In particular, the European Union’s foreign policy posture and the continent’s domestic policies would benefit from a dose of ruthlessness in the pursuit of power and economic dynamism.

Whether Europeans admit it or not, the Western-dominated international order is at its end. The reasons are manifold, including the declining willingness of Americans to play the role of a global policeman, stepping in to fix all the world’s problems. And notwithstanding the signals provided by both Barack Obama’s and Trump’s presidencies, Europe, with its atrophied defense budgets, sluggish economies, and a lack of strategic focus, shows few signs of being able to take effective care of itself.

Instead of a laser-sharp focus on the pursuit of interests shared by Europe’s democracies, with all the tools that are necessary, the European Union’s engagement with its neighborhood has been reduced to lukewarm efforts to export its own rules. The Eastern Partnership agenda and Brussels’s work in the Western Balkans, for instance, revolve around the idea that European countries outside of the European Union are aspiring to become just like the West. If that is the case, then all that is needed for Brussels to do is to help them ingest a heavy dose of acquis communautaire.

Looking at the world as if it were aching to become like us adds up to a retro, 1990s-style foreign policy.

And it didn’t work very well in the 1990s.