Soft and Hard Power? - A Comparison of the EU and the US Foreign Policy Actions.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The European Union is often portrayed as a soft, civilian power. In this thesis we question this view of the Union, by comparing it to the United States of America; usually described as a hard power user. We compare the foreign policy actions of the EU and the US in the seventeen conflicts of 2004. With help from K. J. Holsti's division of strategies to exercise power we create our own tool for analysis by dividing the actions into hard and soft power. Our analysis of the material suggests that the EU and the US are not very different actors after all. The results show that it is not accurate to describe the EU as a soft power as it often acts with hard power. Probably the truth about EU as an international actor lies somewhere in between the idea of the soft "civilian power" and the hard "military power".

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