To address this, Europeans need first and foremost to redevelop a narrative of power. In a new pamphlet, former MoD official Nick Witney tries to lay out the required narrative. He argues that Europe’s future security and prosperity now depends on success in a global competition. Europe’s belief that "soft power" is somehow enough is naïve, and has no other takers amongst its global competitors.
To this I would add that in many of the places Europeans like to influence events, from Egypt to China, having a credible military outlook is crucial to the diplomatic effort. Nick Clegg could not get to see Egypt's Field Marshall Tantawi, for instance, when he visited Cairo recently — but General Sir David Richards would probably have more luck. But if Europeans, including Brits, do not maintain capable military forces, no amount of bemedaled generals will help.