The European Union is a new level of power to which States are invited to surrender part of their sovereignty in order to exert it together at a more global level—that of the European Union. This is a new level of power above the State.
But the EU is neither a State nor a Super-state. It is a transmodern or planetary structure.
That’s right… without knowing it, the Founding Fathers of the European Union created what Jacques Delors called an “unidentified political animal.” I dare add that it is a political animal of the new transmodern or planetary paradigm that corresponds to the true needs of the 21st century, as it appears more and more obvious that war and violence are no longer acceptable political solutions.
The EU is, in fact, the first transmodern political construction. It is the first structure that relativises the State hegemony, since it organises a sharing of part of the national sovereignties to institutionalise absolute non-violence between the States of the Union. But, by so doing, the member States create, de facto, a superior level of power and of continental responsibility to which they delegate part of their sovereignty. And the European Court of Justice did not err when it decided that European laws always take precedence over national laws.
The EU is an enormous and significant step toward a non-violent global society. It is setting us, without our knowledge, in the political transmodern or planetary vision because it is a new level of power (not State controlled) and of political continental responsibility.
During my years at the European Commission, I had he opportunity to attend reflections on the evolution of national governments as they visited Brussels. Such governments usually need several years to realise that when they sign European laws they are not at the same level of power as when they sit in their national government. It is not the same level of power, nor the same level of responsibility. One can observe quite often a heightening process of the level of political consciousness of the government and its political staff. Suddenly, they become conscious of their new level of European and global responsibility… just about the time that the government is replaced by the subsequent one.
But this also means that the great “modern” thinkers of political wars like Clausewitz and Machiavelli are also surpassed. Thus, it is an enormous side of political science and of war tactics that is collapsing. In fact, we are also facing a paradigm shift in the manner in which war itself is conducted. A British general who directed the siege of Sarajevo in the Balkan war has just published a revolutionary book that suggests a total rethinking of our strategic concepts in a mutating world. According to him, the atomic bomb of 1945 ended the “industrial war” and opened the era of the “war among people.” The result is that “you use soldiers for tasks that they are not prepared for.”
I believe that we are only at the beginning of a reflection on the role of armies in the post-industrial, transmodern 21st century.
* Among many activities, Marc Luyckx spent 10 years at the European Commission’s forward study unit. He’s the author of different books, including “Co-creating the new civilisation” from which this excerpt is drawn. To know more : Wikipedia
 General Sir Rupert SMITH: “The utility of Force: the art of War in the modern World. Penguin Books 2005.