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EU Grand Strategy and the Ethics of Military Force: The Case of EUNAVFOR-Atalanta

Michael E Smith

Over the past decade, the EU has gradually expanded its range of foreign policy tools: diplomatic, economic, and now police/military forces. Moreover, these changes have been increasingly accompanied by various degrees of strategic thinking and planning, the sum total of which increasingly represents an EU 'grand strategy.' However, the EU's has also faced recurring difficulties in projecting its various forms of power both material and ideational/ethical - in a coherent fashion. This problem can be seen in the conduct of most of the EU's missions conducted under its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which have rarely involved an efficient mix of military and civilian resources. However, the EU's counter-piracy naval operation, EUNAVFOR-Atalanta, clearly breaks with this trend, and involved close coordination between the EU Military Staff and the Commission. This paper examines the EU's conduct of Operation Atalanta through the conceptual lens of grand strategy. It further argues that the EU's approach to such 'new security' issues, which attempts to find a more legitimate way to use military force, could become very important in light of current trends involving the role of non-state actors, the concept of 'human' security, security aspects of globalization and development, and other factors.

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