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EU Global Strategy Expert Opinion No.50 – Jolyon Howorth & Vivien Schmidt

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There is a danger in making the strategic review too complex. There is merit in recalling the parsimonious interpretation of the world that has inspired realists: system anarchy; the fundamental role of states; the centrality of the distribution of power; balance of power. Indeed, poweritself.

These basics remain the crucial elements of international relations. The currencies the EU prefers – multilateralism, international law, international institutions, diplomacy, soft and smart power – have all come into their own since 1945 and they have a vital role to play. But there should be no illusions: positive sum aspirations have not replaced zero-sum realities.