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Solana's (and the EU's?)
Foreign Policy: A Non-Starter



Johan Galtung, dr hc mult, Professor of Peace Studies,
TRANSCEND: A Peace and Development Network

TFF associate

July 23, 2004

Here is a short critique of Javier Solana's paper on European security of 20 June 2003, which Johan Galtung gave two weeks ago at a meeting with EU officials in Luxembourg.
Another longer paper with constructive proposals will follow later. Comments are welcome to


By Reading Javier Solana's "A Secure Europe in a Better World" calls to mind the famous prison director Herr Obermeyer in Germany with a fabulous record of low recidivism. His prisoners became law-abiding citizens upon release. Of course there was a study commission to uncover his method. And the conclusion: "Die Methode des Herrn Obermeyer ist Herr Obermeyer selbst" - Mr Obermeyer, meaning his personality, is his own method

"Das Problem des Herrn Solana ist Herr Solana selbst"? Mr Solana is his own problem? Partly, yes. Long time ago he was against Spanish membership in NATO to win Spanish elections, then worked for that membership, and finally became NATO's Secretary General (Aznar was at least consistently pro-USA). So from Solana little is to be expected. His analysis is autistic. He locates all the problems on the outside in his "Europe faces three key threats": international terrorism, particularly with weapons of mass destruction, failed states, and organized crime. They are significant factors. But how did they come into being?

The extrapunitive personality locates problems in Other and sees himself as victim only; the intrapunitive sees Self as the key perpetrator, spinning causal chains from Self via Other and then back to Self as violence. Neither Solana's, nor the other extreme position is analysis but rather projections of a psycho-political inclination. US imperialism is certainly a key factor in producing all three; so is EU inability to distance itself from the USA and some of EU's own policies. But there is more.

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Analysis is located between Solana and Yanqui go home. Of course "international terrorism", like US state terrorism, are parts of a vicious cycle of retaliation, and the outcomes of unresolved conflicts. Equally obviously, they also draw energy from religious fundamentalism. Islam, the Arab world and Palestine have been and are trampled upon by the West and by Israel. Their right to resist is not disputed, but they could have used more effective nonviolent methods in the struggle. Through NATO and Iraq war participation, with notable exceptions but their line is not (yet?) EU foreign policy (and Solana sounds more like Aznar than like Zapetero), the EU should not be surprised if the "war on terrorism" reverts to themselves. Of course countries that support the USA put themselves at risk

And that USA is no longer "in a dominant position as a military actor". War is no longer fought with the means the USA has at its disposal. It is fought by a method invented in Solana's own country, the guerilla, by small units of people undistinguishable from, and supported by, people in general and more willing to give their life for their cause than US kids fighting for money to get through college. Supply of material for bombs is no problem. Including dirty bombs. Not ABC. D

Solana is decades behind in his "analysis", also missing the major factor: differential vulnerability. Several EU countries can come close to paralysis by a nonviolent strike of their Muslim population alone. Less autism, more reciprocity is indeed called for if only for the classical reason that the balance of force is no longer in the West's favor; force power being located in the interface between capacity to destroy and vulnerability. What is more vulnerable, the Twin Towers or an average Afghan mountain? True, there are stooges on top in Kabul and Baghdad. But the resistance is everywhere else

Above all, however: there is no conflict analysis in Solana's approach, no effort to clarify the goals of the parties, to discuss what is legitimate and what not, and then to reconcile the legitimate goals. "The outbreak of Conflict in the Balkans was a reminder that war has not disappeared from our continent". The EC/EU neither understood the Serb position of not being ruled from Zagreb, Sarajevo and Pristina, nor did they follow the UN Secretary General's advice. Major EC/EU mistakes in no way exonerate the Serbs for their atrocities, however. Both sides would have benefitted from honest conflict analysis

Solana substitutes for conflict analysis US style security analysis. Where has this mental aberration led the USA? Take failed states. Of course they fail when told to be only l'etat gendarme and never l'etat provident, dropping subsidies and buying equipment against demonstrators and guerrillas instead, on a downward spiral. External assistance can never be a substitute, only a complement in a state already trained in providing basic needs for its own people

Take organized crime. As has been said so often, drugs depends on supply, and on demand. The demand is in Europe and in the USA, mainly the latter and is probably related to anomie and atomie, normlessness and fragmentation of social structure. And yet the "war on drugs" is in drug-producing countries, with success at the end of the Taliban regime, now flourishing more than ever. Where is the certification of progress in reducing demand in the EU and in the USA? Who certifies whom? Where is the Plan EU and Plan USA to complement Plan Colombia? And then, don't underestimate the sympathy for organized crime that hits the rich and the rich countries as one more form of guerrilla

Solana wants more resources for defense. That was/is the US approach. Where did it bring the USA? Drop Solana, not bombs.


© TFF & the author 2004  



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