EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, right, meets with Lebanese Prime Minister designate Najib Mikati in Beirut, Lebanon, Feb. 16, 2011.
"Realist-normative Power Europe? Explaining EU Policies toward Lebanon from an IR Perspective"
Journal Article, Comparative European Politics, volume 9, issue 4-5, pages 562-580
Author: Chiara Ruffa, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2012
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
This article seeks to explain the relationship between the European Union (EU) and one of its Middle Eastern neighbors: Lebanon. By conducting an in-depth empirical single case study and engaging in competitive theory testing, this article shows that the EU in Lebanon behaves at the same time as a normative and a realist power. This article challenges both the scholarship on the EU that sees the EU as a normative power as well as scholarship that focuses on structural neorealism to explain the EU's role in its neighborhood. This article adopts an approach that is different from the mainstream approaches in two ways. First, it focuses on the entire set of policies that the EU has implemented or not in Lebanon. Second, it provides an in-depth case study centered on the interaction between the EU and Lebanon, while also looking at the regional dynamics and at the domestic tensions within Lebanon. By doing so, it shows that the EU is a 'realist-normative' power in the specific case of Lebanon. Thus, these two frameworks are a false dichotomy and the argument shall be tested on other cases to make it generalizable. This suggests that the constructivist-realist divide coexists in practice.
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