chapter  9
17 Pages

The use of force as coercive intervention: The conflicting values of the European union's external action

The use of force can be seen as the ultimate expression of willpower: it reflects

the determination by an individual or a group to impose someone’s will on

someone else, or at least to resist such imposition from the other side. Viewed in

this light, the connection between values and coercion is all too evident. Despite

this, values and identity are rarely analysed with respect to an actor’s pattern to

recur to force, particularly when the actor is the EU.1 This is a significant gap

since political values are invariably incorporated in the justification and ratio-

nale for resorting to force. George W. Bush launched the US campaign against

Iraq first claiming a violation by Iraq of international rules regarding weapons

of mass destruction (WMD), then emphasising the different rationale of toppling

a bloodthirsty tyrant. In early 2005, he inaugurated his second term calling for a

US role in the world aimed at exporting freedom.2 International rules, democ-

racy and liberty are the values Bush has most often referred to.