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‘The Empire Strikes Back!’ An Uncanny View of the European Union. Part II – Empire, Federation or What? 1

  • Jean Leca


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I am aware of the unusual (to put it mildly) size of this review of excellent works designed for a larger audience than professional political scientists. My motives are twofold. First, those works are interesting and provocative enough to point to larger reflections based on more historical information and put within an overall theoretical framework. Second, I wanted to show the huge bulk of cumulative and sometimes contrary research on which they are built, just as Newton was ‘seated on the shoulders of giants’. Hence the amazing and tiresome, even for me, number of footnotes to document, and sometimes expand on the text. Instead of leaving the buildings in their state of elegant achievement once the scaffolding has been taken off, I have done quite the opposite and shown their blueprints, designs, material and tools used (plus some others). I have to thank most warmly the editorial board (and the copyeditor) for being so gracious and leaving me much more than the usual leeway. I wonder if any other journal would have ever done so.



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2 Raymond J. Ahearn, ‘Trade Policymaking in the European Union: Institutional Framework’, CRS Report for US Congress, 27 March 2002.

3 On ‘process tracing’ see Hall, Peter, ‘Systematic Process Analysis: When and How to Use It?’, European Management Review, 3 (2006), pp. 2431 .

4 For some examples of institutional descriptions, John Peterson and Michael Shackleton (eds), The Institutions of the European Union, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006; J.-L. Quermonne, Le système politique de l'Union Européenne : Des communautés économiques à l'union politique, 9th edn, Paris, Montchrestien, 2009; and the references supplied in the first part of this review article ( Leca, Jean, ‘“The Empire Strikes Back!” An Uncanny View of the European Union. Part I’, Government and Opposition, 44: 3 (2009), pp. 285320 ). Among the best political descriptions and analyses of the European ‘processes of government’ marked by an unbiased empirical realism is Anand Menon, Europe: The State of the Union, London, Atlantic Books, 2008. Among the institutional theories, Lijphart's long-term undertaking using a classical statistical method must be highlighted: A. Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 1999; see a recent commentary: Vatter, A., ‘Lijphart Expanded’, European Political Science Review, 1: 1 (2009), pp. 125–54. I will not deal here with institutionalist theories of the EU, but a recent excellent example is Hoogue, L. and Marks, G., ‘A Post-functionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permanent Consensus to Constraining Dissensus’, British Journal of Political Science, 39 (2008), pp. 123 (an interesting departure from the thesis that consensual institutional processes are functional since they are required by the process of integration). The distinction between the two types of theory is not made in the famous Hall and Taylor paper, Hall, P. and Taylor, R., ‘Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms’, Political Studies, 44 (1996), pp. 936–57; nor in the title of the useful B. Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The ‘New Institutionalism’, London, Pinter, 1999; which leaves the reader in a state of uncertainty. It is true that rational-choice institutionalism (see O. Williamson, The Economic Institutions Capitalism, New York, Free Press, 1985; Shepsle, K., ‘Studying Institutions: Some Lessons from the Rational Choice Approach’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1: 2 (1989), pp. 131–47; D. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990; Bulmer, S., ‘The New Governance of the European Union: A New Institutionalist Approach’, Journal of Public Policy, 13: 4 (1994), pp. 351–80; R. L. Calvert, ‘The Rational Choice Theory of Social Institutions: Cooperation, Coordination, and Communication’, in J. S. Banks and E. A. Hanushek (eds), Modern Political Economy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 218ff) is both institutional and institutionalist since it aims to explain the emergence of institutions providing public goods or compliance in the absence of institutions (the ‘heuristic of trust’: Scholz, J. T., ‘Contractual Compliance and the Federal Income Tax System’, Journal of Law and Policy, 13 (2003), pp. 139203 ), while describing and prescribing an institutional design (see the critical position of Robert Goodin, The Theory of Institutional Design, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996). Having said that, I have to admit that the rational-choice and evolutionary institutionalists are consistent in their reasoning. I am still puzzled by the tendency of sociological institutionalists with strong social-constructivist leanings to consider institutions as quasi-material internal elements to the individual actors whose preferences are thus structured by their institutional position, and yet they neglect the institutional analysis itself. The explanation is that social constructivists (whose canon is W. Powell and P. Di Maggio (eds), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1991) and most of the historical institutionalists, in contrast to rational-choice institutionalists, do not consider the possibility of institutional choices (see Kolbe, T. A., ‘The New Institutionalism in Political Science and Sociology’, Comparative Politics, 2 (1995), p. 239 ; and the excellent M. Aspinwall and G. Schneider, ‘Un menu commun pour des tables séparées. Le tournant institutionnaliste dans la science politique et les études sur l'intégration européenne’, in M. Delori, D. Deschaux-Beaume and S. Saurugger (eds), Le choix rationnel en science politique. Débats critiques, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009, p. 113), which may well be an uncritical extension of the ‘path dependency’ thesis ( Rose, R., ‘Inheritance Before Choice in Public Policy’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2: 3 (1990), pp. 263–91. Does that rule out any interest in choice? I am sure Rose thinks not). Such a shortcoming, leaving nothing to say about change, as we have argued in Part I of this article, may be related to the lack of precision in the definition of institutions (see H. Keman, ‘Approaches to the Study of Institutions’, in B. Steunenberg and E. Van Vught (eds), Political Institutions and Public Policy, Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1997, pp. 1–27). In homage to a recent Nobel Prize in Economics granted to a political scientist I would rather recall a theory both institutional and institutionalist that takes seriously the biologist Garret Hardin's authoritarian solution to ‘the tragedy of the Commons’ and explains how common goods are managed in the absence of a state and how institutional arrangements structure situational decisions outside the market model: L. Kiser and E. Ostrom, ‘The Three Worlds of Action: A Metatheoretical Synthesis of Institutional Approaches’, in E. Ostrom (ed.), Strategies of Political Inquiry, London, Sage, 1982, pp. 179–222; Ostrom, E., ‘Rational Choice Theory and Institutional Analysis: Toward Complementarity’, American Political Science Review, 85 (1991), pp. 237–43; E. Ostrom, Understanding Institutional Diversity, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005.

5 On the second case, see Reich, N., ‘Free Movement versus Social Rights in Enlarged Union. The Laval and Viking Cases Before the ECJ’, German Law Journal, 9: 2 (2008), pp. 125–61. The Laval ruling states that the Swedish labour law cannot automatically apply to a member state corporation operating in Sweden since it would be a violation of the European law (see on the overall problem, Kerber, V. W., ‘Interjurisdictional Competition within the European Union’, Fordham International Law Journal, 23 (2000), p. 217 ). To say that the ECJ has a federal agenda dictated by the law it has to interpret and related to its institutional nature of ‘Supreme Court’ does not mean that it ignores the reactions of the member states and does not anticipate their decisions: in this respect the ECJ is a ‘political actor’ and its decision-making process may be the object of a ‘strategic interpretation’ ( Garrett, G., ‘International Cooperation and Institutional Choice: The European Community Internal Market’, International Organization, 46: 2 (1992), pp. 533–60). But it is a political actor using a legal language under its linguistic constraints (see the critical comments of Slaughter, A.-M. and Mattli, W., ‘Law and Politics in the European Union: A Reply to Garrett’, International Organization, 48 (1994), pp. 183–90; and Garrett's, G. rejoinder, ‘The Politics of Legal Integration in the European Union’, International Organization, 48 (1994), pp. 171–81). The same could be said of the federal input of the Commission and the Central Bank: they pursue political strategies using (and constrained by) a technical-legal language and a technical-economic language. Here historical and rational-choice institutionalists may help each other to understand the processes.

6 On the use of institutional isomorphism to explain compliance with ambiguous rules, see P. Di Maggio and W. Powell, ‘The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism in Organizational Analysis’, in Powell and Di Maggio, The New Institutionalism.

7 Raymond Aron, ‘A propos de la théorie politique’, in Raymond Aron, Etudes politiques, Paris, Gallimard, 1972.

8 The most extreme exponent of this view is obviously Carl Schmitt, whose use of the adjective ‘waterproof’ can be found in his Theory of the Constitution (quoted by Olivier Beaud, Théorie de la fédération, Paris, PUF, 2007, p. 301). In its most extreme version, the ‘war model’ is related to a gloomy vision of human relations as an endless succession and repetition of modes of destruction, documented by scholars who do not openly share such a dire outlook (e.g. Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2007). A more balanced view is taken by the various brands of ‘realists’. Despite the wealth of the recent literature on international relations in the last 20 years, too immense to be even recorded, I still think that over the last 60 years Hans Morgenthau, Raymond Aron, Hedley Bull, Stanley Hoffmann, Kenneth Waltz, Barry Buzan, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt and Edward Luttwak are still the leading exponents of such a view, whatever their huge differences; Aron, Bull, Buzan, above all Hoffmann, and even Morgenthau are the most prudent in their approaches. In the books under review, only Niall Ferguson fits squarely with the ‘war model’. The other three either choose the second model or do not take sides. They tend to belittle or dismiss the difference between the language of a polity and the language of a system of polities. Zielonka, having dealt earlier and elsewhere with European foreign policy and its ‘paradoxes’, returns to the topic under the umbrella of his concept of empire. That relative neglect is also the reason why I do not mention the ‘balance of power’ view, which is a sort of compromise between the ‘war’ and the ‘foedus’ models. Although the idea is today squarely and excessively rejected when used to describe the relations within the EU modelled on the ‘Concert européen’ (Edward Gulick, Europe's Balance of Power, New York, Cornell University Press, 1955; L. Dehio, The Precarious Balance: The Politics of Power in Europe, 1494–1945, London, Chatto and Windus, 1963), it should not be dismissed too easily given its long-term history and its current relevance, at least at the global level (Stanley Hoffmann, Primacy or World Order, New York, Auckland, 1978; R. Little, Balance of Power, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007).

9 William Riker, ‘Federalism’, in Fred Greenstein and Nelson Polsby (eds), Handbook of Political Science, New York, Addison Wesley, 1975; W. Riker, Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance, Boston, Little, Brown, 1964. What is really fascinating is that such a view may be held by hard-nosed rational-choice individualists, Riker himself or Hayek (F. Hayek, The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism, 1938, reprinted in F. Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order, London, Rouledge, 1948), as well as by people holding an opposite sociological view, for example the economist François Perroux, cited below, the influential French lawyer of the 1930s and 1940s Georges Scelle, (Georges Scelle, Précis de droit des gens, Paris, Sirey, 1932, reprinted by C.N.R.S, 1981, pp. 187–287; Georges Scelle, Le fédéralisme européen et ses difficultés politiques, Nancy, Centre européen, 1952) and the equally influential Paul Reuter. Reuter's role next to Jean Monnet in the implementation of the ‘Déclaration Schuman’ should not be overlooked (Paul Reuter and Jean Combacau, Institutions et relations internationales, Paris, PUF, 1985, p. 289).

10 Although this can be logically proved by rational-choice approaches, I prefer to recommend a superb illustration drawn from the analysis of British–American relations in the Second World War by a scholar deeply committed to the ‘special relationship’: Andrew Roberts, Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, New York, Harper, 2008. We should not be misled into thinking that this is one more ‘heroic’ piece of history. Was it a case of what the Lisbon Treaty calls a ‘sincere cooperation’?

11 Carl Friedrich, Man and his Government. An Empirical Theory of Politics, New York, McGraw Hill, 1963; S. N. Eisenstadt, ‘The Scope and Development of Political Sociology’, in S. N. Eisenstadt (ed.), Political Sociology, New York, Basic Books, 1971, pp. 3–24. For a rigorous logical presentation using the two core terms of ‘aggregation’ and ‘directiveness’, Frohock, Fred, ‘The Structure of Politics’, American Political Science Review, 72: 3 (1978), pp. 859–70. Although I agree with Wolker Balli about the need to take seriously concepts such as ‘constitutive for the European polity’ (a much-needed and easily neglected statement), I do not think his definition of a polity as ‘a configuration of agreements to collectively address common problems’ is precise enough, being too close to the ‘Guidebook’ issued by the Commission and quoted as an epigraph to my text (W. Balli, ‘Power and Gestalt of Political Concepts. A Study of the Emergence, Nature and Self Understanding of the European Union Polity’, PhD thesis, Florence, European University Institute, 2009).

12 On the notion of ‘compulsory membership’, see Gérard Bergeron, Fonctionnement de l'état, Paris, A. Colin, 1965.

13 This is the meaning of the liberal tradition represented by Humboldt, for example. I recognize that the libertarian movement, sometimes rejoined by its symmetrical enemy advocating a god-given politico-religious order, holds the reverse view. Only the interactions of individuals or believers have no specific domain ascribed to them, and the polity, being a derivative entity (and concept), is from the very beginning something to which some domain should be attributed by the pre-political social arrangements. It remains that nowadays this anti-Aristotelian view can only be implemented by the operation of agents recognized by a polity, unless those agents are opposed by a rival polity or a ‘quasi’ or ‘anti’ polity (see below note 15) in the cases of collapsed states such as Somalia, among others.

14 Larry Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, London, Allen Lane, 2000. Also, M. P. Maduro, ‘Europe and the Constitution: What if This Is as Good as It Gets’, in J. H. H. Weiler and J. Wind (eds), European Constitutionalism. Beyond the State, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001; Halberstam, D., ‘Of Power and Responsibility: The Political Morality of Federal Systems’, Virginia Law Review, 90: 3 (2004), pp. 732834 . Compare Siedentop's stance with Ivor Jennings's dubbing of federation as a complicated system nobody really desires but settles for, for want of anything better (Ivor Jennings, A Federation for Western Europe, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1940). Note that Siedentop speaks of a ‘federal state’ whereas Olivier Beaud seeks to disconnect a Federation (with a capital ‘F’) from any reference to a theory of a federal State (with a capital ‘S’, meaning that it is the unique and exclusive holder of an indivisible sovereignty in a given territory), Beaud, Théorie de la fédération, p. 13. The crux of the matter is that Beaud stays resolutely away from the Hobbesian narrative basing a monolithic concept of sovereignty on individualism and that he does not construe federalism from the point of view of the individual to whom the Federation would grant more rights (ibid., p. 198). For these very reasons, he sees no logical discontinuity between ‘interstate’ and ‘intrastate’ federalism, a point that an institutional theory of the EU could, and should, emphasize. But it does not follow that Beaud dismisses the necessity of a federal state in a Federation, a point that the ‘new federalists’ such as Kalypso Nicolaïdis are all too willing to miss (see K. Nicolaïdis and R. Howse (eds), The Federal Vision. Legitimacy and Levels of Government in the European Union, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, and below). In my opinion, Olivier Beaud's work is the best institutional theory of federation available, with Christoph Schönberger, Unionbürger. Europas federales Burgerrecht in vergleischender Sicht, Tübingen, Mohr, 2005; and Schönberger, Christoph, ‘European Citizenship as Federal Citizenship. Some Citizenship Lessons of Contemporary Federalism’, European Review of Public Law, 19: 1 (2007), pp. 6182 .

15 Can non-territorial polities exist such as the ‘dissenting’ nomadic tribes that do not pay taxes to the nominal ruler? If those tribes are sedentary they have actually a territory and if they are not they carry their territory with them like a tortoise its shell or a ship its nationality. There may be ‘quasi-polities’, either legitimate (the religious order of the Knights Templars until Philip IV of France destroyed them) or illegitimate such as some types of mafias and groups of outlaws. The issues here are: ‘is there a genuine rule of law in these would be polities?’ and ‘do they pursue a more general end besides making money?’ The international networks of organized crime are more anti-polities than genuine polities, even though Charles Tilly's analogy between state-making and organized crime holds some value and some states are so deeply penetrated that the idea of ‘mafia state’ has been ventured. See for example Misha Glenny, McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, New York, Knopf, 2008. On the modern state as a specific kind of polity, see Gianfranco Poggi, The Development of the Modern State, London, Hutchinson, 1978; Hendrik Spruyt, The Sovereign State and its Competitors, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994. On the ‘state tradition’, see Kenneth Dyson, The State Tradition in Western Europe. A Study of an Idea and Institution, Oxford, Martin Robertson, 1978.

16 I am not the least bit scornful of analyses showing that rulers can create a fictitious threat for their own benefit (Murray Edelman, The Politics of Misinformation, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001). Yet they prove only that if an agent has a vested interest in manipulating polemics, it is due to the possible presence of a real threat. If that were not the case, the ruler would have no interest in such a move since it would be an irrational miscalculation – great cost and uncertain benefit.

17 For a study of the officials' efforts, see Chris Shore, Building Europe. The Cultural Politics of European Integration, London, Routledge, 2000. To have an idea of the difference with the ordinary opinions, see Gaxie, D. and Hubé, N., ‘Projet concorde. Les conceptions ordinaires de l'Europe. Une approche de sociologie politique compréhensive’, Politique européenne, 23 (2007), pp. 179–82; and S. Duchesne, F. Haegel, E. Frazer, V. Van Ingelgom, G. Garcia and A.-P. Frognier, ‘L'Union Européenne se dissout-elle dans la globalisation? Différences sociales et cadres nationaux dans l'analyse d'entretiens collectifs réalisés en France, en Belgique (francophone) et au Royaume-Uni’, Politique européenne, 2010, forthcoming. Among the main differences are weak salience of the European issue, ignorance of the remote past and presence of the post-colonial issue. The only surveys that might be relevant to the construction of European narratives would concern the intellectual elites and the officials (e.g. R. Wodak, ‘National and Transnational Identities. European and Other Identities Constructed in Interviews with EU Officials’, in R. K. Harmann, T. Risse and M. B. Brewer (eds), Becoming European in the EU, Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), but the results might be rather conventional since it is well documented that the internalization of the EU's rules influences the civil servants' actions (J. Peterson and E. Bomberg, Decision Making in the European Union, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). The thesis of ‘epistemic professionalism’ is not very fruitful in that case, but it may be useful to account for differences in how things are done in various member states, one of Zielonka's more powerful arguments, as we will see below.

18 Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vol. 1, Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1984, pp. 3 and 64–70. On the epistemological status of narratives, see Shenshaw, Shaul R., ‘Political Narratives and Political Reality’, International Political Science Review, 27: 3 (2006), pp. 245–62 (a resolutely anti-relativist stance).

19 See the thoughtful remarks of the historian Edmund Morgan about the ‘make-believe’ notions enabling, in Hume's terms, the governors who have nothing to support them but opinion (a Machiavellian insight that struck Napoleon Bonaparte like a flash of lightning) to achieve ‘the wonder of governance’ through which so many should willingly submit to being ruled by the few. Morgan takes as a relevant example the Madisonian fiction of ‘popular sovereignty’ complemented at Philadelphia by ‘the American people’. But the fiction was sufficiently close to fact to allow a suspension of disbelief and so Madison's invention worked (E. Morgan, ‘The Founding Fathers' Problem: Representation’, in E. Morgan, American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America, New York, Norton, 2008). This is a fine description, albeit not an explanation, of a ‘well-grounded illusion’.

20 J. Rifkin, The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004. For another essay in daydreaming, see M. Leonard, Why Europe Will Run the Twenty-First Century, London, Fourth Estate, 2004. If S. Fabbrini is to be believed, the USA and Europe are becoming similar (S. Fabbrini, Compound Democracies. Why the United States and Europe Are Becoming Similar, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007) but, for Rifkin and Leonard, they have quite different dreams. Sigmund Freud would have been delighted by the enigma. To use anthropomorphism when speaking of collectives may be hazardous. It is not, however, a sufficient reason to espouse a purely social constructivist view of the phenomenon (for example, F. Schimmelfennig, The EU, NATO and the Integration of Europe. Rules and Rhetoric, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003).

21 A. Glencross, What Makes the EU Viable? European Integration in the Light of the Antebellum Experience, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. The problem is to put those concepts in a coherent order. This is the main question of this article and the primary object of Glencross's perceptive book, to which I will return later.

22 H. White, ‘The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality’, in W. J. T. Mitchell (ed.), On Narrative, Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1980, p. 14. Also, J. S. Bruner, Actual Minds. Possible Worlds, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1986.

23 Brader, T., Valentino, N. and Suhay, E., ‘What Triggers Public Opposition to Immigration? Anxiety, Group Cues and Immigration Threat’, American Journal of Political Science, 52: 4 (2008), pp. 959–76 (an excellent experimental research). Also, J. Felzer, Public Attitudes Toward Immigration in the United States, France and Germany, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2000; Sniderman, P., Hagendoorn, L. and Prior, M., ‘Predispositional Factors and Situational Triggers. Exclusionary Reactions to Immigrant Minorities’, American Journal of Political Science, 48: 1 (2004), pp. 3550 .

24 Admittedly, it is difficult to disentangle taken-for-granted social practices from the religious justifications offered as constitutive of those practices by their agents (even though other religious agents may distance themselves from them). This is particularly obvious in matters of ‘honour killings’, which permit the killing of women (and their guilty lovers) for breaking codes of sexual conduct, for example in Pakistan (despite a law passed in 2005 making honour killing a capital offence) and also among Pakistanis in Great Britain: see Ali, Tariq, ‘Diary’, London Review of Books, 18 December 2008, p. 35 , suitably introduced by a similar story that inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Marquez blamed the socio-moral dictatorship of the Catholic Church. In Dante's Inferno, the unfaithful Francesca da Rimini and her lover, both beheaded by an outraged husband, are well placed among the damned, nothing is said about the husband.

25 On the pro and con, see W. Connolly, Why I Am Not a Secularist, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1999; J. Keane, The Political Quarterly – Secularism?, Oxford, Blackwell, 2000; T. Asad, Formation of Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2003. The universalist thesis is firmly held by R. Bhargava (ed.), Secularism and its Critics, New Dehli, Oxford University Press, 1998; R. Bhargava, Multiculturalism, Liberalism, and Democracy, New Dehli, Oxford University Press, 1999.

26 I would recommend two excellent works either ignored or demeaned by the specialists of the subfield. The first is Paul Sniderman, Multiculturalism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2006 (a study of the Netherlands that helps us to understand why in a country more culturally liberal and more critical of a rigorous position on law and order in the 1970s the parties have become by the 1990s the least culturally liberal of all the countries compared by H. Kriesi; see H. Entzinger, ‘The Rise and Fall of Multiculturalism: The Case of the Netherlands’, in C. Joppke and E. Morawska (eds), Toward Assimilation and Citizenship: Immigrants in Liberal Nation States, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 59–86). The second is Bassam Tibi, ‘Europeanizing Islam or the Islamization of Europe: Political Democracy vs. Cultural Difference’, in Timothy Byrnes and Peter Katzenstein (eds), Religion in an Expanding Europe, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006. The opposite stance, which feigns to believe that the only external pressures come from the liberal societies that want to constrain the Muslims to be secular liberals, is naively taken by (among many) J. Nielsen, ‘The Question of Euro-Islam: Restrictions or Opportunity?’, in A. Al-Azmeh and E. Fokas (eds), Islam in Europe. Diversity, Identity and Influence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 34–48; another type of polemic can be found in the second-hand yet professional enough article of Boukhars, A., ‘Islam, Jihadism, and Depoliticization in France and Germany’, International Political Science Review, 30: 3 (2009), pp. 297317 . Its main thesis is that ‘demonization’ of Islam is counter-productive and an obstacle to the definition of what is negotiable in the secular model of society. The argument seems well taken although, like many others, it follows the trendy path of feigning to ignore that such a definition has been provided time and again by serious scholars: among other fine examples see Weil, Patrick, ‘Why the French Laïcité is Liberal’, Cardozo Law Review, 30: 6 (2009), pp. 2699–714, a robust rejoinder to the American multiculturalists' unwarranted attacks (J. W. Scott, J. Bowen and J. Carens). Moreover, Boukhars ignores the reverse question: why is the symmetric ‘demonization’ of non-Muslims in several Islamic countries productive? Let us note that in an article dealing inter alia with Germany Bassam Tibi, who teaches and publishes mostly in German, is not even mentioned, which makes his work all the more commendable, as well as the whole Byrnes and Katzenstein book, which deals seriously with the problem of multiple modernities raised by Eisenstadt and Berger and Huntington ( Eisenstadt, S. N., ‘Multiple Modernities’, Daedalus, 129: 1 (2002), pp. 129 ; P. Berger and S. Huntington (eds), Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002), a topic I will only address in passing. In any case, the heated and confusing debates about the vices and virtues of two models of integration (multicultural and republican, see below) strongly suggest that there is no more a European model in this matter than in matters of welfare, an argument that bothers hard-nosed federalists who ignore that it may be a blessing in disguise for the soft federalists, and suits the ‘imperialists’ who ignore that a modern ‘democratic empire’ may be in trouble when leaving both topics to the nation states' discretion.

27 John Gunnell, Political Theory. Tradition and Interpretation, Cambridge, MA, Winthrop, 1979. On political theory (pt), empirical, normative or prescriptive, as a subfield of academic political science, and Political Theory (PT) as an interdisciplinary activity extending far beyond the limits of professional political science to comprehend philosophers, linguists, historians, memorialists, essayists, political (and other) agents trying to make sense of their practice, see John Gunnell, ‘Political Theory. The Evolution of a Subfield’, in Ada Finifter (ed.), Political Science. The State of the Discipline, Washington, DC, American Political Science Association, 1983. Thirty years on, I do not find these texts outmoded, though they claimed to signal the end of traditional Political Theory, now thriving in political science. It is probably because I am under the overwhelming impression, seemingly shared by Simon Hix, that political time has gone mad and so a genuine political theory (PT as well as pt) is more necessary than ever, provided it abides by the caveats mentioned in the first part of this article (this corollary statement is mine and Hix does not take a specific stance on that methodological issue).

28 See Furio Cerutti and Sonia Lucarelli (eds), The Search for a European Identity. Values, Policies and Legitimacy of the European Union, London, Routledge, 2008 (one of the editors has dealt at length elsewhere with the problem of ‘the soul of the city’: Furio Cerutti and Enno Rudolph (eds), A Soul for Europe, 2 vols, Leuven, Peters, 2001). There is some relation here to the discursive institutionalism advocated by Vivien Schmidt in her excellent critical review of institutionalist theories ( Schmidt, Vivien, ‘The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse’, Annual Review of Political Science, 11 (2008), pp. 303–26), although those grand narratives are somewhat different from the specific public policy narratives described by Claudio Radaelli ( Radaelli, C., ‘Logiques de pouvoir et récits dans les politiques publiques de l'Union Européenne’, Revue française de science politique, 50: 2 (2000), pp. 255–75).

29 Swidler, Ann, ‘Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies’, American Sociological Review, 52 (1986), pp. 273–86.

30 Schmidt, Vivien, ‘Re-Envisioning the European Union: Identity, Democracy, Economy’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 47: Annual Review (2009), pp. 24–5. For an earlier study of discourses, see K. Joergensen (ed.), Reflective Approaches to European Governance, London, Macmillan, 1997. I am emphasizing here the difference between discourse and narrative but discourse may be used as a broader concept than narrative since, as a linguistic phenomenon, a narrative belongs to the discursive category (J. Wilson, ‘Political Discourse’, in D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen and H. E. Hamilton, The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, Oxford, Blackwell, 2001, pp. 398ff). On the last and least conceptualized but very widespread discourse mentioned by Schmidt, see Howorth, J., ‘The Case for an EU Grand Strategy’, Egmont Papers, 27 (2009), pp. 1824 . Edward Luttwak, specialist of the grand strategy of the Roman and Byzantine empires, would be horrified by such an extension of the term. Yet it is still possible to venture that a new type of empire needs a new type of grand strategy.

31 Quentin Skinner, Hobbes and Republican Liberty, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.

32 As Juan Diez Medrano has observed, the European citizens' images of the EU and the European integration process are always filtered by national and subnational cultures (J. Diez Medrano, Framing Europe. Attitudes to European Integration in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2003, p. 249). See Justine Lacroix and Kalypso Nicolaïdis (eds), European Stories, Oxford, Oxford University Press, forthcoming. Their study is limited to the ‘EU stories’. It may happen that the process works in a reverse order, Europe being a reference point embedded in the constructions of national identities, as the social constructivists such as Ole Waever and Thomas Diez have argued (a familiar thesis long applied to the construction of national public policies, e.g. Muller, P., ‘Entre le local et L'Europe. La crise du modèle français de politiques publiques’, Revue française de science politique, 42: 2 (1992), pp. 275–97). On the idea of Europe before the EU and its near antecedents, see Anthony Pagden, The Idea of Europe from Antiquity to European Union, Washington, DC, and New York, Wilson Centre and Cambridge University Press, 2002, and a recent essay, L. Jaume, Qu'est-ce que l'esprit européen, Paris, Flammarion, 2010. On the national and nationalist narratives coming in bits and pieces, see Joep Leerssen, National Thought in Europe. A Cultural History, Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam Press, 2007.

33 On Great Britain and Europe before the splendid isolation see Tony Claydon, Europe and the Making of England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007. On a territorial versus borderless Europe, compare, for example, Jean-Louis Quermonne, L'Union Européenne dans le temps long, Paris, Presses de Sciences-po, 2008 (with a preface by Jacques Delors) and – from more than 50 years earlier – François Perroux, L'Europe sans rivages, Paris, PUF, 1954. Perroux was very critical of a federal Europe construed as a nation state writ large without being a nationalist for all that. I suspect Quermonne of still being a ‘soft’ federalist who has submitted to enduring the resilient legitimacy of the nation state, M. Croisat and J.-L. Quermonne, L'Europe et le fédéralisme; contribution à l'émergence d'un fédéralisme intergouvernemental, Paris, Montchrestien, 1999.

34 Menon, Anand, ‘French Follies’, Politique européenne, 25 (2008), p. 228 . The ‘joint decision trap’ alludes to Fritz Scharpf's famous paper, Scharpf, Fritz, ‘The Joint-Decision Trap: Lessons from German Federalism and European Integration’, Public Administration, 66 (1988), pp. 239–78; and Scharpf, F., ‘The Joint-Decision Trap Revisited’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 44: 4 (2006), pp. 245–64. More on that later.

35 I had to leave out the consociative model. See Bogaards, M., ‘Consociational Interpretations of the European Union’, European Union Politics, 3: 3 (2002), pp. 357–82; Costa, O. and Magnette, P., ‘The European Union as a Consociation? A Methodological Assessment’, West European Politics, 26: 3 (2003), pp. 118 .

36 In response to Renaud Dehousse's remark in a seminar held at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris on 4 June 2009. On the US bias see Vivien Schmidt, Democracy in Europe. The EU and National Polities, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006, reviewed by Rosamond, Ben, ‘Open Political Science, Methodological Nationalism and European Union Studies’, Government and Opposition, 43: 4 (2008), pp. 599612 . One of her main theses is that compound national polities (a term coined after the compound republic in The Federalist, p. 39; see the authoritative Vincent Ostrom, The Political Theory of a Compound Republic: Designing the American Experiment, Lincoln, NE, University of Nebraska Press, 1987) with strong traditions of authority dispersal, as in Germany and Italy, fit better with the EU than simple polities with an ethos and structure of centralization, as in France and Great Britain. I cannot help thinking that beyond the German and Italian cases she has in mind the United States while dealing with her European region state as a federation in the making (although in her more recent text she seems to waver in her appraisal: Schmidt, ‘Re-Envisioning the European Union’). I am not claiming that she makes a comparison by similarity between the EU and the USA. Actually she contrasts them and she does not dream of taking Mr Van Rumpuy and Lady Ashton for the new European George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who did not have to coexist with a ‘rotating president’ of the American governors. But she sees the EU through the lenses of her location as a citizen of the USA. A caveat: this is a truncated version of the USA, more a congressional government with its subtle party system combining a relatively moderate ideological struggle for the conquest of power positions with a ‘desideologization’ of policy-making based on interests and consensus-seeking (I am not sure Schmidt is still right, given the recession of bipartisanship in the hottest issues today, religion and health care), than a presidential government with its elected king of a strong federal state. It is more a soft civilian power with social concerns than the hard imperial power described by Ferguson. It is likely that this USA is what Schmidt wishes her country to be and her EU a sort of imperfect USA. I am struck as an afterthought that her picture of the EU is a mix of Simon Hix's effort to set up what she calls ‘more federal institutional relations’ between the member states (p. 273) and Colomer's and Zielonka's remarks that the EU works if and only if it eschews ideological politics (once again, in Schmidt's recent article she seems to have partially changed her mind to come slightly closer to Simon Hix).

37 This is vindicated by the empirical measures and explanations of the distribution of opinions legitimizing the EU among the European citizenry, for example Duchesne, Sophie, ‘Waiting for European Identity. Preliminary Thoughts About the Identification Process with Europe’, Perspectives on European Societies and Politics, 9: 4 (2008), pp. 397410 ; Duchesne, S. and Frognier, A.-P., ‘National and European Identification. A Dual Relationship’, Comparative European Politics, 6 (2008), pp. 143–68.

38 Following Michael Oakeshott, I am merely transposing the Aristotelian figure of the theoros/bios theoretikos from a world where politics is a matter of art and ethics, and history is just a reservoir of examples regardless of the stages of historical development when they occur, to a world where historicism reigns while politics may be also, at least partially, an object of hard science. Michael Oakeshott's subtle and critical reflections are still well worth reading for his apology of conversation against management and institutional engineering (two necessary tools today), his distinction between religious and civil association and his emphasis on universitas and societas, useful to deepen our understanding of the European past and present. Michael Oakeshott, On Human Conduct, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1975. See also his Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays, London, Methuen, 1962, and The Politics of Faith and the Politics of Scepticism, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 1996 (first published 1952).

39 Schmidt, ‘Re-Envisioning the European Union’. To know her prescriptions the reader must be patient and wait until the Conclusion of the present text.

40 Bellamy, R. and Castiglione, D., ‘Legitimizing Euro-“Polity” and its “Regime”’, European Journal of Political Theory, 2: 1 (2003), pp. 734 .

41 On the difference between a mixed government and the classical separation of powers related to the regime mixte, see Maurice Vile, Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 1998. We will return to that important difference later. I thank Christopher Bickerton for emphasizing it to my benefit (C. Bickerton, ‘Europe's Neo-Madisonians. Rethinking the Legitimacy of Limited Power in a Multilevel Polity’, unpublished typescript, 2009).

42 Nobody has questioned for a long time the simple reality of the growing trend towards power-sharing in the EU ( Garrett, G. and Tsebelis, G., ‘An Institutional Critique of Intergovernmentalism’, International Organization, 50: 2 (1996), pp. 269–99).

43 This is where I differ with an otherwise very good work in European constitutional legal theory, Sébastien Roland, Le triangle décisionnel à l'aune de la théorie de la séparation des pouvoirs. Recherches sur la distribution des pouvoirs législatif et exécutif dans la Communauté, Brussels, Bruylant, 2008. To be more specific, practising a language mix is not at all the same as having within a single polity ‘a variety of governing institutions…based on…divergent constitutional conceptions’ (A. King, The British Constitution, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 352). Nor is it the use of ambiguity within a single language: ambiguity is a basic property of most of the natural languages since it may be useful for defusing conflict by casting a ‘veil of vagueness’ on social arrangements (D. Gibson and R. Goodin, ‘The Veil of Vagueness: A Model of Institutional Design’, in M. Egenberg and P. Laegreid (eds), Organizing Political Institutions: Essays for Johan P. Olsen, Oslo, Scandinavian University Press, 1999, pp. 357-–85; Erk, J. and Gagnon, J.-L., ‘Constitutional Ambiguity and Federal Trust: The Codification of Federalism in Belgium, Canada and Spain’, Regional and Federal Studies, 10: 1 (2000), pp. 92111 ). If one puts together the language of international organizations (which are systems of polities) and the language of domestic institutions, that will suffice as long as one is trying to describe and explain some empirical arrangements born of the pragmatism of practical politics but not if one tries to offer such a description as an institutional feature of a polity, for example in taking Madison's compound republic for a theory of the EU as it is today.

44 Besides the references in the first part of this article, see B. G. Peters and J. Pierre, ‘Multi-Level Governance and Democracy: A Faustian Bargain?’, in T. Bache and M. Flinders (eds), Multi-Level Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004; Piattoni, S., ‘Multi-Level Governance: A Historical and Conceptual Analysis’, Journal of European Integration, 31: 2 (2009), pp. 163–80.

45 Nicolaïdis, K. and Moravcsik, A., ‘Federal Ideals and Constitutional Realities in the Treaty of Amsterdam’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 36: Annual Review (1998), pp. 1338 ; K. Nicolaïdis, ‘Conclusion. The Federal Vision Beyond the Federal State’, in Nicolaïdis and Howse, Federal Visions, pp. 430–43.

46 Moravcsik, A., ‘In Defence of Democratic Legitimacy: Reassessing the Legitimacy of the European Union’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 40: 4 (2002), pp. 603–24. The same argument has been made by C. Sabel and J. Zeitlin in a different debate, cited in the first part of this article.

47 Menon, A. and Weatherhill, S., ‘Transnational Legitimacy in a Globalizing World: How the European Union Rescues its States’, West European Politics, 31: 3 (2008), pp. 397416 .

48 Bellamy, R., ‘Sovereignty, Post Sovereignty and Pre Sovereignty: Three Models of State, Democracy and Rights within the EU’, in Walker, N. (ed.), Sovereignty in Transition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003 .

49 Compare these justifications of the EU to the argument for multilateralism made by Keohane, R., Macedo, S. and Moravcsik, A., ‘Democracy Enhancing Multilateralism’, International Organization, 63 (2008), pp. 131 : multilateralism combats special interests, protects individual and minority rights and improves the quality of public deliberation. Does that mean that such an international organization is itself democratic? Robert Dahl has some doubts (R. Dahl, ‘Can International Organizations be Democratic? A Skeptic's View’, in I. Shapiro and C. Hastier-Goralm (eds), Democracy's Edge, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999).

50 Nicolaïdis, K., ‘Constitutionalizing the Federal Vision?’, in Menon, A. and Schain, M. (eds), Comparative Federalism. The EU and US in Comparative Perspective, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 5992 .

51 C. Lord, ‘Parliamentary Representation in a Decentred Polity’, in B. Kohler-Koch and D. Rittberger (eds), Debating the Democratic Legitimacy in the European Union, Plymouth, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, p. 149. Still the Hobbesian question stands: quis judicabit? Lord points at the absence of location of sovereignty in the EU, a question that Nicolaïdis thinks we would better forget (Nicolaïdis, ‘Constitutionalizing the Federal Vision?’).

52 W. I. Thomas, W. I. Thomas on Social Organization and Social Personality, ed. M. Janowitz, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1966, p. 42. Merton's ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ is echoed here.

53 Deudney, D., ‘Publius Before Kant: Federal-Republican Security and Democratic Peace’, European Journal of International Relations, 10: 3 (2004), pp. 315–56. On the many faces of the current debates see Buchanan, A. and Powell, R., ‘Survey Article: Constitutional Democracy and the Rules of International Law: Are They Compatible?’, Journal of Political Philosophy, 16: 3 (2008), pp. 326–49.

54 On the distinction, see Russell Hardin, One for All: The Logic of Group Conflict, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1995, chs 4ff.

55 Economist, 12 September 2009, p. 40. That the statement comes from a journal firmly dedicated to what V. Schmidt has called a ‘pragmatic’ discourse does not prevent it being true, and no narrative could ignore it, even though it may propose an alternative vision.

56 Hanspeter Kriesi, Edgar Grande, Romain Lachat, Martin Dolezal, Simon Bornschier and Timotheos Frey, West European Politics in the Age of Globalization, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p. 9. The two terms are borrowed from Bertrand Badie, ‘Le jeu triangulaire’, in Pierre Birnbaum (ed.), Sociologie des nationalismes, Paris, PUF, 1995, pp. 447–62.

57 Ruggie, John Gerard, ‘Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations’, International Organization, 47: 1 (1993), pp. 139–74; David. Held, A. McGrew, D. Goldblatt and J. Perraton, Global Transformations, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999; M. Zürn, Regieren jenseits der Nationalstaats. Globaliesierung und Denationalisierung als Chance, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp, 1998; M. Beisheim, S. Dreher, G. Walter, B. Zangl and M. Zürn, Im Zeitalter der Globalisierung? Thesen und Daten zur gesellschaftlichen und politischen Denationalisierung, Baden Baden, Nomos Verlag, 1999; see also the insightful Z. Bauman, Globalization. The Human Consequences, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1998.

58 Henrikson, A., ‘Distance and Foreign Policy: A Political Geography Approach’, International Political Science Review, 23: 4 (2002), pp. 437–66. I would still recommend looking at Jean Gottmann, The Geography of Europe, 3rd edn, New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1965.

59 Kojève, A., Outline of a Phenomenology of Right, Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000 .

60 Isabelle Stengers, Cosmopolitiques, Paris, La Découverte, 1996–97; Timothy Brennan, At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997; Bruce Robbins and Pheng Cheah (eds), Cosmopolitics, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1998; Ulrich Beck, World Risk Society, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999. Note that Ulrich Beck and Edgar Grande, Kosmopolitische Europa, Frankfurt, Suhrkampf, 2004 (published in English with the same title: Cosmopolitan Europe, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2007) was translated into French under the title Pour un empire européen, Paris, Flammarion, 2007. Seven centuries earlier Dante's Monarchia was a case of advocacy of an universal peace through a universal empire: Dante Alighieri, Monarchia (a cura di Bruno Nardi), in Opere minori, vol. 2, Milan and Naples, Riccardo Ricciardi, 1979, I, VI, p. 6. On the interpretation of Dante's dual visions of an empire religiously providential according to God's will, and of a civic empire (the emperor as ‘the rider of the human will’), see Charles Till Davis, ‘Dante and the Empire’, in Rachel Jacoff (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Dante, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 63–79; Thierry Ménissier, ‘Monarchia de Dante. De l'idée médiévale d'empire à la citoyenneté universelle’, in Thierry Ménissier (ed.), L'idée d'empire dans la pensée politique, historique, juridique et philosophique, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2006, pp. 81–96. On the Roman Empire as dominium mundi, see Dominic Lieven, Empire. The Russian Empire and its Rivals, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2000. On the use of the legacy by the Roman Church, see James Muldoon, Empire and Order. The Concept of Empire (800–1800), New York, St Martin's Press, 1999, pp. 101–13.

61 Manuel Barrata, The Politics of World Federation, 2 vols, Westport, CT, Praeger, 2004. On the idea of a global government, Falk, Richard, ‘International Law and the Future’, Third World Quarterly, 27: 5 (2006), pp. 727–37; Wendt, Alexander, ‘Why a World State is Inevitable: Teleology and the Logic of Anarchy’, European Journal of International Relations, 9: 4 (2003), pp. 491542 . See the ensuing debate: Vaughn Shannon, ‘Wendt's Violation of the Constructivist Project: Agency and Why a World State is Not Inevitable’, and Wendt, A., ‘Agency, Teleology and the World State: A Reply to Shannon’, European Journal of International Relations, 11: 4 (2005), pp. 581–7 and 588–98. I feel inclined to uphold Shannon's stance whatever my feelings about the constructivist project might be. See the linguistic embarrassment of Anne-Marie Slaughter in her widely praised book, Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2004: most of the reluctance to revive the federal topic is due to the misgivings about the idea of a ‘world government’ liable to be a top-down tyranny in a dystopia (Michael Walzer, Arguing About War, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2004, pp. 171–91; Richard Falk, Achieving Human Rights, London, Routledge, 2009, pp. 11–24. Hence the shift to the less offensive and more horizontal ‘governance’ and sometimes the use of ‘government’ for ‘governance’. For example, James Yunker, Political Globalization: A New Vision of Federal World Government, Lanham, MD, University Press of America, 2008; Craig, Campbell, ‘The Resurgent Idea of a World Government’, Ethics and International Affairs, 22: 2 (2008), pp. 133–42. Unfortunately, ‘global governance’ is open to the same critiques, and so is the idea of empire. We will return to the topic when exposing the imperial narrative.

62 Wallace, W., ‘The Sharing of Sovereignty: The European Paradox’, Political Studies, 47: 3 (1999), pp. 503–21; Heartfield, J., ‘The Decline of Sovereignty in Western Europe’, International Politics, 46: 6 (2009), pp. 712–31. On the ‘fragmentation’ at the state level see E. Grande and U. Beck (eds), Political Control and New Statehood, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2003. Wouter, W. and De Wikle, J., ‘The Endurance of Sovereignty’, European Journal of Intrnational Relations, 7: 3 (2001), pp. 283313 .

63 On this stance, see Mc Cormick, Neil, ‘Beyond the Sovereign State’, Modern Law Review, 56: 1 (1993), pp. 128 .

64 S. Krasner, Sovereignty. Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1999; Lawson, G. and Shilliam, R., ‘Beyond Hypocrisy? Debating the “Fact” and “Value” of Sovereignty in Contemporary World Politics’, International Politics, 46: 6 (2009), pp. 657–70. On the organization of hypocrisy at the micro level, see Nils Brunsson, The Organization of Hypocrisy, Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School Press, 2002.

65 R. Keohane, ‘Hobbes's Dilemma and Institutional Changes in World Politics: Sovereignty in International Society’, in H. Holm and G. Sorensen (eds), Whose World Order? Uneven Globalisation and the New World Order, London, Westview, 1995, p. 175; A. Chayes and P. Chayes, The New Sovereignty: Compliance with International Regulatory Regimes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1995. On the uses of sovereignty in the EU, see R. Adler-Nissen and T. Gammeltoft-Hansen (eds), Sovereignty Games: Instrumentalizing State Sovereignty in a European and Global Context, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

66 Rosenberg, J., The Empire of Civil Society. A Critique of the Realist Theory of International Relations, London, Verso, 1994, p. 127 .

67 Cooper, R., The Breaking of Nations. Order and Chaos in the Twenty First Century, London, Atlantic Books, 2004 .

68 Bickerton, C., ‘From Brezhnev to Brussels: Transformations of Sovereignty in Eastern Europe’, International Politics, 46: 6 (2009), pp. 732–52.

69 See the qualified and careful defence of a conditional and contextual sovereignty by Cohen, Jean, ‘Whose Sovereignty? Empire Versus International Law’, Ethics and International Affairs, 18: 4 (2004), pp. 124 .

70 On the particular example of private international law, Jansen, Nils and Michaels, Ralf, ‘Private Law Beyond the State? Europeanization, Globalization, Privatization’, American Journal of Comparative Law, 54 (2006), pp. 843–90; Adrian Briggs, Agreements on Jurisdiction and Choice of Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008; Wai, Robert, ‘Transnational Liftoff and Juridical Touchdown: The Regulatory Function of Private International Law in an Era of Globalization’, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 40 (2009), pp. 209–74; Horatia Muir-Watt and D. Bureau, ‘L'impérativité désactivée’, Revue critique de doit international privé, 1 (2009); H. Muir-Watt, ‘Le principe d'autonomie entre libéralisme et néo-libéralisme’, in M. Fallon, P. Lagarde and S. Poillot-Perruzzeto (eds), La matière civile et commerciale, socle d'un code européen de droit international privé?, Paris, Dalloz, 2009.

71 See on the legal and anthropological basis of that conception Alain Supiot, ‘L'inscription territoriale des lois’, Esprit, December 2008, p. 151.

72 H. Muir-Watt, ‘L'affaire Lloyd's: globalisation des marchés et contentieux contractuel’, Revue critique de droit international privé, 2002, p. 509, V. L. Radicati di Brozolo, ‘Antitrust: A Paradigm of the Relations Between Mandatory Rules and Arbitration. A Fresh Look at a Second Look’, International Arbitration Law Review (2004), p. 23.

73 F. J. Garcia, ‘The Moral Hazard Problem in Global Economic Regulation’, Boston College Law School (2008) p. 227.

74 H. Muir-Watt, ‘Les normes sociales et le marché global du travail: comment sortir de la spirale vers le bas?’, in A. Lyon-Caen and Q. Urban (eds), Le droit du travail à l'épreuve de la globalisation, Paris, Dalloz, 2008, p. 9.

75 Bickerton, ‘From Brezhnev to Brussels’.

76 Elstrup-Sangiovanni, M. and Verdier, D., ‘European Integration as a Solution to War’, European Journal of International Relations, 11: 1 (2005), pp. 99135 .

77 Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World, London, Penguin/Allen Lane, 2005. On the place of war in the international system in the previous period, see Jack Levy, War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495–1975, Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, 1983; K. J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflict and International Order, 1648–1989, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989. On the long-range history of military technology, see the introductory book of Martin Van Creveld, Technology and War. From 2000 BC to the Present, New York, Free Press, 1991. On the current role of ‘Web 2.0’ see T. Rid and M. Hecker, War 2.0. Irregular Warfare in the Information Age, Westport, Praeger, 2009. On the ethical issues, see Michael Gross, Moral Dilemmas of Modern War: Torture, Assassination, and Blackmail in an Age of Asymmetric Conflict, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009. For a case study of political and military issues, see Samy Cohen, Tsahal à l'épreuve du terrorisme, Paris, Le Seuil, 2009 (English translation, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, 2010). It is fascinating to notice that the rapid spreading of the legal notion of ‘crime against humanity’ used by serious UN reports to expose, say, the actions of Tsahal and the Hamas in Gaza goes hand in hand with the development of this type of war, although the concept was constructed out of the asymmetric behaviour of states agents during the ‘symmetric war’ of 1939–45. Let me use that example to emphasize that in a world where military expenditures exceeded 1.2 trillion in current dollars in 2006 (SIPRI Yearbook 2007, Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, Oxford and Stockholm, Oxford University Press and International Peace Research Institute, 2007) the probability of a mega war (a symmetric transformational war analogous to the Napoleonic wars and the Second World War) is ‘no less than about 15% and most likely around 20%, that is 10 to 100 times higher than the probability of global natural catastrophes and infinitely more destructive than global terrorism’ (Vaclav Smil, Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2007). I would not have paid attention to this exercise in futurology and major risk assessment, being as aware as any well-heeled scholar of the futility of long-range prophecies and the prejudices carried along by these discursive social constructions and so on, had it not been for the prestige of its publishing house and, more important, the seriousness and prudence of its assessments (although certain comparisons between statistics regardless of their meaning to the real people are somewhat farfetched).

78 Charles de Gaulle and the arch-collaborationist Pierre Laval were both deeply devoted to France's survival in 1940. In 1940 Laval had as many patriotic and many more democratic and pacifist credentials than de Gaulle; in 1945 the former was executed for treason by the latter after a slapdash trial acclaimed by the vast democratic majority of the French people. Perhaps the social constructivists have something to say on that question? Risse-Kappen, T., ‘Democratic Peace? Warlike Democracies? A Social Constructivist Interpretation of the Liberal Argument’, European Journal of International Relations, 1 (1995), pp. 491517 .

79 Knut-Eric Jorgensen, ‘The European Union's Performance in World Politics’, in Jan Zielonka (ed.), Paradoxes of European Foreign Policy, The Hague, Kluwer, 1998. Also, see in the same book the contribution of Christopher Hill, ‘Convergence, Divergence and Dialectics: National Foreign Policies and the CFSP’.

80 Peter A. Meyers, Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2008. The problem is that 9/11 is not only a culture, or a concept; it happened as a fact of life. In terms of ‘social construction of reality’, it was an empirical reality, a first-order construct analogous to Mount Everest, giving rise to a second-order, cultural, construct. In sum, the book strikes me as a benign version of the postmodern and erudite Russian studies that reduce Stalinist totalitarianism to a giant projection of Socialist Realism onto the whole society (which is true) minus the KGB and the gulags. Besides, he does not deign to notice that what is a disastrous consequence in the USA is precisely the beneficial goals intentionally pursued by their enemies (say, the Afghan Talibans), namely the conflation of foreign war and domestic conflicts and the promotion of a ‘culture of emergency’– two core features of times of war. However he may be right on one point: the ‘civic war’ may look to be a way to escape the perverse effect of America's global aspiration to pre-eminence as an exemplar of democratic potential, namely its increasing exposure to critical assessments of its democratic credentials (as noted by M. Foley, American Credo. The Place of Ideas in US Politics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 466) since in times of war the democratic standards should be significantly lower, at least to the national public opinion. Unfortunately it is exposed to the retort that it is wrong and non-democratic for a democracy to wage this kind of war. The EU may think that its peaceful outlook protects it from such an indictment, which remains to be seen. There is no logical solution reconciling political ethics and materiel security when some parties have decided one is their enemy whatever one claims to be.

81 Vaclav Smil (Smil, Global Catastrophes) looks to be a victim of such an apparent contradiction but it is probably due to his keen awareness of the two pictures of the world involved in the assessments of different risks, a political whole, a universum, pictured for example by the demographer Joel Cohen in his projection for 2050 (J. Cohen, ‘Make Secondary Education Universal’, Nature, 4 December, 2008, here again the prestige of the journal has made me take it seriously) or a world divided into different polities, a pluriversum. Once more we are witnessing the uneasy coexistence of war and foedus.

82 On Ireland, in comparison to Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, see Jesse, N. G., ‘Choosing to Go It Alone: Irish Neutrality in Theoretical and Comparative Perspective’, International Political Science Review, 27: 1 (2006), pp. 728 .

83 Patrick Messerlin, Measuring the Costs of Protection in Europe: European Commercial Policy in the 2000s, Washington, DC, Institute for International Economics, 2001; Sophie Meunier, Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005.

84 François Heisbourg, ‘The “European Security Strategy” is not a Security Strategy’, in S. Everts, L. Freedman, C. Grant, F. Heisbourg, D. Keohane and M. O'Hanlon (eds), A European Way of War, London, Centre for European Reform, 2004. That is related to the institutional inconsistency of the European foreign policy-making (Hill, ‘Convergence, Divergence and Dialectics’). It is also related to a type of rhetoric emphasizing ‘security’ as a presupposition of individual well-being, or as itself an element of individual well-being, rather than the state of a political unit facing a potential enemy ( Rothschild, Emma, ‘What is Security?’, Daedalus, 122 (1995), pp. 5398 ). Hence the shift in meaning to the ideas of ‘human security’ (P. Burgess et al., Promoting Human Security: Ethical, Normative and Basic Frameworks in Western Europe, Paris, UNESCO, 2007), ‘welfare security’ and ‘desecuritizing securitization’ ( Knudsen, Olav, ‘Post-Copenhagen Security Studies: Desecuritizing Securitization’, Security Dialogue, 32 (2001), pp. 355–68) that I hardly understand unless I resort to the recent financial language. In that area securitization means ‘the slicing and dicing of illiquid assets such as mortgages’, in which case the term would refer to the slicing of political concerns and assets and the refusal to put them within the all-encompassing context of the countries and the world's real security (analogous here to the real economy).

85 In accordance with the healthy distrust governing the relations between institutions and between member states, the composition of the service will be hotly debated. It seems that one-third of its members will be manned by national diplomats in secondment (the balance of nationalities remains to be determined) and the rest by European civil servants. In compensation, the service will be controlled by the sole Council, and the Parliament shall not be allowed to have a legal oversight over it. This is a nice example of power-sharing – that may work well, all things considered.

86 I am indebted to Catherine Hoeffler, who is completing her PhD dissertation in Political Science at the Paris Institut d'études politiques under the supervision of Pierre Muller. Also, Irondelle, Bastien, ‘Europeanization Without the European Union? French Military Reforms 1991–1996’, Journal of European Public Policy, 10: 3 (2003), pp. 208–26. On the concept of interoperability see B. Irondelle, Martial Foucault and Elizabeth Sheppard, Comparaison et place prospective du Royaume-Uni dans l'Europe de la défense, Paris, Ministère de la défense, Délégation aux affaires stratégiques, 2004. On the subtleties of a ‘Westphalian’ defence policy, disaggregated into a defence strategy and a military doctrine, and on the notion of a military culture, it is always recommended to turn to the specialists, for example Porch, Douglas, ‘Military “Culture” and the Fall of France in 1940’, International Security, 24: 4 (2000), pp. 157–80. On the overall problems of a European defence policy, see J. Howorth's and F. Mérand's books cited in the first part of this article.

87 François Duchêne, ‘Europe in World Peace’, in Richard Mayne (ed.), Europe Tomorrow, London, Fontana, 1972. The idea of a G2 has been ventured by the prolific lawyer Philip Bobbitt, Terror and Consent: The Wars of the Twentieth Century, New York, Knopf, 2008, a view that would horrify Colomer, whose conceptualization of the current market state (or, in his terminology, market nation) is by and large similar to Bobbitt's, albeit more carefully crafted. Most supporters of a directory of Great Powers, like Richard Rosecrance, are much more multilateralist, at least as far as the decent peoples' (in John Rawls's parlance) interests are concerned (Rosecrance speaks of ‘states’, which makes all the difference with Rawls). Today, ‘Civilian Power Europe’ is used in quite a different sense, as a power that relies on the power of the norm, both the fount and the consequence of its influence in world affairs (Zaki Laïdi, La norme sans la force. L'énigme de la puissance européenne, 2nd edn, Paris, Presses de Sciences-po, 2008, and a translation of the 1st edn, Norm over Force. The Enigma of European Power, London, Palgrave, 2008, a more realist view than that of Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manners (eds), Values and Principles in the European Foreign Policy, London, Routledge, 2006). For an authoritative presentation of the dominant and enchanted view of the EU in world affairs, see Mario Telo, International Relations. A European Perspective, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2009; and Mario Telo (ed.), The European Union and Global Governance, London, Routledge, 2009.

88 John Gerard Ruggie, Multilateralism Matters. The Theory and Practice of an Evolutionary Form, New York, Columbia University Press, 1993. As the Obama administration is arousing new hopes among American liberal circles, multilateralism, or its illusion (already casually and unsuccessfully revived by the Bush administration with the G20) is turning green again: Herbert Gans, Imagining America in 2033. How the Country Put Itself Together After Bush, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2008; Strobe Talbott, The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States and the Quest for a Global Nation, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2008 (Talbott is a former under-secretary of state and the current president of the Brookings Institution); R. Hormath and D. Rothkopf, ‘Present at the Creation 2.0: Discussion Document’, paper presented for the Carnegie Endowment Strategic Round Table, How Reinventing the International System Could Become One of the Central Legacies of the Obama Administration, Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 2008; Brooks, S. and Wohlforth, W. C., ‘Reshaping World Order: How Washington Should Reform International Institutions’, Foreign Affairs, 88: 1 (2009), pp. 4963 . It is completed with another view on the success of liberal democracy and a different way to achieve it: N. Hachingan and M. Sutphen, The Next American Century: How the US Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2007; Deudney, D. and Ikenberry, G. John, ‘The Myth of Autocratic Revival: Why Liberal Democracy Will Prevail’, Foreign Affairs, 88: 1 (2009), pp. 7793 . American multilateralists and unilateralists seem to hold two opposite views of the EU: a single power to be reckoned with to the former, a no-power to the latter. Would it be possible they are both mistaken?

89 Once again, Colomer's nationalism is distinctive: it is definitely not a nationalism of the second type and it is both more and less than ‘banal nationalism’. Less than banal since it does not include economic practices among the cultural practices of the national sub-imperial polities (Hayek has determined that nations do not, and should not, have an ‘economy’). More than banal since it involves public efforts to maintain and promote a national cultural identity.

90 J. H. H. Weiler, ‘Federalism without Constitutionalism: Europe's Sonderweg’, in Nicolaïdis and Howse, The Federal Vision. I understand it as a mutual recognition of compatibility.

91 Stephane Beulac, The Power of Language in the Making of International Law, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff, 2004, p. 83.

92 On this, and many other changes, see Vernon Bogdanor, The New British Constitution, London, Hart, 2009, and his conclusion that after 1973 (when Britain entered the European Community) and 1997 and 1998 (with the constitutional changes introduced by the Labour Party, and the Human Rights Act) the constitution analysed by Bagehot and Dicey has ceased to exist, which may make the French smile wryly when they wonder whether the constitution of 1958 has ever existed more than a few years. See also King, The British Constitution, and for another view, N. Johnson, Reshaping the British Constitution, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

93 Besides Siedentop and other references already provided, see David McKay, Designing Rurope. Comparative Lessons from Federal Experience, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001; D. McKay, ‘The EU as Self Sustaining Federation’, in L. Dobson and A. Follesdal (eds), Political Theory and the European Constitution, London, Routledge, 2004, pp. 23–39. At the times of the referendums on the first Lisbon Treaty, see R. Dehousse, ‘We the States. Why the Anti-Federalists Won’, in N. Jabko and C. Parsons (eds), With Us or Against US? European Trends in American Perspective, New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 105–21.

94 See C. A. Bayly and Eugenio Biagini (eds), Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalisation of Democratic Nationalism 1830–1920, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008. The quotations are from the precious review by Parks, Tim, ‘Bloody Glamour’, London Review of Books, 31: 8, 30 April 2009, p. 28 , my italics. We can trace those expectations from Jaurès's positions to the movements of resistance to fascism, among other examples. See Christophe Reveillard, ‘Résistance’, in Yves Bertoncini, Thierry Chopin et al. (eds), Dictionnaire critique de l'Union Européenne, Paris, A. Colin, 2008, with interesting details on the Italian resistance. This introductory work is worth reading even by the connoisseurs, despite its avowed pro-European bias (the article ‘Referendum’ is unfortunately a mere caricature). In their article ‘Democratic Deficit’, the editors take a position similar to Simon Hix's.

95 It is worth recalling that the first appearance of the term ‘impérialisme’ in French (1832, long before ‘imperialism’ was used in English by Charles Conant and John Hobson at the end of the nineteenth century, in a quite different, and rather derogatory, meaning) was in praise of the Napoleonic regime. I owe this piece of information to Benoît Pélopidas. See, for a well-researched conceptual overview aiming at a comparison between Russia and the USA, Benoît Pélopidas, Didier Chaudet and Florent Parmentier, L'empire au miroir. Stratégies de puissance aux Etats-Unis et en Russie, Geneva, Droz, 2007 (and the English revised translation: When Empire Meets Nationalism: Power Politics in the US and Russia, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2009).

96 I have argued elsewhere that the nationalism–universalism opposition actually is not as crystal clear as it is admitted today since nationalism is also an access to universalism. Leca, Jean, ‘Nationalisme et universalisme’, Pouvoirs, 57 (1991), pp. 3342 .

97 The Russian and East-European eco-nationalism should not be soon forgotten, J. Dawson, Eco-Nationalism: Anti Nuclear Activism and National Identity in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine, Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 1996.

98 Friedrichs, J., ‘The Meaning of Neo Medievalism’, European Journal of International Relations, 4 (2001), pp. 475502 .

99 See in a vast literature J. Strayer, The Medieval Origins of the Modern State, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1970, and of course Perry Anderson's volumes. Let us not forget the classics: ‘The real state of the Middle Ages in the modern sense – if the words are not a paradox – is the Church’ with its autonomous bureaucracy pursuing its own ends (J. Figgis, Political Thought from Gerson to Grotius, 1414–1625. Seven Studies, New York, Harper and Row, 1960). Lord Acton has shown that the 400-year conflict opposed two powers, both aiming at absolute civilizational authority. As they had to call the nations to their aid the conflict brought about the rise of civil liberty (Lord Acton, ‘History of Freedom in Christianity’, in J. Rufus Fears (ed.), Selected Writings of Lord Acton. Vol. I, Essays on the History of Liberty, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 1985, p. 33). Also the survey of Von der Muhl, G. E., ‘Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Study of Government’, Annual Review of Political Science, 6 (2003), pp. 4576 . As I am interested here in the passage from medievalism to modern states, I mention only in passing the rational-choice explanations of the power of a prince as the outcome of an unequal exchange between protection and taxation (F. C. Lane, Venise: une république maritime, Paris, Flammarion, 1985), transformed by Tilly into a racket – a process of extortion facilitated by the increasing cost of war-making (C. Tilly, ‘War Making and State Making as Organized Crime’, in P. Evans, D. Rueschemeyer and T. Skocpol (eds), Bringing the State Back In, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1985). However, I have to admit that the thesis has been applied first of all to the formation of modern states (e.g. Margaret Levi, Consent, Dissent and Patriotism, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1997). The decline and fall question has received an extended contemporary treatment in Alexander Motyl, Imperial Ends. The Decay, Collapse and Revival of Empires, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001; and Amy Chua, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance and Why They Fall, New York, Doubleday, 2007 (Chua covers 26 centuries from the Persian Empire of the sixth century BC to the contemporary United States).

100 Peter Wilson, Europe's Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Years War, London, Allen Lane, 2008. This huge book has made me realize the unthinkable (to contemporary liberal and peaceful minds who ignore what is happening today in Africa) magnitude of the most destructive war (in relative numbers) in European history, the Napoleonic and the two World Wars included (the Holy Roman Empire lost about 20 per cent of its population; by comparison the USSR lost 12 per cent and Poland possibly 15 per cent of their populations in the Second World War). Wilson notes that the horrors of the war stemmed less from political and religious motives than from want of money and credit. I cannot help thinking that a total war, once launched by an intractable conflict over the nature of the polity, is self-sustaining, as the war lives on the civilians, and consumes its children, as the French and Soviet revolutions did, 150 and 270 years later. This appalling way to move to an autonomization of politics was not fatal, however. A more peaceful process was advocated in sixteenth-century France by Michel de L'Hospital and the parti des politiques and was actually taking place at the grassroots level (see O. Christin, La paix de religion. L'autonomisation de la raison politique au XVIème siècle, Paris, Le Seuil, 1997).

101 When, in 1209 Pope Innocent III decided, rather unwillingly, to launch the Crusade in Toulouse against the Albigensians, who were Christians albeit heretics, the petty local counts who supported them more or less openly did not think of looking to nearby Islam for help. Several centuries later, in the sixteenth century when François I signed with the Ottoman Empire the famous treaties of capitulation, the Moroccan king, Moulay Ahmad al-Mansûr – who was building up his own legitimacy as the Soltan-Charif of a centralized monarchy against the same Ottoman Empire – was getting the support of Philippe II's Spain by utilizing the struggle between the Habsburg and Ottoman empires, then turned against Spain and tried an alliance with Henry VIII's England that could not survive the cultural incompatibilities between the two countries. Actually Ahmad al-Mansûr was interested in Henry VIII's rejection of the pope's clerical authority not only because of the realist political alliance he was trying to build up but also because it divided and weakened the main ‘Other’, Christendom. Likewise, the many English who lived in Morocco, whether they became Muslim or not, were interested in what was going on in the country and in the empire because they wanted to do business, rather than create a ‘dialogue of civilizations’ (see Nabil Mouline, Le califat imaginaire d'Ahmad al-Mansûr, Paris, PUF, 2009).

102 See the reassessment of Chris Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome. A History of Europe from 400–1000, London, Allen Lane, 2008. It should be read alongside Christopher Kelly, Ruling the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2006.

103 On the ‘theological’ climate of the Ancien Régime, see for example Osiander, A., ‘Before Sovereignty: Society and Politics in Ancient Regime Europe’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), pp. 119–45.

104 John Pocock follows the scent until the eighteenth century: J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999 (yet, he has also, like Quentin Skinner, traced the revival of another Roman story, the ‘republican’ political thought, after the fall of the Hohenstaufen Empire in 1254, and followed its fate after the decline of the Italian city-states and the new rise of monarchies from the sixteenth century on). On the long-term European history of the concept of empire before imperialism, Muldoon, Empire and Order; Robert Foltz, The Concept of Empire in Western Europe from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 1969; David Armitage (ed.), Theories of Empire, 1450–1800, Aldershot, Ashgate, 1998. On these points, the historians of political thought should be read alongside the cultural and political historians describing the waning of the idea of empire and the emergence of a new Europe, for example Geoffrey Elton, Reformation Europe: 1517–1559, Cleveland, World Publishing Company, 1964; John Elliott, Europe Divided, 1559–1598, Oxford, Blackwell, 2000; William Doyle, The Old European Order 1660–1800, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1978; and the recent tour de force of Tim Blanning, The Pursuit of Glory. Europe 1648–1815, London, Allen Lane, 2007. On the imperialist empires, see N. Ferguson, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, London, Allen Lane, 2003; Jennifer Pits, A Turn to Empire. The Rise of Liberal Imperialism in Britain and France, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005 (to this day, despite the most recent bulk of histories dedicated to the rise, decline and fall of the British Empire, nothing matches Roger Lewis (ed.), Oxford History of the British Empire, 5 vols, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999). Ferguson carries the story up to the 2000s by discussing ‘the case for liberal empire’, an unabashed plea for the benefits brought about by the imperial endeavour; He strongly advises the USA to begin its work ‘in wretched Liberia’ (pp. 178–9). The problem with Ferguson is that, despite some foolish statements, his arguments are very often well grounded…and out of touch with the political reality constructed by the real politics of the agents, from the bottom to the top. He is a wonderful case of scholarly erudition gone crazy through an excess of rationality. For a version limited to a few cases, M. Ignatieff, Empire Lite, Nation Building in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, New York, Vintage Books, 2003 (six years later, two cases, at the very least, do not bear witness to the achievements of this type of ‘empire’).

105 In the comparative history of China and Rome the problem is the sequence of autocratic (at the centre) and imperial (at the periphery) rules, the two cases showing inverted sequences (W. Schneidel (ed.), Rome and China. Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008). See in general Michael Doyle, Empires, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1986. His core definition involves a strong and insulated centre, a periphery submitted to a hierarchical domination and a coercive and corrupting control, so deprived of sovereign autonomy (p. 12). In his first attempt at conceptualization Alexander Motyl, influenced by his study of the Soviet Empire, emphasized the distinction between a core population and a peripheral population and the dictatorial relationship between the core elite and the peripheral elite (A. Motyl, ‘Thinking About Empire’, in K. Barkey and M. von Hagen (eds), After Empire. Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building, Boulder, CO, Westview, 1997). The same view is shared by Ferguson (with a British connotation and hence a different value judgement) and John Darwin although the latter criticizes Ferguson for putting together Victoria's Empire and the American imperial republic: John Darwin, After Tamerlane. The Global History of Empire, London, Allen Lane, 2007 (the difference is also highlighted in Eric Hobsbawm, On America, War, and Global Supremacy, New York, Pantheon, 2008; and Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World, New York, Norton, 2008). Charles Maier contents himself with stressing that ‘an empire requires military supremacy’ (Charles Maier, Among Empires. American Ascendancy and its Predecessors, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2006, p. 70).

106 The stories of peripheral elites-turned-members of the palace are too many to reference, from the ‘Algerian’ Berber Quintus Lollius Urbicus moving up the administrative ladder through Asia, Judaea, Brittany and Scotland, finally becoming prefect of Rome (the story is told by Montesquieu), to the Circassian Mehemet Ali, who crushed the army of Ali Tebelen in Janina (Greece), later the Wahabi tribes of ‘Saoudi’ Arabia and became Muhammed Ali, the founder of modern Egypt. The practice was still in force in the French Westphalian state: the Italian Giulo Mazzarini was the controversial yet immovable prime minister in 1648–61 and the Swiss Jacques Necker was minister of finance in 1789.

107 Amy Chua, reconciling the opposite views of ‘empire by conquest’ and ‘empire as a commonwealth’, has argued that an empire is doomed to fail if it is unable to be tolerant, intolerance being a sign of decay (Amy Chua, Day of Empire. She is careful to stress the difference from the Enlightenment idea of toleration that is based on secularist individualism and is an outcome of the Westphalian order). Despite the Antonines and the Edict of Caracalla granting Roman citizenship to all the free men of the empire, it is doubtful that an empire at its pinnacle is always a model of toleration, even in the pre-Enlightenment sense (to leave the subjected groups to believe whatever they like so long as they remain peaceful and cooperative, a sense likely to surface again, now that the Enlightenment is no longer viewed as a universal road to progress but just as one road among others). The conqueror Timur at his zenith is no more enticing than Diocletian at his twilight eight centuries earlier and Lord Acton has wonderfully shown the similarity between Diocletian's and Constantine's schemes of policy, strengthening the emperor's arbitrary authority with, in Constantine's case, the support of a religion that had astonished the world by its power of resistance (‘History of Freedom’, p. 29). On the Islamic empires and toleration see the sobering account of Ephraïm Karsh, Islamic Imperialism, A History, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2007, too focused on the last two centuries and the decay of the Ottoman Empire relayed by Pan-Islamism and Arab nationalism (which is questionable). For a more proper perspective, particularly on the meaning of the imperial tolerance, see Karin Barkey, Empire of Difference. The Ottoman Empire in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.

108 Mardin, Serif, ‘Power, Civil Society, and Culture in the Ottoman Empire’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 11 (June 1969), pp. 258–81.

109 Motyl, Alexander, ‘Is Empire Everything? Is Everything Empire?’, Comparative Politics, 39 (January 2006), pp. 229–49. Helge Jordheim, ‘Conceptual History Between Chronos and Kairos: The Case of Empire’, Redescriptions. Yearbook of Political Thought and Conceptual History, 11 (2008).

110 See the relevant references in the first part of this article. I am aware that I go against the grain of current research. Most of it focus on the ‘neo-charismatic paradigm’ in organizational research (R. J. House, ‘A 1976 Theory of Charismatic Leadership’, in J. G. Hunt and L. L. Larson (eds), Leadership: The Cutting Edge, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1977; J. MacGregor Burns, Leadership, New York, Harper and Row, 1978; Conger, J., ‘Max Weber's Conceptualization of Charismatic Authority: Its Influence on Organizational Research’, Leadership Quarterly, 4: 3/4 (1993), pp. 277–88), the transformative role played by personal charisma and the ‘charismatic bond’ in times of crisis (D. Madsen and P. G. Snow, The Charismatic Bond: Political Behavior in Time of Crisis, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1996) with the ensuing problem of leadership change and the succession dilemma (R. Burling (ed.), The Passage of Power: Studies in Political Succession, New York, Academic Press, 1974). The main debates have been about the heroic bias (D. K. Simonton, Genius, Creativity and Leadership: Historiometric Inquiries, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1974; Yukl, G., ‘An Evaluation of Conceptual Weaknesses in Transformational and Charismatic Leadership’, Leadership Quarterly, 10: 2 (1999), pp. 285305 ) versus the structural and contextual approach ( Beyer, J. M., ‘Taming and Promoting Charisma to Change Organizations’, Leadership Quarterly, 10: 2 (1999), pp. 307–30; Jones, H. B., ‘Magic, Meaning and Leadership: Weber's Model and the Empirical Literature’, Human Relations, 54: 6 (2001), pp. 753–71), the problems raised by the use of charisma in the context of secularization ( Turner, S., ‘Charisma Reconsidered’, Journal of Classical Sociology, 3 (2003), pp. 526 ), which may lead to the fallacy of using charisma in a vulgar and ill-defined way as a successful leader's quality, thus making the reasoning circular since successful politicians are easily called charismatic while unsuccessful politicians will never become charismatic ( Van der Brug, W., ‘How the LPF Fuelled Discontent: Empirical Tests of Explanation of LPF Support’, Acta Politica, 38: 1 (2003), pp. 89106 ). Naturally, as – following Eisenstadt and Shils – I am interested in the institutional aspect of charisma, only the topic of secularization will be treated here.

111 Suchman, M. and Edelman, L., ‘Legal Rational Myths: The New Institutionalism and the Law and Society Tradition’, Law and Social Inquiry, 21: 4 (1997), pp. 903–41. On the unreasonable effects of the (otherwise beneficial) myth, E. Bardach and R. A. Kagan, Going by the Book. The Problem of Regulatory Unreasonableness, London, Transaction Publishers, 2002.

112 Eckstein, Harry, ‘The Idea of Political Development. From Dignity to Efficiency’, World Politics, 34: 4 (1982), pp. 451–86.

113 The Egyptian sheikh Tatahwi, visiting France in the mid-nineteenth century as the ‘chaplain’ of young members of the elite sent to learn the French ways to manage things, grasped the issue with great perception: their politics is not syassa– the practice of (good) government – another word should be used, boulitik (to be related to his no less famous statement often quoted by Bernard Lewis: what they name ‘liberty’, we name ‘justice’, and Rabbi Joshuah ben Levi, ‘no man is free except if he sticks to the Torah’, which means in both cases that liberty is not a philosophical concept, as in Augustine's, but a synonym of ‘citizenship’ in a just society). Not inadvertently, boulitik came to be used in the mid-twentieth century to disparage low politics practised by the politicos (actually all the politicians). Jean Laponce has cleverly noted that ‘modern politics’ has become explicitly a system of opposition of parties challenging a natural order of things, which explains both its location on the negative side of the overall system of perceptions (religion staying on the positive side) and the positive assessment of the left (usually downgraded in ordinary non-political language) within the semantic order named ‘politics’, since in modern times politics is the mirror image of an immovable order of things (Jean Laponce, Left and Right. The Topography of Political Perceptions, Toronto and London, University of Toronto Press, 1981, pp. 13 and 43–6). See also a truly European history of the left, both Western and Eastern, where socialism is interpreted as the struggle to expand democracy, thus making this very thick book both wanting as historical scholarship (colonialism is lightly treated) and successful as a tentative grand narrative (Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy. The History of the Left in Europe, 1850–2000, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002).

114 I am indebted to Christopher Bickerton for making this point, which he utilizes to show that the Madisonian limitation of powers is internal to the concept of popular sovereignty and thus requires the concept of sovereignty, contrary to what K. Nicolaïdis, among others, asserts (Nicolaïdis and Howse, The Federal Vision; Nicolaïdis, ‘Constitutionalizing the Federal Vision?’). Bickerton invokes the authority of the lawyer Martin Loughlin (M. Loughlin, The Idea of Public Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 92), Bickerton, ‘Europe's Neo-Madisonians’.

115 Like the ECJ (see above, note 5), the ECB, which is the most independent bank in the world (apart from the much less powerful World Bank), has a policy and a strategy that can be studied by using the principal–agent model ( Elgie, R., ‘The Politics of the European Central Bank: Principal–Agent Theory and the Democratic Deficit’, Journal of European Public Policy, 9: 2 (2002), pp. 186200 ). But it carries out its mission in a non-political language.

116 Paul Magnette, ‘La difficile parlementarisation de l'Union’, in Pascal Delwit and Philippe Poirier (eds), Parlement puissant, électeurs absents? Les élections européennes de juin 2004, Brussels, Editions Complexe, 2005.

117 Take for example the July 2008 debate initiated by Daniel Cohn-Bendit's charge against the president of the Council, Nicolas Sarkozy, for attending the inauguration of the Olympic Games in Beijing despite China's poor record on human rights. In December, the exchange was still confrontational, but then the style was more the style of a French–French controversy, and Sarkozy mischievously retorted to Cohn-Bendit that he was not talking politics ‘the European way’, that is, in a moderate and consensus-seeking way. We will return to the EP when dealing with Simon Hix's theses. See, for the time being, two very good works on the topic evoked in the text: F. Foret, Légitimer l'Europe, Paris, Presses de Sciences-po, 2008; and Rozenberg, O., ‘L'influence du Parlement européen et l'indifférence des électeurs. Une corrélation fallacieuse?’, Politique européenne, 28 (spring 2009), pp. 736 .

118 The EP's efficiency has not been hindered by the enlargement (R. Dehousse, F. Deloche-Gaudez and O. Duhamel (eds), Elargissement. Comment l'Europe s'adapte, Paris, Presses de Sciences-po, 2006). According to Eurobarometer, the proportion of people thinking that the EP plays an important role in EU's affairs has moved up from 62 per cent in 2000 (with 15 member states) to 75 per cent in 2007 (with 27 members). See Eurobarometer 53 and 68: 1. In 2007, the EP was believed by 43 per cent of the Europeans to be holding ‘the greatest power of decision within the EU today’, against 14 per cent for the Commission and 10 per cent for the Council (this is not recent, see Niedermayer, O., ‘Turn-out in the European Elections’, Electoral Studies, 9: 1 (1990), pp. 4550 ). These findings, which strengthen the position of Simon Hix, also vindicate Olivier Rozenberg's interpretation (Rozenberg, ‘L'influence du Parlement européen’, p. 12). He notices, however (p. 21, n. 17), that in 2009, while a plurality of 46 per cent says it should play a more important role, the minority saying the opposite has gone up to 22 per cent from 12 per cent (Eurobarometer 68: 1 and 71: 1).

119 Paul Magnette, L'Europe, l'Etat et la démocratie. Le Souverain apprivoisé, Brussels, Editions Complexe, 2000.

120 S. Hix, ‘Parliamentary Oversight of Executive Power: What Role for the European Parliament in Comitology?’, in T. Christiansen and E. Kirchner (eds), Europe in Change. Committee Governance in the European Union, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000. Comitology may also be used against the Commission and the Parliament by a distrustful Council ( Steunenberg, B., Koboldt, C. and Schmidtchen, D., ‘Comitology and the Balance of Power in the European Union: A Game Theoretic Approach’, International Review of Law and Economics, 16 (1996), pp. 329–44; B. Steunenberg, C. Koboldt and D. Schmidtchen, ‘The Comitology Game: European Policy Making with Parliamentary Involvement’, in P. Moser, G. Schneider and G. Kirchgässner (eds), Decisions Rules in the European Union: A Rational Choice Perspective, London, Macmillan, 2000). As the many studies of comitology allow us to draw any kind of institutional conclusion one may wish (Orleanism, interest group politics, deliberative intergovernmentalism, good governance with strong publics, oligarchic governance with weak publics etc.), I no longer think that this useful descriptive concept has any interest in the identification of the European polity, or of any polity for that matter except a corporatist polity, since it expresses the ubiquitous and banal tensions between interests' representation and political representation, ‘expertocracy’ and democracy.

121 Rozenberg, ‘L'influence du Parlement européen’, p. 31.

122 Although the social background of deputies has changed through an incremental process, ‘politicians have become a self-referential group’ (M. Cotta and H. Best (eds), Democratic Representation in Europe, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 474–9. Also, M. Cotta and H. Best (eds), Parliamentary Representatives in Europe, 1848–2000. Legislative Recruitment and Careers in Eleven European Countries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000). That reminds us of the French Fourth Republic's ‘windowless house’. Weber with his professionals of politics and Ostrogorski with his party machines are vindicated beyond their worse fears. Small wonder that the concept of representation has moved up to the imperial presidencies or the plebiscitarian leadership called for by Weber (in several democratic states, from the USA to members of the EU, but certainly not at the EU level, where it is made unthinkable) and down to variegated forms of functional and self-authorized representation (in the EU and elsewhere at all levels, see Urbinati, N. and Warren, M., ‘The Concept of Representation in Democratic Theory’, Annual Review of Political Science, 11 (2008), pp. 303–27).

123 Lord, C., ‘The European Parliament. Not a Very European Parliament?’, Politique européenne, 9 (2003), pp. 3048 . I am not claiming that an imperial government is free from corruption but merely that it eschews this type of democratic corruption (not technically a corruption but a mere inevitable drawback), although it gratifies the population of its Makhzen and the loyal members of its periphery. There are many other types of this ubiquitous phenomenon close to clientelism (the papal selling of indulgences, for example).

124 That does not mean that European concerns, however downgraded, do not matter to the voters. In more down-to-earth bread-and-butter matters they tend to participate more in European elections when they belong to countries or regions where the benefits brought by the Commission's specific actions are well perceived ( Mattila, M., ‘Why Bother? Determinants of Turnout in European Elections’, Electoral Studies, 22: 3 (2003), pp. 449–68).

125 I am relying on the work of Stephanie Novak although the interpretation I propose is mine with all its possible flaws. Stephanie Novak, ‘L'ombre du consensus. Politiques de la majorité qualifiée au Conseil dans l'Union Européenne’, PhD dissertation, Paris, Institut d'études politiques, June 2009. Other kinds of trade-off, more familiar to the Commission and the Council respectively, take place between subsidiarity (favouring lower levels of governance) and conditionality (strengthening the Commission's firm hand – see below the Barca Report) and, with much more trouble, between enhanced cooperation and member states' equality of rights (B. De Witte, ‘The Process of Ratification of the Constitutional Treaty and the Crisis Option: A Legal Perspective’, EUI Working Papers, 04/10, 2004). The Council's Public Register and the database Euro-Lex are precious documentary sources, yet, despite recent efforts (for example, R. Thomson, F. Stokman, C. Aschen and T. König (eds), The European Union Decides, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006; Sullivan, J. and Selck, T., ‘Political Preferences, Revealed Positions and Strategic Votes: Explaining Decision-Making in the EU Council’, European Journal of Public Policy, 14: 7 (2007), pp. 1150–61) I doubt that the opaque decision-making process shall ever be entirely known; see the debate opposing T. Selck, Ş. Yardımıcı and C. Kathan, ‘Still an Opaque Institution? Explaining Decision-Making in the EU Council Using Newspaper Information: A Reply to Sullivan and Veen’ and Veen, T. and Sullivan, J., ‘News Sources and Decision-Making in the EU Council: A Rejoinder’, Government and Opposition, 44: 4 (2009), pp. 463–75.

126 See the examples analysed by Lascoumes, Pierre, ‘Les compromis parlementaires, combinaison de surpolitisation et de sous-politisation. L'adoption des lois de réforme du code pénal (décembre 1992) et de création du Pacs (novembre 1999)’, Revue française de science politique, 59: 3 (2009), pp. 455–78.

127 For example, cohesion seems to be gaining ground over convergence (which is suspected of overly standardizing the goals and means and encouraging deceptive practices). See the Barca Report on the reform of cohesion policy modestly prepared for the commissioner in charge of regions (D. Hubner) but highly ambitious in its organizational proposals at The real problems behind this highly technical and ‘apolitical’ report are twofold. First: is the EU moving towards more centralization detrimental to the regions and organizing a dialogue between the commission and the states? Second: is the EU moving from a ‘social’ regional policy, allowing the regions to improve their social services to an ‘economic’ policy aimed at improving the competitiveness of the most advanced sectors?

128 Pollack, M., ‘Theorizing the European Union: International Organization, Domestic Polity, or Experiment in New Governance?’, Annual Review of Political Science, 8 (2005), pp. 357–98. I am not insinuating that the paper is devoid of any empirical value. On the contrary: it is a perfect presentation of the state of the art. I only maintain that in European studies the art gives rise to rather strange typologies (see in the same vein Caporaso, J., ‘The European Union and Forms of State: Westphalian, Regulatory or Post Modern?’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 34: 1 (1996), pp. 2452 ). As there is a plethora of literature on the ‘new public management’, I will mention a few indispensible titles: Hood, Christopher, ‘Contemporary Public Management: A New Global Paradigm’, Public Policy and Administration, 10: 2 (1995), pp. 104–17; B. Guy Peters, The Future of Governing, Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2000; C. Pollitt and G. Bouckaert, Public Management Reform. A Comparative Analysis, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000; K. Sahlin-Andersson, ‘National, International and Transnational Constructions of New Public Management’, in T. Christiensen and P. Laegreid (eds), New Public Management. The Transformation of Ideas and Practices, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2002, pp. 44–72; W. Kickert (ed.), The Study of Public Management in Europe and the US, London, Routledge, 2008; J.-M. Eymeri-Douzan and J. Pierre (eds), Administrative Reforms and Democratic Governance, London, Routledge, forthcoming. In the first part of this text I should have added to the terms belonging to the anthology of governance in which the EU is supposed to set a universal standard: ‘steering’ (from Renate Mayntz, if I am not mistaken) and ‘coxswain’ (A. Sbragia, ‘The European Union as a Coxswain. Governance by Steering’, in J. Pierre (ed.), Debating Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 19–40. Beware of Chairman Mao, the ‘Great Helmsman’!). Likewise I should not have missed ‘cluster policies’, a term forged by managerial sciences to refer to the very simple collaboration of public and private actors in specific areas and territories, of which some features may be interesting to explore (S. Borras and D. Tsagdis, Cluster Policies in Europe. Firms, Institutions and Governance, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2008). My apologies. For a political assessment, see Hix, S., ‘The Study of the European Union II: The “New Governance” Agenda and its Rivals’, Journal of European Public Policy, 5 (1998), pp. 3865 .

129 On climate change, see the excellent Schreurs, M. A. and Tiberghien, Y., ‘Multilevel Reinforcement: Explaining European Union's Leadership in Climate Change Mitigation’, Global Environmental Politics, 7: 4 (2007), pp. 1946 . In this (rare) case of a supra-political consensus, the multilevel government is working: while the European Emissions-Trading Scheme (ETS) controlled by the Commission determines the level of the carbon price and the emission caps (the latter being contested by Italy and most of Eastern Europe), the member states have much leeway to take additional measures, such as imposing a minimum price on carbon (e.g. France), introducing a carbon tax (hotly debated in France) or granting subsidies to renewable energies (e.g. Germany and Spain). See the British Committee on Climate Change's first report, issued in October 2009. Besides, it strengthens the power of the Union as long as it does not meet other Great Powers that do not take the problem as seriously as the EU. For once, public opinion matches governments' policies. For instance, while 77 per cent of the British and 76 per cent of the French say that their government should give a higher priority to climate change, only 52 per cent of the USA agree. It is true that 48 per cent of Germans share this opinion but the difference is that Germany figures among the three countries whose governments receive the highest scores when assessed on how high a priority they actually give to climate change whereas the US government gets one of the lowest scores on the same question (see a 19-nation survey by the Program on the International Policy Attitudes, University of Maryland, July 2009). Yet, the resilience of political realism is not only because of the other Great Powers, it extends its long arm inside the Union as soon as the nagging question is asked: who is going to foot the bill? Here the whole of Eastern Europe, faced with budget constraints, is strongly reluctant to finance climate costs in the developing world. However, the clerical-imperial argument still stands out: the participation in the Crusades was a religious obligation, but that did not keep several princes from coming off duty ahead of the rest of the army.

130 Beaud, Théorie de la Fédération, pp. 401–17.

131 See for example, Michael Mann, Incoherent Empire, London, Verso, 2003; Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World, New York, Holt, 2003; Rosenau, James, ‘The Illusion of Power and Empire’, History and Theory, 44 (December 2005), p. 74 ; Joseph W. Escherick, ‘The Return of Empire?’, in Joseph W. Escherick, Hasan Kayali and Eric Van Young (eds), From Empire to Nation. Historical Perspectives on the Making of the Modern World, New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, p. 385.

132 Enter the USA, the great significant Western ‘Other’ of Europe (its ‘daughter’, in de Gaulle's priceless lexicon) since Hegel, Tocqueville, Mazzini, Marx and Sombart so that the comparison has become a compulsory figure of European ice-skating (the only other comparative case I have found is Switzerland, Schönberger, Unionbürger, and Blondel, Jean, ‘Il modello svizzero: un futuro per l'Europa?’, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 2 (August 1998), pp. 203–28). For example, M. Capelletti, M. Seccombe and J. H. H. Weiler (eds), Integration Through Law: Europe and the American Federal Experience, Berlin and New York, De Gruyter, 1986; A. Spinelli, ‘Il modello costituzionale americano e i tentativi di unità europea’, in M. Albertini (ed.), Il Federalismo: anthologia e definizione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993; R. Herr and S. Weber (eds), European Integration and American Federalism: A Comparative Perspective, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1996; L. E. Goldstein, Constituting Federal Sovereignty: The European Union in Comparative Perspective, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001; Florence Deloche-Gaudez and François Vergniolle de Chantal (eds), Citoyenneté et fédéralisme aux Etats-Unis et en Europe’, Critique internationale, 21 (2003), pp. 118–87; S. Fabbrini (ed.), Democracy and Federalism in the European Union and the United States, London, Routledge, 2005; Menon and Schain, Comparative Federalism; Fabbrini, Compound Democracies, whose view, at least about the instituional setting, is far from being shared by all the European federalists, the hardliners included (e.g. this judgement on the USA as ‘a significantly decentralized State’, T. Chopin, L'héritage du fédéralisme? Etats-Unis/Europe, Paris, Fondation Robert Schuman, 2002). Most recently, see the both sober and brilliant A. Glencross, What Makes the EU Viable? European Integration in the Light of the Antebellum US Experience, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, one of the most judicious and creative assessments of the EU's institutional perspectives, perhaps because this young author, although holding a PhD from the Florence EUI, is not a card-carrying member of the European circus.

133 Colomer does not make the same blunder and goes the other way in stating that the USA was an empire until the beginning of the twentieth century when, its external limits being fixed, ‘the USA was able to complete the institutionalization of internal federal relations between the Union and a variety of states and local governments’ (p. 89), not so wrong a view even though it goes too far. In his defence we may note that Zielonka quotes Gianfranco Poggi's general proposition that in federal states, despite the division of governmental powers between the central state (writing in English Poggi avoids the capital ‘S’ but it is in his mind) and ‘other political entities (sometimes called states)’, ‘historically, however, centralization applies to them too, as a trend in the actual relations between the two levels’ (Gianfranco Poggi, The State: Its Nature, Development and Prospects, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1990, pp. 22–3). The seemingly mistaken application of the formula to the nineteenth-century USA suits Zielonka fine by proving that a federal option is not available in Europe and thus that the EU as empire is the only way not to be again an imperialist empire. Regardless of the credibility of such a benign view to non-European eyes, it remains to be seen if a federation with a federal state (with a small ‘s’) sharing the sovereignty on an equal footing with member states should always become a federal State (with a capital ‘S’). See on this point Beaud, Théorie de la Fédération. Here the gap in the Colomer–Zielonka front is widening, as we shall see later.

134 See Ari Zolberg, A Nation by Design. Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America, New York and Cambridge, MA, Russell Sage Foundation and Harvard University Press, 2006. Also Rogers Smith, Stories of Peoplehood. The Politics and Morals of Political Citizenship, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003. On the late Tocqueville and America, see A. Craiutu and J. Jennings (eds), Tocqueville on America. Letters and Other Writings, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009. The rulings of the Supreme Court and Tocqueville's judgement seem to me to carry much more weight than the observation that as late as 1892 the USA had very few ambassadors abroad (P. Robin, Enclaves of America. The Rhetoric of American Political Architecture Abroad 1900–1965, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1992). When we are reminded ‘that it took the United States until the New Deal to give the federal level the kind of competences (regulatory and allocative) that we associate with a “state” today’ (K. Nicolaïdis, ‘Constitutionalizing the Federal Vision’, in Menon and Schain, Comparative Federalism, quoting Lowi's contribution to this book, T. Lowi, ‘Eurofederalism: What Can European Union Learn from the United States’, pp. 93–119), one forgets that the original Westphalian state is less allocative and even regulatory than coercive and military. When Lowi (rightly) holds that in 1789 the USA was neither united nor a state, it is for more compelling reasons – among them the weakness of a coercive federal power and the overwhelming influence of the local notables.

135 That rings a bell to contemporary European ears when the central bank is so autonomous that several groups hold that it prevents the EU from making political choices. However, we should not transpose the cleavages of the first half of the nineteenth century into the twenty-first (see Walter McDougall, Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era, 1829–1877, New York, Harper Perennial, 2008). The only point worth making is that as early as the 1830s the federal state's powers were growing, it was not Jackson – who opposed it – but the Whig Henry Clay who endorsed federal government intervention in the economy and declared the American people ‘entitled to the protecting care of a parental government’. This growth was not due to institutional changes but to the formation of the second-party system paradoxically created by Van Buren (to be elected president after Jackson) by taking the slavery issue off the political agenda (see M. Shefter, Political Parties and the State: The American Historical Experience, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 68; and A. Glencross, What Makes the EU Viable?, pp. 140ff).

136 King, Desmond, ‘When an Empire is not an Empire: The US Case’, Government and Opposition, 41: 2 (2006), pp. 163–96. King deals sensibly with a topic too often marred by a combination of soul-searching, indictment, defensive plea and finally advocacy for a stronger American Empire. Rather than quoting once again, say, Irving Kristol and M. Mandelbaum versus Chalmers Johnson and Noam Chomsky, I would recommend returning to two books that have aged remarkably well: Raymond Aron, La république impériale. Les Etats-Unis dans le monde, 1945–1972, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1972; and Stanley Hoffmann, Gulliver's Troubles, New York, McGraw Hill, 1968, to be compared to the most recent, Andrew Bacevitch (ed.), The Long War. A New History of US National Security Policy Since World War II, New York, Columbia University Press, 2007; and David Calleo, Follies of Power: America's Unipolar Fantasy, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009. On the debates about the denomination ‘empire’ applied to the USA see the detailed footnote 26 in Cronin, J., ‘The United States In, or Against the World’, review article, Government and Opposition, 45: 1 (2010), pp. 114–41 (where Desmond King is not mentioned).

137 The territorial empires by sea (not to be confused with the powers of the sea) are usually identified with colonial empires. Other territorial empires may have used other means such as marriage policy or voluntary submission in exchange for protection, S. Howe, Empire. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002.

138 J. G. A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985, p. 86.

139 In order to set my mind at rest I have to mention a revisionist view of the European expansion in the nineteenth century, marginalizing imperialism replaced by settlerism, the migration of British and other people over the globe to establish free societies in the ‘waste’ place of the earth, without cutting their ties to Britain (the USA being the exception), sometimes with the aid of state power for protection in their travels and settlings but without a goal of domination and exploitation of a periphery by a centre (James Belich, Replenishing the Earth. The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo World, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008). As the book ignores India (there were no settlers in the British Empire's jewel) and more generally considers most European empires in Asia and Africa as a flash in the pan seemingly without far-reaching consequences (he should go to Algeria today), it is both interesting and irrelevant. It has at least the merit of supplying much information on the culture of settlerisms and induces a comparison with the Russian settlerism in Siberia, of which a late offspring in the 1920s was the anti-Westernizers' and anti-Bolsheviks' ‘Eurasianism’ that glorified the Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century, still fashionable in Kazakhstan and in some Russian circles, Muslim or not, not to forget the Turkish brand (M. Laruelle, L'idéologie eurasiste russe ou Comment penser l'empire, Paris and Montréal, L'Harmattan, 1999; published in English as Russian Eurasianism. An Ideology of Empire, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

140 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. vi–viii and 168. (See the debate in The Revival of Empire’, Ethics and International Affairs, 17: 2 (2003), pp. 3498 .) Note that this empire looks like Zielonka's and Colomer's turned upside down and that it has the same enemy, the Wesphalian sovereign state that all of them deem a thing of the past, replaced in Negri's conception by the indomitable multitude (Hardt and Negri, Empire, and A. Negri, Empire and Beyond, New York, Polity, 2009).

141 Posen, Barry, ‘Commands of the Commons: The Military Foundations of US Hegemony’, International Security; 28: 1 (2003), pp. 546 .

142 See Ghassan Salamé, Appels d'empire. Ingérences et résistances à l'âge de la mondialisation, Paris, Fayard, 1996, and Quand l'Amérique refait le monde, Paris, Fayard, 2005. p. 522. Also, Andrew Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2002, p. 244. On the USA in the Middle East, it is interesting to compare Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007; and Philippe Droz-Vincent, Vertiges de la puissance. Le ‘moment américain’ au Moyen-Orient, Paris, La Découverte, 2007. As time flies very quickly, those visions seem a bit impaired by mid-2009 but it is wiser not to pass judgement too hastily.

143 The term ‘post-hegemonial’ is used in a laudatory way by Ulrich Beck and Edgar Grande, Kosmopolitische Europa, p. 85. Magali Gravier takes them to task for postulating an evolutionary process leading from the hegemon to the empire whereas the two terms designate two different kinds of phenomenon. She is right from her point of view since she uses a structural theory of empire borrowed from Alexander Motyl, and in her view the USA is not and never was an empire ( Gravier, M., ‘The Next European Empire?’, European Societies, 11: 5 (2009), pp. 625–47). But she misses the point that to the people who adopt the loose definitions provided by Hardt–Negri and Zielonka, the prosecution rests its case, vindicated as it is by Ferguson or, with a vastly different outlook, David Chandler, who demeans the EU as an empire that declines to assume its responsibilities (D. Chandler, Empire in Denial: The Politics of State-Building, London, Pluto Press, 2006. Needless to say, the Balkans loom large in the latter view). Likewise, Herfried Münkler holds that Europe should adopt the imperial model in the future (H. Münkler, Empires. The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States, New York, Polity Press, 2007, pp. 161–7).

144 Among the liberal theorists Michael Walzer squarely rejects this fake universalism. Michael Walzer, On Thinking Politically. Essays in Political Theory, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2007. Admittedly, he is sometimes deemed a communitarian. For the views of a true communitarian-republican (an assemblage almost unthinkable in France, where communautariste means somebody who advocates separate social norms and even laws for different groups) see Michael Sandel, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?, London, Allen Lane, 2009.

145 Michael Keating, The New Regionalism in Western Europe, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 1998. Keating is one of the rare empirical analysts of current Europe after Philippe Schmitter evoking the medieval idea of a community with common values and institutions whose component parts shared a common legacy in the Roman Empire (M. Keating, The Politics of Modern Europe. The State and Political Authority in Major Democracies, 2nd edn, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 1999, p. 427).

146 I borrow this analysis from Ziegmund Bauman, Postmodern Ethics, Oxford, Blackwell, 1993. Zielonka does not mention the Polish sociologist and philosopher but, like Michael Keating's cited above, Bauman's work fits in his overall framework and for once an idealist postmodernity would be relevant to the imperial design. See the nuanced comments of Thierry Leterre, ‘Quelques réflexions sur l'acception sociologique du concept de voisinage’, in M.-F. Labouz, C. Philip and P. Soldatos (eds), L'Union Européenne élargie aux nouvelles frontières et à la recherche d'une politique de voisinage, Brussels, Bruyland, 2006.

147 Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina and Mindruta, Denisa, ‘Was Huntington Right? Testing Cultural Legacies in the Civilizational Border’, International Politics, 39 (2002), pp. 193213 , and the contribution of G. Badescu on current Transylvania in H. D. Klingemann, D. Fuchs and J. Zielonka (eds), Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe, London, Routledge, 2006.

148 Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflicts and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, MA, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007; Michael Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History. Doctrines and Practices, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2006.

149 See R. B. J. Walker, Inside-Outside: International Relations in Political Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993.

150 R. Guerrina, Europe, History, Ideas and Ideologies, London, Hodder, 2002; P. Gillespie and Br. Laffan, ‘European Identity, Theory and Empirics’, in A. K. Bourne and M. Cini (eds), Palgrave Advances in European Union Studies, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, pp. 131–50. For a good example of such a deconstruction based on the study of what is actually happening at the grassroot level in matters such as the implementation of Islamic norms in family life, see J. Bowen, Can Islam Be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2009.

151 J. S. Richardson, ‘Imperium Romanum: Empire and the Language of Power’, in Armitage, Theories of Empire.

152 We should have a look at the seemingly unfathomable works of the specialists in hermeneutical economy: Forget, Philippe, ‘Herméneutique et grande politique’, L'art du comprendre, 10 (June 2001), p. 34 ; and ‘Théorie et puissance. Etude d'anthropologie stratégique’, in Christian Harbulot and Didier Lucas (eds), Les chemins de la puissance, Paris, Tatamis, 2007 (once again, I am indebted to Benoît Pélopidas for these references).

153 S. N. Eisenstadt (ed.), The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations, Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, 1986. On the pre-Axial Age (4500–500 BC), see Yves Schemeil, La politique dans l'ancien Orient, Paris, Presses de Sciences-po, 1999.

154 For example, if we take seriously the liberal platitude ‘I own my body’ (something Ferry does not like very much), that means that ‘I’ am external to ‘my body’, although I am nothing other than my body. Descartes's ill-famed dualism is hard to kill. The current neo-Darwinists, from D. Dennett to A. Damasio, have spent much time and great skill explaining that apparent discrepancy. Curiously, the problem of the emergence of music has given rise to the same debates.

155 Paul Rahe, Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2009. Although reflecting the author's mood and final arguments, the unattractive title is somewhat misleading because it does not give any idea of the subtle and tight line of reasoning of an important Montesquieu scholar. However, its reading should be accompanied with a serious injection of Pocock's historical scepticism towards political philosophy's abridgement of history (on Rousseau and Enlightenment radical ideologies, see J. G. A. Pocock, Political Thought and History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008). The ‘Montesquieu problem’ is at the heart of the contemporary empirical questions: what kind of citizen's virtue is required by tax compliance or a social democratic policy? ( McGraw, K. and Scholtz, J., ‘Appeal to Civic Virtue Versus Attention to Self-Interest: Effects on Tax Compliance’, Law and Society Review, 25: 3 (1991), pp. 471–98; D. Braun and O. Giraud, ‘Models of Citizenship and Social Democratic Policies’, in G. Bonoli and M. Powell (eds), Social Democratic Party Policies in Contemporary Europe, London, Routledge, 2004). Unfortunately, several micro-sociological studies show that a plurality of motivations coexist in front of a requirement of compliance and that March and Olsen's two logics (appropriateness and utility maximization) cannot be disentangled ( May, P., ‘Regulation and Compliance Motivations: Examining Different Approaches’, Public Administration Review, 65: 1 (2005), pp. 3144 ; Wenzel, M., ‘Motivation or Rationalisation? Causal Relations between Ethics, Norms and Tax Compliance’, Journal of Economic Psychology, 26 (2005), pp. 491508 ; Lindenberg, S. and Steg, L., ‘Normative, Gain and Hedonic Goal Frames Guiding Environmental Behavior’, Journal of Social Issues, 63: 1 (2007), pp. 117–37). Yet the macro-sociological question raised by Montesquieu is still valid.

156 As John Plamenatz noted long ago in his famous, and criticized, ‘Two Nationalisms’, the story holds true first and foremost for Western Europe. Between 1400 and 1800, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth where the Reformation was non-existent, state power was reduced and the influence of the nobility grew so that the commonwealth's role in European developments weakened and the interference of neighbouring powers in its internal affairs grew, the result being the emergence of nationalism not through the state's strength but its weakness (see A. Zamoyski, Poland. A History, London, Harper, 2009, much better on this period than on contemporary times).

157 On the highly confrontational and transformational features of the Glorious Revolution, admittedly less bloody than the French and Russian revolutions, see Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2008, a reassessment of the role of James II, whose project was to emulate Louis XIV's state, which makes 1688 the victory of one face of modernity, a commercial society, against another, a modernizing state bureaucracy, both of them condemned by Maistre. On seventeenth-century England after Cromwell as a state of censorship, corruption and turmoil, alleviated by Charles II's benign neglect, despite his taste for secret diplomacy with France, see A. Patterson, The Long Parliament of Charles II, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2008. Also, M. Kishlansky, Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603–1714, London, Penguin, 1997. With the benefit of hindsight it seems today that the ‘rearguard battles’ of 1720–1830 are making the headlines again, when the Islamist critiques of the Enlightenment, voiced in the 1950s by the influential Saïd Qutb (executed by Nasser), echo Maistre's and many others' critiques (R. L. Euben, Enemy in the Mirror. Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Revolutions, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1999).

158 Strauss was not mourning the demise of empire and of its illegitimate offspring, absolute divine monarchy transferring the emperor's status to the princes (the kings' ‘original legitimacy comes from History thanks to God or from God through History’, Yves-Marie Bercé, Les Monarchies, Paris, PUF, 1997, p. 9). But he would regret the breakdown of the unity of the ontological, moral and political orders, liable to provoke a ‘putrefaction of politics’ and the totalitarian attempt to create an artificial unity in the name of a would-be ‘authenticity’, hence its fulminations against Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau. Curiously, I have detected some Straussian flavour in a dire analysis of the post-totalitarian situation where the ‘church of civil society’ has replaced for a short while Marxism–Leninism: ‘By proclaiming that salvation is to be found here on this earth, through improvements in human institutional arrangements, neither [Marxism–Leninism or civil society] is able to connect with the transcendental, with the sense of the sacred, which so many human beings appear to need’ (‘the soul of the city’ strikes again: is a spurious dogma divorced from any sense of the sacred possible in the European ‘empire’? Chris Hann, ‘In the Church of Civil Society’, in M. Glasius, D. Lewis and H. Seckinelgin (eds), Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Contexts, New York, Routledge, 2004, p. 49).

159 Zielonka makes the familiar mistake of taking for granted Hobbes's amorality since his construction is based on the science of the laws of nature, and of indicting Westphalian realism for believing that ‘might makes right’ and cutting foreign policy from all ethical moorings as if there could be no morality in the state of war (which is questionable at the very least). The first claim is still hotly debated, the main issue being the possibility of morals based on self-interest (Gregory Kavka, Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory, Princeton, Princeton University press, 1986). As for the second, it stands true only as far as certain German theorists from the early twentieth century – including sometimes Carl Schmitt – are concerned; it ignores authors as diverse as Fénelon and Morgenthau, as well as the fact that, for all their dreadful breakdowns, in the first Wesphalian era (1648–1815), wars became less barbaric, particularly for civilians, and in the second one (1815–1939) the first conventions of The Hague were signed. More generally, the idea emerged that the international community needed rules and practices to subject the international game to a measure of rational calculation and control since enough people started to conceive of the domestic polities as associations of individuals and no longer as hierarchical structures endowed with a god-given legitimacy, which strengthened the foedus view of international politics (Tim Blanning, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe 1660–1789, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003, and Blanning, The Pursuit of Glory). Last, there is no logical connection between realism and the conviction that the ends always justify the means (Noel Malcolm, Aspects of Hobbes, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002, and Reason of State, Propaganda, and the Thirty Years' War. An Unknown Translation by Thomas Hobbes, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007. On the relation to the ‘radical Enlightenment’, Jeffrey Collins, The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005). Is it far-fetched to recall that Noel Malcolm is also a Eurosceptic? For an overall assessment of realism, see Stephen Walt, Annual Review of Political Science, 2002, and more specifically on Niebuhr, Morgenthau (who ended up advocating a world state) and Waltz, see Campbell Craig, Glimmer of a New Leviathan. Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau and Waltz, New York, Columbia University Press, 2003. The neo-realists, including Waltz, have maintained their thesis of the impossibility of a world state, e.g. John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Powers Politics, New York, Norton, 2001.

160 Skinner, Hobbes and Republican Liberty.

161 See the methodologically rigorous work of A. Atran and D. Medin, The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2008. The title might be misleading since the authors actually hold that although ‘nature’ is culturally constructed there is no denying that nature invented us.

162 His very well-documented tables relying on hard data do not seem to mention this aspect ( Taagepera, Rein, ‘Size and Duration of Empires: Systematics of Size’, ‘Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 3000 to 600 BC’, Social Science Research, 7 (1978), pp. 108–27 and 180–96; Taagepera, R., ‘Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 BC to 600 AD’, Social Science History, 3/4 (1979), pp. 115–38).

163 The denial, as the statement that the use of the concept of empire is an anachronistic fallacy, is represented, among others already cited, by Joseph W. Escherick, ‘The Return of Empire?’, p. 385. The political economist Deepak Lal presents a muscular version of a natural and scientific economic order complemented later by a praise of empires: Deepak Lal, Unintended Consequences. The Impact of Factor Endowment on Culture and Politics of Long-Run Economic Performances, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1998 (an advocacy of multiple modernities, provided that an unique economic path be followed); also Deepak Lal, In Praise of Empires, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, and Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Economics in the XXIst Century, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2006.

164 C. Offe and U. Preuss, ‘The Problem of Legitimacy in the European Polity. Is Democratization the Answer?’, Constitutionalism Webpapers, ConWEB 6, 2006. As politicians' logic is not political scientists' logic, the medals engraved on the eve of Napoleon's reign said ‘République Française. Napoléon Empereur’.

165 M. Burgess, Comparing Federalisms. Theory and Practice, London, Routledge, 2006. Also, M. Burgess, Federalism and the European States, 1950–2000, London, Routledge, 2000. The view is not shared by the lawyer Olivier Beaud, but that may be due to the different lexicons used by the two authors. Beaud dismisses the legal concept of sovereignty as it is commonly understood, but the question remains: are equal units sharing a divided sovereignty always in a situation of symmetry? Formally, yes, but the political economists think not since asymmetry of resources and asymmetry of contributions to the production of a public good (contributing more or less than the part permitted by one's resources) are one of the main issues in institutional economic theory, the outcome being that an institution may be formally asymmetric in order to produce the desired public good. As Father Lacordaire put it: in situations of structural inequality, power makes free and Freedom is oppressive.

1 I am aware of the unusual (to put it mildly) size of this review of excellent works designed for a larger audience than professional political scientists. My motives are twofold. First, those works are interesting and provocative enough to point to larger reflections based on more historical information and put within an overall theoretical framework. Second, I wanted to show the huge bulk of cumulative and sometimes contrary research on which they are built, just as Newton was ‘seated on the shoulders of giants’. Hence the amazing and tiresome, even for me, number of footnotes to document, and sometimes expand on the text. Instead of leaving the buildings in their state of elegant achievement once the scaffolding has been taken off, I have done quite the opposite and shown their blueprints, designs, material and tools used (plus some others). I have to thank most warmly the editorial board (and the copyeditor) for being so gracious and leaving me much more than the usual leeway. I wonder if any other journal would have ever done so.

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‘The Empire Strikes Back!’ An Uncanny View of the European Union. Part II – Empire, Federation or What? 1

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