Skip to comments.The Metrosexual Superpower
Posted on 07/18/2004 5:18:35 AM PDT by True Capitalist
The Metrosexual Superpower
By Parag Khanna
The stylish European Union struts past the bumbling United States on the catwalk of global diplomacy.
According to Michael Flocker's 2003 bestseller, The Metrosexual Guide to Style: A Handbook for the Modern Man, the trendsetting male icons of the 21st century must combine the coercive strengths of Mars and the seductive wiles of Venus. Put simply, metrosexual men are muscular but suave, confident yet image-conscious, assertive yet clearly in touch with their feminine sides. Just consider British soccer star David Beckham. He is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Posh Adams, but his combination of athleticism and cross-dressing make him a sex symbol to both women and men worldwide, not to mention the inspiration for the 2002 hit movie Bend It Like Beckham. Substance, Beckham shows, is nothing without style.
Geopolitics is much the same. American neoconservatives such as Robert Kagan look down upon feminine, Venus-like Europeans, gibing their narcissistic obsession with building a postmodern, bureaucratic paradise. The United States, by contrast, supposedly carries the mantle of masculine Mars, boldly imposing freedom in the world's nastiest neighborhoods. But by cleverly deploying both its hard power and its sensitive side, the European Union (EU) has become more effectiveand more attractivethan the United States on the catwalk of diplomatic clout. Meet the real New Europe: the world's first metrosexual superpower.
Metrosexuals always know how to dress for the occasion (or mission). Spreading peace across Eurasia serves U.S. interests, but it's best done by donning Armani pinstripes rather than U.S. Army fatigues. After the fall of Soviet communism, conservative U.S. thinkers feared a united Germany vying with Russia for hegemony in Central Europe. Yet, by brandishing only a slick portfolio of economic incentives, the EU has incorporated many of the former Soviet republics and satellites in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Even Turkey is freshening up with eau d'Europe. Ankara resisted Washington's pressure to provide base rights for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But to get backstage in Brussels, it has had to smooth out its more unseemly blemishesabolishing the death penalty, taking steps to resolve the Cyprus dispute, and introducing laws to protect its Kurdish minority.
Metrosexuals may spend a long time standing in front of the mirror, but they never shop alone. Stripping off stale national sovereignty (that's so last century), Europeans now parade their pooled power, the new look for this geopolitical season. As a political, economic, and military union with some 450 million citizens, a $9 trillion economy, and armies surpassing 1.6 million soldiers, Europe is now a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Indeed, Europe actually contributes more to U.S. foreign policy goals than the U.S. governmentand does so far more fashionably. Robert Cooper, one of Britain's former defense gurus now shaping Europe's common foreign policy, argues that Europe's magnetic allure compels countries to rewrite their laws and constitutions to meet European standards. The United States conceives of power primarily in military terms, thus confusing presence with influence. By contrast, Europeans understand power as overall leverage. As a result, the EU is the world's largest bilateral aid donor, providing more than twice as much aid to poor countries as the United States, and it is also the largest importer of agricultural goods from the developing world, enhancing its influence in key regions of instability. Through massive deployments of soft power (such as economic clout and cultural appeal) Europe has made hard power less necessary. After expanding to 25 members, the EU accounts for nearly half of the world's outward foreign direct investment and exerts greater leverage than the United States over pivotal countries such as Brazil and Russia. As more oil-producing nations consider trading in euros, Europe will gain greater influence in the international marketplace. Even rogue states swoon over Europe's allure; just recall how Libya's Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi greeted British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a recent meeting in Tripoli. You are looking good, gushed Libya's strongman. You are still young.
Brand Europe is taking over. From environmental sustainability and international law to economic development and social welfare, European views are more congenial to international tastes and more easily exported than their U.S. variants. Even the Bush administration's new strategy toward the Greater Middle East is based on the Helsinki model, which was Europe's way of integrating human rights standards into collective security institutions. Furthermore, regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Mercosur, and the African Union are redesigning their institutions to look more like the EU. Europe's flashy new symbol of power, the Airbus 380, will soon strut on runways all over Asia. And the euro is accepted even where they don't take American Express.
But don't be deceived by the metrosexual superpower's pleatless pantsEurope hasn't lost touch with its hard assets. Even without a centralized military command structure, the EU has recently led military operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Macedonia, and it will increase troop deployments to support German and British forces in stabilizing Afghanistan. European countries already provide 10 times more peacekeepers to U.N. operations than the United States. In late 2004, the EU will take over all peacekeeping and policing operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO, and Europe's 60,000-troop Rapid Reaction Force will soon be ready to deploy around the world.
In the fight against terrorism, Europe also displays the right ensemble of strengths. Europeans excel at human intelligence, which requires expert linguists and cultural awareness. French espionage agencies have reportedly infiltrated al Qaeda cells, and German and Spanish law enforcement efforts have led to the capture of numerous al Qaeda operatives. After the March 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid, Spain's incoming prime minister immediately declared his country would return to Europe, signaling his opposition to the Bush administration's war on terror. Indeed, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's New Europe is already passé, shorter lived than the bellbottom revival.
To some observers, the EU may always be little more than a cheap superpower knockoff with little substance to show but a common multilingual passport. But after 60 years of dressing up, Europe has revealed its true 21st-century orientation. Just as metrosexuals are redefining masculinity, Europe is redefining old notions of power and influence. Expect Bend It Like Brussels to play soon in capital cities worldwide.
Parag Khanna is a fellow in global governance at the Brookings Institution.
The question is will the John-John ticket, which has shunned using the L-word to describe themselves, instead embrace the equally appropriate label "metrosexual"?
Hey I'm just glad that someone besides us ins ponying up to pay for the third world countries. If this is the new Europe, I'm all for it.
Obviously written by a Euroweenie. If not for those US Army BDUs, this pickle kissing POS would be living a far different life today. "Metrosexuals" can go and f_ck themselves - because around here the women would all assume they were gay anyway. How does that Armani pinstripe feel out here in the field busting hay, fag boy??? The author and his ilk need to get real jobs - the kind that men have.
Sorry - I forgot to bust him on the fact that he specializes in "GLOBAL GOVERNANCE", aka The NWO. (And here I thought I hated this loser before reading the last line of the article!)
Thanks TC for getting my blood pressure up this early.
Pathetically small ones
and it will increase troop deployments to support German and British forces in stabilizing Afghanistan.
Increasing from a very low level to a higher, but still very low level
European countries already provide 10 times more peacekeepers to U.N. operations than the United States.
"Peacekeeping' is largely done by countries like Ireland, and isn't exactly evidence of a healthy military
In late 2004, the EU will take over all peacekeeping and policing operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO,
and Europe's 60,000-troop Rapid Reaction Force will soon be ready to deploy around the world.
How soon is soon? At the moment, they're late, and short of men and materiel.
Unless their french-looking candidate running for office in the U.S. gets elected and turns our military and foreign policy over to the U.N., the EU will continue to have little say in world affairs.
I would title this:
"All Dressed Up and Looking for Someone to Surrrender to"
"Those White Sheets on My Bed Aren't Just for Sleeping on"
Sorry, the Euros can't use that. Senator Byrd already has it trademarked.
What a bunch of fops.
Tower of Babel, anyone?
This Khanna guy is such a fag.
OMG, is this guy dreaming! The EU is useless and everyone knows it. It's among the most hated on the planet.....by the people.
Wasn't Neville Chamberlain a Metrosexual?
Only problem: the alleged EU "metrosexual" is actually an all-out flaming fairy with AIDS.
EU will decline further as China rears its head this century.
I guess the implication of this is that America does not excel at these things? Interesting.
French espionage agencies have reportedly infiltrated al Qaeda cells,
Infiltrated the cells to assist al Qaeda or the United States?
Indeed, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's New Europe is already passé, shorter lived than the bellbottom revival.
Not for me. I avoid purchasing products created within "old Europe" and I plan to visit "new Europe" countries (including our ally Italy) next summer.
Just as metrosexuals are redefining masculinity,
The EU is Metrosovereign.
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