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Abstract

Despite the apparent consensus that European Union (EU) normative power embodies a Kantian cosmopolitan approach to world politics, such a consensus is typically presupposed by scholars, rather than being critically examined by them. By offering macro-historical reflections, this article argues that EU normative power deviates from the Kantian cosmopolitan ideal and in fact replicates the Hobbesian logic of normative homogenization. Renouncing the medieval Vatican's ambition to construct a united Europe anchored in uniform normativity, Kantian theory celebrates multiple normalcy as the basis for human freedom, perpetual peace, and mutual transformation. In contrast, Hobbesian theory is driven by the conviction that a peaceful value-based community could be built only through normative homogenization, behavioural conformism, and moral unity. In Hobbesian theory, the Leviathan exercises a transformative power to socialize others, eliminate discords, and build a commonwealth through norm diffusion and public education. In this vein, the EU's aspiration to build a normatively homogenous Europe seems to reflect Hobbes's vision of normative unity, rather than Kant's vision of cosmopolitan diversity. Should the EU aspire to pursue a cosmopolitan foreign policy, it needs to pay more attention to the power-political implications of its drive toward normative homogenization and shift its focus from socialization to mutual transformation.

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