Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. The FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind … or under.
Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union. The previous one also a past foreign minister of Spain, Javier Solana, whose main claim to distinction is that he is the grand nephew of Salvador de Madariaga, historian, politician and chief of the ill-fated League of Nations mission for world disarmament. It's a shame, neither Hitler nor Mussolini (nor Tojo) wanted to cooperate. So Solana's blood runs thick with hope and thin with achievement. He did spend his six years as a physics graduate student at the University of Virginia, with a good deal of his energy there siphoned off to march against the Vietnam war. Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh! Ha. Ha.I can. Arrogance. Dhimmitude. And a heaping helping of Zionhass.
Solana's successor, the Baroness Ashton of Upholland (neé Catherine Ashton), was Labor leader of the House of Lords, testimony to the diminishing stature of the peers. In the eighties, she was treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND); this was long after nutty but brilliant Bertie Russell was dead but in the midst of the deepest financial machinations of the Soviet Union in the atomic or anti-American atomic effort. Of course, she didn't know about that—although it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of the campaign's money came from Moscow. And, if she didn't know that, she is capable of knowing nothing.
As Solana had, so has Ashton developed a certain reflexive patter about the Arab-Jewish conflict. She wants Israel to stop its "blockade" of Gaza, as if there were hunger and disease in the Strip. This is simply not so. In very harsh language, Lady Ashton has drawn her own boundaries around "legitimate" Israel, boundaries that ignore more than 40 years of history when nature and politics did not bow to the intransigence of the Palestinian polity, such as it is and such as it is not.
Frankly, I cannot grasp what gives the Union the idea that it is a force in the long dispute between Israel and the hapless Palestinians...