E. (2015). Culture and Foreign Policy, 103-118. 

Arndt, R. T. (2013). Culture or propaganda? Reflections on Half a Century of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy. Mexican Journal of Foreign Policy, 29-54.

Cull, N. J. (2013). Public Diplomacy: Theoretical Considerations. Mexican Journal of Foreign Policy, 55-92.

Cummings, Milton C. (2003) Cultural Diplomacy and the United States Government: A Survey, Washington, D.C. Center for Arts and Culture.

European Commission. (2016). A new strategy to put culture at the heart of EU international relations. Press re-read.

European Commission. (2016b). Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council.

European External Action Service. (2017). Culture – Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. Joint Communication.

European Union. (2016). From Shared Vision to Common Action: The EU's Global Strategic Vision.

European Union. (2016b). Towards an EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations. Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council.

European Union (2017) Adminstrative Arrangements developed by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in partnership with the European Commission Services and the European External Action Service, 16 May (https://

Havel, Vaclav (1992) "On Politics, Morality and Civility in a Time of Transition."Summer Meditations, Knopf.

Higgot, R. (2017). Enhancing the EU's International Cultural Relations: The Prospects and Limits: Cultural Diplomacy. Institute for European Studies.

Howard, Philip K. (2011). Vaclav Havel's Critique of the West. The Atlantic.

Kim, Hwajung. (2011) Cultural Diplomacy as the Means of Soft Power in an Information Age.

La Porte and Cross. (2016). The European Union and Image Resilience during Times of Crisis: The Role of Public Diplomacy. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 1-26.

Liland, Frode (1993). Culture and Foreign Policy: An Introduction to Approaches and Theory. Institutt for Forsvarstudier, 3-30.

Melissen, J. (2005). The New Public Diplomacy: Between Theory and Practice.

Melissen, J. (2005). The New Public Diplomacy: Between Theory and Practice. In The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (pp. 3-30). Basinggstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Michalski, Anna. (2005). The EU as a Soft Power: The Force of Persuasion. In J. Melissen, The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (pp. 124-141). New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nye, Joseph S. (2004). Soft power: The means to success in world politics. New York: Oublic Affairs.

Nye, Joseph S., (1992) Soft Power, Foreign Policy, Fall, X, pp. 150-170 1990.

Nye, Joseph. S. (2006) Think Again: Soft Power, Foreign Policy.

Richard Higgot and Virgina Proud. (2017). Populist Nationalism and Foreign Policy: Cultural Diplomacy and Resilience. Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

Rasmussen, S. B. (n.d.). Discourse Analysis of EU Public Diplomacy: Messages and Practices.

Triandafyllidou, Anna and Tamas Szucs. (2017). EU Cultural Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities. European University Institute.

Trobbiani, Riccardo. (2017). EU Cultural Diplomacy: time to define strategies, means and complementarity with Member States. Institute for European Studies.

Tuomioja, Erkki. (2009) The Role of Soft Power in EU Common Foreign Policy. International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy. Berlin.

Walt, Stephen M. (1998) International relations: One world, many theories. Foreign Policy. Washington; Spring, pp. 29-35.

Categories Global Affairs: European Union World order, diplomacy and governance Essays

essay / Celia Olivar Gil [English version].

The global context continues to pose new challenges to European collective action at subject of development, the most important of which is migration from the Southern Mediterranean and the difficulty of articulating a well-articulated joint reaction. Aware of the urgency of status, the European Union is trying to offer a new and ambitious response in the form of the New Consensus on development (hereafter 'Consensus') which also coincides with the review of the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations.

The Consensus is a 'framework of action' to promote the integration and coherence of cooperation to development of the European Union and its member states. This framework of action requires the adoption of those changes necessary for both EU and national legislation to comply with the diary 2030 of development Sustainable proposal by the United Nations and with the agreement of Paris on climate change.

The Consensus maintains the eradication of poverty as its main goal, goal , but includes a novel vision, proposing that poverty be addressed from a triple economic, social and environmental perspective. In addition to the eradication of poverty, the Consensus aims to achieve diary 2030, and to this end articulates its five pillars: population, planet, prosperity, peace and cooperation. To this articulation, the Consensus adds some novel and cross-cutting elements, which are: emphasis on youth (meeting the basic needs of young people such as employment); gender equality; good governance (achieving a rule of law that guarantees human rights, promoting the creation of transparent institutions, participatory decision-making and independent and impartial courts); mobilization and migration; sustainable energy and climate change; Investment and trade; innovative engagement with countries at development more advanced (building new partnerships with these countries to implement diary 2030 here); domestic resource mobilization and use (effective and efficient use of resources through the "raise more, spend better" initiative).



In order to achieve all the initiatives and objectives set out above, the application of the Consensus extends to both the policies of the European Union and those of all its member states. In addition, it emphasizes that the Consensus should also be applied in new, more tailored and more multilateral partnerships involving civil society and greater participation of partner countries. The means of implementation combine traditional financial aid with more innovative forms of financing for development, such as private sector investments and mobilizing additional domestic resources for development. In terms of follow-up, the new consensus will have a regular monitoring mechanism, including accountability through the European Parliament and national parliaments and reporting obligations.

Initial assessments of the new consensus agree that it is a good synthesis of the international concerns of development. However, it raises some criticisms regarding the effective capacity to address these concerns.

First of all, as the Overseas Development Institute points out, it is not a real strategic plan, but a set of unconnected priorities. development For it to be a real strategy, the roles of the Commission and the member states would need to be determined, the thematic, sectoral and geographic priorities defined (the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the diary 2030 are treated with equal importance), and new European institutions built or existing ones (such as the International Climate Fund) used to coordinate national funds more effectively. Likewise, the Consensus should determine the form and content of cooperation with income countries average, establishing horizontal, vertical and sectoral coordination. At the same time, this coordination would require the establishment of a division of tasks within the EU to achieve a better use of resources.

Secondly, and from agreement with James Mackie (head of the department learning and quality of the European Center for the development) it is difficult to perceive to whom it is addressed and what exactly it demands. The fact that geographic and sectoral priorities remain undetermined leaves the Degree commitment of member states uncertain and if there is commitment, it will be tactical rather than explicit.

The third criticism is related to its implementation. Although the consensus is ambitious in its objectives, it lacks an adequate institutional framework and an efficient mechanism to implement its new proposals. In addition, it gives the private sector a very important role, without providing it with transparency in cases of human rights abuses or environmental damage, as Marta Latek, researcher at EPRS (European Parliamentary Research Service) explained

In terms of its objectives there are many influential actors such as CARE (the international confederation of development) who agree that it focuses too much on migration control and does not prioritize the needs of the poor. This can be seen in the fact that both in the framework cooperation with other non-EU countries, as well as the external investment plan, it prioritizes the security and commercial interests of the EU before helping the population out of poverty.

A fifth criticism makes reference letter to the political dimension. The new Consensus should integrate a holistic as well as a sustainable security concept to connect the problems of stability and democracy with those of security in EU foreign affairs. A holistic concept of development means a vision of lasting sustainability, encompassing aspects such as the condition of sustainability, social justice or democracy. (Criticism according to Henökl, Thomas and Niels Keijzer of the German Development Institute).

Finally, as far as financing is concerned, the European Parliament continues to ask member states to donate 0.7% of their annual budget for cooperation to development. Given that very few of them are able to give this 0.7%, the consensus is on the importance of private sector participation via the European External Investment Plan.

In conclusion, this document reflects the needs of the current global context but requires a series of changes in order to be fully effective and a true strategy. These changes are necessary to prevent the Consensus from remaining only theoretical.



Questions and Answers: New European Consensus on development: 

The new European Consensus on development: EU and Member States sign a joint strategy to eradicate poverty:

The proposed new European Consensus on Development Has the European Commission got it right?

New European consensus on development Will it be fit for purpose?

Seven critical questions for review of 'European Consensus on Development '

The Future of the "European Consensus on Development"

European Union Development Policy: Collective Action in Times of Global Transformation and Domestic Crisis

Categories Global Affairs: European Union World order, diplomacy and governance Essays

The well-trodden step, decisive in the strategies of both countries to counter each other

A thermometer to measure the future pulse of forces between China and India will be the Strait of Malacca, a passage through the Strait of Malay core topic for the connection between the northern Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific region. India is responding to the further expansion of Chinese maritime interests, which force Beijing to pay close attention to Malacca, by advancing positions towards the western mouth of the strait.

▲Map of the Indo-Pacific [US DoD]

article / Alejandro Puigrefagut [English version]

Sea routes are the basis of trade and communication between more than 80% of the world's countries. This fact makes the natural geographical location of States of great strategic importance. A particularly important point for maritime traffic is the Strait of Malacca. core topic for the trade of the most populous region on the planet.

The Strait of Malacca, which links the South China Sea with the Burma Sea on its way to the Bay of Bengal, is the world's busiest commercial passage and is therefore a strategic location. This corridor , which surrounds the western coast of the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is used by approximately 60% of the world's maritime trade, exceeding one hundred and fifty ships per day, and is the main oil supply route for two of Asia's main consumers: the People's Republic of China and Japan. This geographical point is core topic for the entire Indo-Pacific region, ensuring the free movement of ships is strategic. That is why many states in the region, including China and the United States, see the need to protect this passage in order to be able to supply themselves, export their goods and not be blocked by the control of a third country over this area.

In relation to China, it is not easy to think that a blockade of its supply due to problems in the Strait of Malacca will happen. For this to happen, an armed conflict of extraordinary dimensions would have to be generated, propitiating this blockade by a subject that could control – and potentially interrupt – the passage to the other countries of the region. This potential risk, which today can only be generated by the U.S. Navy, forces China to be vigilant and have to develop sufficient military capabilities to protect what it considers its territories in the South China Sea and, by extension, the supply of vital resources that must necessarily pass through the Strait of Malacca.



The Asian giant's positions and presence in the South China Sea and in the areas adjacent to the Strait of Malacca have increased in recent years, with the aim of increasing its influence over the states of the region. Moreover, in order to defend its supplies of oil and natural gas (from the Persian Gulf), China has extended its presence to the Indian Ocean, although this is not enough. The reality is that in this area there is a large skill between two of the most influential Asian powers in the region: China and India. Due to the growing presence and influence of the People's Republic in the Indian Ocean, India has been forced to take proactive measures to improve peace and stability in the region, mobilizing and expanding its presence from its east coast to the vicinity of the Strait, in order to rebalance the regional balance of power. In this way, India can dominate the western access to the Strait and, consequently, have a longer reaction time to manoeuvre in the Indian Ocean as well as in the Strait itself and even access the waters of the South China Sea more quickly.

At the same time, India's growing approach to the South China Sea is watched with concern in Beijing, and some analysts even see India as a threat in the hypothetical case of a war between the two regional powers and India blocks the Strait and, therefore, China's access to certain raw materials and other resources. For this reason, China has conducted a number of joint military exercises with third States in the Strait of Malacca over the past three years, especially with Malaysia. During the first exercises in the area, the Ministry of Defense of the People's Republic of China concluded that bilateral relations with Malaysia were strengthened in terms of security and defense cooperation and that the joint response capability to security threats was "increased." In addition, for China, the protection of the Strait is a priority because of its great strategic value and because countries such as the United States are a key factor in the protection of the Strait . The U.S. and Japan also want to control it.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia Security & Defence World Order, Diplomacy & Governance Articles

[Admiral James Stavridis, Sea Power. The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans. Penguin Press. New York City, 2017. 363 pages]


review / Iñigo Bronte Barea [English version].

In the era of globalisation and its communication society, where everything is closer and distances seem to fade away, the body of water between continents has not lost the strategic value it has always had. Historically, the seas have been both a channel for human development and instruments of geopolitical domination. It is no coincidence that the great world powers of the last 200 years have themselves been great naval powers. The dispute over maritime space is still going on today and there is nothing to suggest that the geopolitics of the seas will cease to be crucial in the future.

These principles on the importance of maritime powers have changed little since they were set out in the late 19th century by Alfred T. Mahan. Today, Sea Power. The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans, by Admiral James G. Stavridis, who retired in 2013 after leading the US Southern Command, the US European Command and the supreme command of NATO.

The book is the fruit of Mahan's early reading and an extensive degree program of nearly four decades on the seas and oceans with the US Navy. At the beginning of each explanation of the different sea spaces, Stavridis recounts his brief experience in that sea or ocean, then continues with the history, and the development they have had, until arriving at their current context. Finally, there is a projection of the near future of the world from the perspective of marine geopolitics.

Pacific: China's emergence

Admiral J.G. Stavridis begins his voyage in the Pacific Ocean, which he categorises as "the mother of all oceans" because of its immensity, since it alone is larger than the entire land surface of the planet combined. Another remarkable point is that in its vastness there is no considerable landmass, although there are islands all over the world subject, with very diverse cultures. This is why the sea dominates the geography of the Pacific like nowhere else on the planet.


The great dominator of this marine space is Australia, which is very much aware of what might happen politically in the island archipelagos in its vicinity. It was Europeans, however, who explored the Pacific well (Magellan was the first, around 1500) and tried to connect it with their world in a way that was not merely transitory and commercial, but stable and lasting.

The United States began its presence in the Pacific with the acquisition of California (1840), but it was not until the annexation of Hawaii (1898) that the huge country was definitively catapulted into the Pacific. The first time this ocean emerged as a total war zone was in 1941 when Pearl Harbour was massacred by the Japanese.

With the return of peace, the Japanese revival and the emergence of China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong caused trans-Pacific trade to overtake the Atlantic for the first time in the 1980s, and this trend is still continuing. This is because the Pacific region contains the world's major powers on its shores.

degree program At area geopolitics a major arms race is taking place in the Pacific, with North Korea as a major focus of global tension and uncertainty.

Atlantic: from the Panama Canal to NATO

As for the Atlantic Ocean, Stavridis refers to it as the cradle of civilisation, since the Mediterranean is included among its territories, and even more so if we consider it as the nexus between the peoples of the Americas and Africa and Europe. It has two great seas of great historical importance, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

Undoubtedly the historical figure of this ocean is Christopher Columbus, since his arrival in America (Bahamas 1492) initiated a new historical period that ended with practically the entire American continent being colonised by the European powers in the following centuries. While Portugal and Spain concentrated on the Caribbean and South America, the British and the French concentrated on North America.

During the First World War, the Atlantic became an essential transit zone for the war development as the United States transported troops, war materials and goods to Europe during the conflict. It was here that the idea of an Atlantic community began to take shape, leading to the creation of NATO.

As for the Caribbean, the author sees it as a region that is rooted in the past. Its colonisation was characterised by the arrival of slaves to exploit the region's natural resources for purposes of economic interest to the Spanish. In turn, this process was characterised by the desire to convert the indigenous population to Christianity.

The Panama Canal is a driving force for the region's Economics , but Central America is also sailing along the coasts of the countries with the highest violence fees on the planet. Admiral Stavridis sees the Caribbean coast as a kind of Wild West, which in some places has evolved little since the days of pirates, and where drug cartels now operate with impunity.

Since the 1820s, with the Monroe Doctrine, the United States carried out a series of interventions through its navy to bolster regional stability and keep Europeans out of places such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Central America. In the 20th century, politics was dominated by caudillos, and soon communism and the Cold War came with them to the Caribbean, with Cuba as ground zero.

Indian Ocean and Arctic: from unknown to risky

The Indian Ocean has less history and geopolitics than the other two great oceans. Despite this, its tributary seas have gained geopolitical importance in the post-World War II era with the rise of global shipping and the export of oil from the Gulf region. The Indian Ocean today could be seen as a region for wielding smart power rather than hard power. While the slave trade and piracy have dwindled almost everywhere, they are still present in parts of the Indian Ocean. It is a region where countries around the world could work together to combat these common problems.

The history of the Indian Ocean does not inspire confidence about the potential for peaceful governance in the years to come. An important core topic to unlock the region's potential would be to resolve the existing conflicts between India and Pakistan (a conflict with the risk of nuclear weapons) and the Shia-Sunni divide in the Persian Gulf, issues that make it a very volatile region. Due to tensions in the Gulf countries, the region is today a kind of cold war between the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, and the Shiites, led by Iran, and between these two sides, the United States, with its Fifth Fleet, is at the centre.

Finally, the Arctic is currently an unknown quantity. Stavridis sees it as both a promise and a danger. Over the centuries, all oceans and seas have been the site of epic battles and discoveries, but there is one exception: the Arctic Ocean.

It seems clear that this exceptionality is coming to an end. The Arctic is an emerging maritime frontier with increasing human activity, rapidly melting ice shelves and significant hydrocarbon resources coming within reach. However, there are major risks that will dangerously condition the exploitation of this region, such as weather conditions, unclear governance due to the confluence of five bordering countries (Russia, Norway, Canada, the United States and Denmark), and geopolitical competition between NATO and Russia, whose relations have deteriorated in recent years. 

Categories Global Affairs: European Union North America Asia Security and defense World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews Arctic and Antarctica

Continental U.S. neighbors are having a hard time interpreting the first year of the new Administration.

Donald Trump arrives at his first anniversary as president having set some recent fires in Latin America. His rude disregard for El Salvador and Haiti, due to the volume of refugees welcomed in the United States, and his intemperate attention to Colombia for the increase in cocaine production worsen relations that, although already complicated in the case of Mexico, have had some good moments throughout the year, such as the dinner of presidents that Trump convened in September in New York in which a united action on Venezuela was outlined.

▲Trump, on completing 100 days as president [White House].

article / Garhem O. Padilla [English version].

One year after the arrival of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump, to the White House -the inauguration ceremony was on January 20-, controversy dominates the balance of the new Administration, both in its domestic and international performance. The continental neighbors of the U.S., in particular, show bewilderment over Trump's policies toward the hemisphere. On the one hand, they regret the U.S. disinterest in commitments to economicdevelopment and multilateral integration; on the other, they note some activity in relation to some regional problems, such as Venezuela. The balance for the moment is mixed, although there is unanimous agreement that Trump's language and many of his manners rather threaten relations.


agreement In the economic field, the Trump era began with the withdrawal final of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on January 23, 2017. This made it impossible for entrance to enter into force, as the United States is the market for which the TPP was created agreement, which has affected the prospects of the Latin American countries that participated in the initiative.

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), demanded by Trump, was immediately opened. Doubts about the future of NAFTA, signed in 1994 and which Trump has described as a "disaster", have been prominent so far in his administration. Some of his demands, which Mexico and Canada oppose, are to increase the quota for products manufactured in the United States and the "sunset" clause, which would oblige the treaty to be reviewed methodically every five years and would cause it to be suspended if any of its three members were not in agreement with agreement. All of this stems from the U.S. president's idea of fail the treaty if it is not favorable to his country. 

Cuba and Venezuela

If the quarrels with Mexico have not yet reached a conclusion, in the case of Cuba Trump has already retaliated against the Castro regime, with the expulsion in October of 15 Cuban diplomats from the Cuban embassy in Washington as a response to the "sonic attacks" that affected 24 U.S. diplomats on the island. The White House has also reversed some of the Obama Administration's conciliatory measures, when it realized that Castroism is not responding with openness concessions.

As far as Venezuela is concerned, Trump has made forceful efforts to introduce measures and sanctions against corrupt officials, in addition to addressing the political status with other countries, so that they support those efforts aimed at eradicating the Venezuelan crisis, thus generating multilateralism among American countries. However, this policy has its detractors, who believe that the sanctions are not intended to achieve a long-term goal deadline , and it is unclear how they would promote Venezuelan stability.

Although in these actions on Cuba and Venezuela Trump has alluded to the democratic principles violated by the rulers of Havana and Caracas, his Administration has not particularly insisted on the commitment to human rights, democracy and moral values, as had been usual in the argumentation of U.S. foreign policy. Some critics point out that the Trump Administration is willing to promote human rights only when they fit its political objectives.  

This could explain the worsening opinion in Latin America about the United States and relations with that country. From agreement with the survey Latinobarómetro 2017, the favorable opinion has fallen to 67%, seven points below the one at the end of the Obama Administration, which was 74%. Said survey sample a relevant difference for Mexico, one of the countries that, without a doubt, has the worst levels of favorable opinion towards the Trump Administration: in 2017 it was 48%, a drop of 29 points compared to 2016, when it was 77%.



Immigration, withdrawal, decline

The restrictive immigration policies applied would also explain the rejection of the Trump Administration by Latin American public opinion. In the immigration section the most recent is the decision not to renew the authorization to stay in the United States of thousands of Salvadorans and Haitians, who once arrived fleeing calamities in their countries.

It is also worth mentioning Trump's efforts to achieve one of his main objectives since the beginning of his political campaign: to build a border wall with Mexico. The U.S. president has not been very successful so far in this goal, since despite having sought ways to finance it, what he has managed to introduce in the budgets is very insignificant in relation to the estimated costs. On the other hand, his decision

Trump's protectionism entails a retreat that may be accentuating the decline of the United States as a leader in Latin America, especially vis-à-vis other powers. China has been increasing its economic and political engagement in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. Russia, for its part, has strengthened its diplomatic and security relations with Cuba. It could be said that, taking advantage of the conflicts between the island and the United States, Moscow has sought to keep it in its orbit through a series of investments.

Security threats

This leads us to mention the new US National Security Strategy, announced in December. The document, presented by Trump, addresses the rivalry with China and Russia, and also refers to challenge the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes, for the alleged security threats they pose and the Russian support they receive. Trump expressed a strong desire to see Cuba and Venezuela join in "shared freedom and prosperity" and called to "isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity."

Similarly, the new U.S. Security Strategy alludes to other challenges in the region, such as transnational criminal organizations, which impede the stability of Central American countries, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. However, the document devotes only one page to Latin America, in line with Washington's traditional focus on the areas of the world that most affect its interests and security.

An opportunity for the United States to get closer to Latin American countries will be the Summit of the Americas, to be held next March in Lima. However, nothing is predictable given the President's characteristic attitude, which leaves a great deal of room for possible surprises.

Categories Global Affairs: North America World order, diplomacy and governance Articles Latin America

[Graham Allison, Destined for War. Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Boston, 2017. 364 pages]


review/ Emili J. Blasco

This is what has been called Thucydides' trap: the dilemma faced by a hegemonic power and a rising power that threatens that hegemony. Is war inevitable? When Thucydides narrated the Peloponnesian War, he wrote about the inevitability for domineering Sparta and the emerging Athens of thinking of armed confrontation as a means of settling conflict.

The fact that these two Greek polises necessarily thought about war, and eventually came to it, does not mean that they had no other options. History has shown that there are: when Wilhelmine Germany threatened to outwhelm Britain's naval strength, the attempt at sorpasso (accompanied by various circumstances) led to World War I, but when Portugal was overtaken by Spain in overseas possessions in the sixteenth century, or when the United States replaced Great Britain as the world's leading power at the end of the nineteenth century, the transfer was peaceful.

The call to Washington and Beijing to do everything possible not to fall into the trap described by the Greek historian is made by Graham Allison in Destined for War. Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? The Dean The founder of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government reviews several historical precedents in his book. The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the same university, where Allison is a member, has researched them director, in a program called Thucydides's Trap.

This concept is defined by Allison as "the strong structural stress caused when an emerging power threatens to unseat a reigning power. In such a status, not only extraordinary or unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints in international affairs can trigger large-scale conflicts."

This structural stress is produced by the clash of two profound sensitivities: the emerging power syndrome ("the reinforced sense that an emerging state has of itself, its interests, and its right to recognition and respect"), and its inverse image, the reigning power syndrome ("the established power exhibits a growing sense of fear and insecurity as it faces signs of decline").

Along with the syndromes, both rival powers also experience a security dilemma: "A rising power may disregard the fear and insecurity of a ruling state because it knows that it itself is well-intentioned. Meanwhile, his opponent misinterprets even positive initiatives, taking them as excessively demanding or even threatening."

The use of military force

Allison starts from the fact that China is already catching up with the United States as a power. It has done so in terms of the volume of its Economics (China has already surpassed the U.S. in purchasing power parity) and in relation to some aspects of military strength (a report Rand Corporation predicted that by 2017 China would have "advantage" or "approximate parity" in 6 of the 9 conventional capacity areas. The author's assumption is that China will soon be in a position to wrest the scepter of the greatest superpower from the United States. Arrived before this status, how will both countries react?

In the case of China, its millennial outlook will likely lead to an attitude of patience, as long as there is some small progress in its development. purpose to increase its global specific weight. Since 1949, China has only resorted to force in three of 33 territorial disputes. In those cases, China's leaders waged war – limited wars, conceived as notice to their opponents – even though the enemy was equal or greater, urged by a status of domestic unrest.

For Allison, "as long as events in the South China Sea generally move in China's favor, it seems unlikely that China will use military force. But the trends in the balance of power were to turn against it, particularly at a time of internal political instability, China would initiate a limited military conflict, against an even larger and more powerful state like the United States."

For its part, the United States can choose several strategies, according to Allison: adapt to the new reality, undermine Chinese power (trade war, foment provincial separatism), negotiate a lasting peace, and redefine the relationship. The author does not give a committee firm, but it seems to suggest that Washington should move between the latter two options.

Thus, he recalls how Britain understood that it could not rival the United States in the Western Hemisphere, and how from there a partnership between the two countries, manifested in the First and Second World Wars. That would have to involve accepting that the South China Sea is a area of Chinese influence. And this is not out of mere condescension, but because the United States is proceeding with a real clarification of its vital interests.

Despite its positive tone, Destined for War is one of the essays of the American establishment where the end of the American era and the passing of the baton to China are most openly announced (it does not seem to envision a multipolar or bipolar world, but rather one of primacy of the Asian power). He is also one of the least emphasises – less, of course, than he should – on the strengths that the United States maintains and the problems that could undermine China's coronation.

Categories Global Affairs: North America Asia Security & Defense World Order, Diplomacy & Governance Book Reviews