For a long time now, it has been a staple of US foreign policy that closer European integration is a good thing, and, for a long time now, that has been a mistake. Has the penny finally dropped? In interesting – and largely overlooked (well, by me anyway) – remarks in London last month State Department Policy Planning Director Richard Haas may have signaled a change of direction.
Asked whether America wanted to deal with a single ‘European’ foreign minister, Haas said this:
“I would rather deal with five countries that are willing to deal with us seriously”.
The Sprout (a magazine based in Brussels that is unlikely to be on the EU Commission’s approved list) has more here. As for the half-century old history cited in the article, I’ve no idea, but in terms of a signpost to the future The Sprout has picked up on what could be – and should be – a significant, and long overdue, shift in direction. All the talk in Paris, Berlin and elsewhere about the EU becoming a ‘counterweight’ to the US may, at last, have been heard in Washington.
The writer of the piece also suggests that America may have “converted to an Imperialist model: divide and rule”. “Imperialist”? Not necessarily – it’s just basic diplomacy. As for ‘divide and rule’, well, to divide something implies that it was united in the first place.
And in Europe, fortunately, that it is still not the case.