The new leadership in Brussels has proclaimed itself as “geopolitical” and eager to “use the language of power.” They have, to an extent, the means to act too. Taken together, Europeans have an impressive panoply of instruments to exert influence in world affairs. It’s time they used them — starting in Libya.
There are countless conflicts within and beyond Europe. The EU can’t intervene in each one, nor would it always be able to bring about change if it did. But there are also cases where Europeans have the ability to influence a conflict and where their absence directly harms the Continent’s interests.
In these conflicts, the case for intervention is clear — and Europe’s inaction in them makes all the talk of grand strategy ring hollow. Libya is one of these.
Europeans clearly have the ability to influence Libya. Bound by historical, economic, societal, energy, security and migratory interdependences, Europe’s potential to exert its will in the country is significant.
With no boots on the ground, there’s only so much Europe can accomplish — and the likely outcomes of the conflict in Libya range from bad to worse.