I will now write from ignorance, ignorance which, family stuff aside I hope to dash soon, but I digress.
I noted that on Sunday in the Times, Mark Leonard, formerly the Young Pooh Bah of the Foreign Policy Centre, now head of Foreign Policy at the Centre for European Reform (with Charles bloody Grant – people will think I am stalking him) and one time collaborator with my friend Tom, had his book reviewed by Robert Cooper. The book is called “Why Europe will run the 21st Century”, and was book funded by a five month fellowship with the German Marshall fund.
Cooper himself is no slouch of course, former Foreign Policy “guru” to the Prime Minister and author of the neo-imperialist “The Breaking of Nations” in 2003, he now nestles in Brussels, and sitteth at the right hand of Javier Solana in the post of “Director General, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union; Directorate-General E - External economic relations, common foreign and security policy”.
However back to the review, ahem.
It starts with a crescendo of soap,
“Mark Leonard, who is something between an infant prodigy and an enfant terrible in the world of foreign affairs. When he was running the Foreign Policy Centre their parties were the only ones worth going to.”Rocks along in general agreement with ideas such as,
“Leonard makes the bolder claim that the EU has saved democracy” , “Membership of the EU means not a handing over of power to Brussels but a net increase in effective power,” and “if voter turnout is anything to go by, the EU seems to suffer from a democratic surplus as far the average citizen is concerned.”.
But finally Cooper does draw a little blood, a little like a Heidelberg Duelling scar, there for honour of the reviewer and the reviewed rather than anything more meaty,
“This book says rather little about the failures and difficulties. It doesn't explain the flaws of a system where nobody seems to be in charge”.
The reason why I comment at all is that I note that next week, on the 8th Robert Cooper is the guest of honour at the book launch for Leonard’s book here in in the intriguingly named ‘Polak’ Room in the Residence Palace in Brussels, a fact he just sort of missed out on when he wrote his review.