Ambassador Richard Holbrooke on the new EU Foreign Minister: Catherine Who?

Sally McNamara /

The ramifications of the EU’s disastrous choice of Catherine Ashton for its first full-time Foreign Minister are going from bad to worse. Following a less-than-stellar performance during a question-and-answer session with the European Parliament, America’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, embarrassingly struggled to remember her name at dinner with European bureaucrats this week.

While EU elites have been worryingly obsessed with Brussels’ internal reorganization for the past eight years, Washington and London have been leading the bloody campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. From Washington’s perspective, the organization of the EU is less important than what it can offer for global security and stability. And judging by EU efforts at training the Afghan National Police, the answer is “not a lot”; The EU mission has been too small, underfunded, slow to deploy, inflexible, and largely restricted to Kabul. And judging by France and Germany’s reluctance to support President Obama’s new counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan this week, there is little reason to believe that they will beef up the support offered by the EU either. (more…)