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The power divide

It is time to stop pretending that Americans and Europeans share a common view of the world

By Robert Kagan   August 2002

It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power-the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power-American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power or, rather, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and prosperity, the realisation of Kant’s “perpetual peace.” The US, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the…

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