Date of this Version


Document Type

Research Report

Publication Details

Field, Heather, & Dellios, Rosita (2002) Strategic powers in a post-September 11, post-American world: The European Union and China. Bond University : School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, December 2002, 21 pp.

Research paper series : Centre for East-West Cultural & Economic Studies ; No. 9.

© Copyright Rosita Dellios, Heather Field and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University, 2002


[extract] In terms of the three traditional dimensions of power - political, economic and military - the EU and China have ample scope for becoming leading strategic soft powers, especially if they partner each other as a counter-cultural balance to any state-eroding globalisation on the one hand, or hegemonic Americanisation on the other. In traditional diplomatic parlance, there might well be a 21st century concert of power. The shift from a 'struggle for power' under the competitive balance-of-power to a system of concerts in a multipolar world requires adjustments from above and below. From above it is difficult to give up a preponderance of power, such as the USA enjoys. However, as vulnerability to terrorism has demonstrated, it is unwise to stand out as the 'only indispensable superpower' (Xiang 2001, p. 21), due to 'visibility, enmity, and transitoriness' (Dellios 1997, p. 211). From below, greater emphasis on shared responsibility toward improved domestic and world order, rather than residing in the politics of rights and blame, would improve the climate of cooperation. Extremities in wealth brought about by economic globalisation would need to be checked by a more socialistically inclined governance. And this, ironically, calls for greater democratisation of the world system. Multilateralism is a first vital step in this direction.