Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The curious mindset of Mr Miliband

There is something not quite right the head with our current foreign secretary. Only a man with a brain that is not correctly wired could stand up in parliament and glibly tell MPs that, "The international consensus is that the will of the Zimbabwean people must be revealed and properly respected," when that self-same man has done his level best to ensure that the wishes of the British people on the constitutional Lisbon treaty are neither "revealed" nor "respected".

But the curious mindset of David Miliband does not stop here. He is tonight set to claim that Britain has more influence over the greatest global challenges by arguing from a position at the centre of Europe rather than by acting unilaterally.

This is billed as Miliband's "most pro-European speech as foreign secretary", remarks which amount to "a renewed offensive by the pro-European wing of the government following the relatively harmless passage of the Lisbon treaty through the Commons."

Yet, these remarks follow the defining events in Iraq and on the same day that a major Nato summit starts in Bucharest. In the former, the "footprint" of the EU is so slight that, throughout the whole crisis, there was no comment recorded from any EU officials.

As regards the Nato summit, one of the most important items on the agenda will be the vexed question of additional troops for Afghanistan, where again the EU has no locus at all. Even the EU member states which provide troops do so on their own account and not as members of the EU.

Thus, even though in two of the major and possibly most important foreign policy issues for the UK - Iraq and Afghanistan - the EU is largely an irrelevance, the boy Miliband is still set to assert that the EU is a vehicle for the expression of British foreign policy.

Quite how bankrupt that thinking has become is best illustrated by Gordon's new bestist friend, Nicky Sarkozy. For some many weeks now, he has been dropping hints that, come the Nato summit, he will be set to announce that he plans to send another 1,000 troops to Afghanistan, with a possible relaxation of the national caveat which will allow them to do some fighting in the south and east of the country.

But, Nicky's prime minister, Francois Fillon, has now said that Paris was looking to send just "several hundred" more troops to Afghanistan – far short of the "major contribution" that was being signalled.

And, while the perfidious Frogs – part of the European Union that the boy Miliband thinks is so wonderful – are playing their little games, the United States is in the process of deploying an additional 3,500 US Marines complete with 20 helicopters, their own organic air support, air transport and artillery.

Comparing the rhetoric with the reality, far from being an effective vehicle for expressing British foreign policy, the EU is at best an irrelevance and, at worst, a positive handicap. To have a foreign secretary who so transparently thinks otherwise is more than a little worrying.


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