|Catherine Ashton - Muammar Gaddafi - Donald Rumsfeld - Henry Kissinger|
The British, in their quiet way, have long suggested that European states should aspire to a more coherent foreign policy. They have had some vocal supporters along the way - Kissinger, the slippery US war-monger, and Donald Rumsfeld for instance. Moreover, a long line of international problems, from the Kosovo crisis to Libya, has reinforced the British point. Now, with the rise of China and the onset of global multipolarity, their argument seems to have caught on. "Speaking with one voice" on international affairs has become something of a mantra. Best of all, the UK now has a Brit, Catherine Ashton, as EU Commissioner for external relations, the closest thing the EU has to a foreign minister. A dream come true for London? Err, well no. In a triumph for "Europeanisation", the British are now the EU's most provincial and inward-looking nation. Ashton, meanwhile, has become the bloc's punchbag.