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Normative power and EU arms transfer policy: A theoretical critique and empirical test


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  • Erickson, Jennifer L.
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    Arms transfers are both an economic necessity for the European arms industry and a potential obstacle for the emerging normative power role of the European Union (EU) in world affairs. Indeed, the biggest markets for arms exports in the post-Cold War era are often in states engaged in conflict or high levels of internal repression – precisely where the EU’s normative policy agenda seeks to promote peace, stability, and respect for human rights. Despite these glaring contradictions, however, research on how well the EU’s arms transfer behavior mirrors its normative power rhetoric has been largely absent. This article attempts to fill this theoretical and empirical void. I use regression analysis to examine the relationship between EU arms exports and the human rights, conflict, and democracy records of recipient states from 1990 to 2004. A case study of the debate to lift the arms embargo to China provides a more in-depth assessment of the politics behind EU arms transfers. Both analyses highlight the need to consider material interests and normative concerns in tandem in order to understand EU foreign policy. The findings also suggest that low levels of EU socialization and the predominance of domestic interests and values may hinder the creation of a single European external identity. -- Waffenexporte sind sowohl eine ökonomische Notwendigkeit für die europäische Waffenindustrie als auch ein potenzielles Hindernis für die entstehende normative Macht der Europäischen Union (EU) im Weltgeschehen. Tatsächlich gibt es in der Ära nach dem Kalten Krieg die größten Waffenmärkte oft in Staaten, die entweder miteinander in Konflikt stehen oder in hohem Maß interne Repression aufweisen – also genau in jenen Ländern, in denen die EU auf der normativen Ebene ihrer politischen Agenda danach strebt, Frieden zu stiften, für Stabilität zu sorgen und die Einhaltung der Menschenrechte voranzutreiben. Trotz dieser eklatanten Widersprüche gibt es sehr wenig wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen darüber, inwieweit Waffenlieferungen der EU deren moralischnormativen Rhetoriken reflektieren. Dieser Beitrag versucht, die vorhandene theoretische und empirische Lücke zu füllen. Anhand einer Regressionsanalyse untersucht die Autorin das Verhältnis von EU-Waffenexporten und Menschenrechten, Konflikten und demokratischer Entwicklung in den Empfängerländern zwischen 1990 und 2004. Eine Fallstudie über die Debatte zur Aufhebung des Waffenembargos gegen China dient einer tiefer gehenden Analyse der Politik hinter den europäischen Waffenlieferungen. Die Ergebnisse beider Analysen machen klar, dass es für ein Verständnis der EU-Außenpolitik notwendig ist, materielle Interessen und normative Bedenken gemeinsam zu untersuchen. Die Ergebnisse legen außerdem die Vermutung nahe, dass der geringe Grad einer EUSozialisation und die Dominanz nationaler Interessen und Wertvorstellungen die Herausbildung einer homogenen europäischen Identität im Außenverhältnis erschweren dürften.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance with number SP IV 2008-301.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbtci:spiv2008301

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