Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Convergence or Divergence (and Zoellick too)

I overheard two British officials today discussing a number of hot-button
issues (such as the final status of Kosovo and UN reform). One theme of their
conversation was the extent to which they felt the European states needed to
present positions that, even if they were in large agreement with Washington,
could still be distinguishable from the stated preferences of the United
States, so as to not be seen as blindly following or supporting a "made in the
U.S.A." initiative.

This raises the question about how the nomination of Robert Zoellick to be the
next head of the World Bank--and he was described by the president as a
committed "internationalist"--will play here in Europe. My assumption is that
it will be welcomed but that there will also be an expectation of greater
consultation and coordination with the other major donors.

The conversation also brings up a point that was often mentioned during my
visit to Serbia--whether or not the United States should assume that the
Europeans would automatically endorse a U.S. unilateral recognition of Kosovo
should the Security Council not pass a resolution based on the Ahtisaari plan.
I don't know how representative the sentiments expressed above are, but it does
provide some prima facie evidence that the EU would not automatically endorse
Washington's position and might in turn seek to put forward a distinct

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