The construction of the European Community (EC) has widely been understood as the product of either economic self-interest or dissatisfaction with the nation-state system. In Europe United, Sebastian Rosato challenges these conventional explanations, arguing that the Community came into being because of balance of power concerns. France and the Federal Republic of Germany―the two key protagonists in the story―established the EC at the height of the cold war as a means to balance against the Soviet Union and one another.
More generally, Rosato argues that international institutions, whether military or economic, largely reflect the balance of power. In his view, states establish institutions in order to maintain or increase their share of world power, and the shape of those institutions reflects the wishes of their most powerful members. Rosato applies this balance of power theory of cooperation to several other cooperative ventures since 1789, including various alliances and trade pacts, the unifications of Italy and Germany, and the founding of the United States. Rosato concludes by arguing that the demise of the Soviet Union has deprived the EC of its fundamental purpose. As a result, further moves toward political and military integration are improbable, and the economic community is likely to unravel to the point where it becomes a shadow of its former self.
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Sebastian Rosato is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also Director of the Notre Dame International Security Program and a faculty fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.Review:
"In this important work, Rosato attempts to explain European integration since 1945 in realist (balance of power) terms. His thorough examination of the diplomatic and archival record shows that, facing an adversary with an overwhelming military superiority (the USSR), Western European leaders saw the need to form a centralized balancing coalition able to deter the USSR event without US help (although NATO provided useful protection while the coalition was assembled). . . . With respect to alternative explanations . . . ideational transformation away from the folly of nationalism and war, as argued by Robert Kagan, Jeremy Rifkin, and others is, Rosato says, flatly contradicted by the facts. . . . Summing up: Essential."―Choice
"Sebastian Rosato explains convincingly how power balancing produced the European community. The demonstration is logically and historically impressive. His book merits a wide audience."―Kenneth N. Waltz, Ford Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
"In Europe United, Sebastian Rosato makes a well-constructed argument that European unification should be interpreted in terms of political power, rather than economic interest or an ideological commitment to peace. Rosato brings a massive body of evidence to bear on the issues that he skillfully addresses."―Marc Trachtenberg, UCLA, author of A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963
"Sebastian Rosato provides a bold reinterpretation of the birth of European integration. Europe United not only challenges the conventional wisdom about the economic origins of the European Union but also offers a new take on the dominant role that power balancing plays in regional integration in Europe and beyond. This book advances theoretical debate and has important policy implications."―Charles A. Kupchan, Georgetown University and Council on Foreign Relations, author of How Enemies Become Friends
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