Here we go again...
I was wondering what the next area for Blair's EU presidency to fail in would be. They've already buggered up sorting out the budget, the constitution aftermath, CAP reform, data retention, very nearly Turkey, and doubtless numerous other less prominent areas of dispute which I've missed thanks to them being discussed behind closed doors or in Brussels corridors.
Next step? EU/US military relations - specifically that ongoing spat over the long-suggested European Defence Force (first proposed by Winston Churchill back in the 40s, and still no closer to becoming a reality).
The US position? What's the point if we've got NATO? (You can kind of see their point...)
The position of a good chunk of our EU brothers and sisters? Erm... We don't seem to agree with US foreign policy much at the moment and rather object to the idea that we could be forced via NATO ties into getting involved in wars with which we don't agree - we want our own little club, thanks. (You can kind of see their point too...)
The UK position? Almost exactly the same as that of the US.
Yep - we're the IDEAL people to be the middle-men on this one, aren't we? We can't speak for the rest of the EU because we don't agree with or understand the positions of a decent section of them - and those that disagree with the British position will likely refuse to be bound by any deals the UK presidency proposes out of suspicion that we're acting as Bush's lapdog rather than honest brokers - whether this is true or not.
On top of that we also can't shake off the ongoing competition between European military manufacturers (a decent percentage of which are British) and those of the US. So the US is going to be suspicious that all our boys are trying to do, nominally on behalf of the EU, is secure NATO contracts for British
arms dealers conflict resolution hardware suppliers.
Can't see this one going tits up...