Editorial: The tone set by former US ambassador David McKean during his brief tenure could hardly stand in more contrast to the new American president or the man tipped to be the new US ambassador to the EU.
If Theodore Roosevelt Malloch becomes the next US ambassador to the European Union, he can expect short shrift from the majority of Luxembourgers.
Malloch--who seems to prefer to be called Ted--caused a stir during an interview with Andrew Neil on the BBC’s “This Week” talk show when he said that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker “was, I think, a very adequate mayor of a city in Luxembourg and maybe he should go back and do that again”. Neil was clearly shocked and amused. “This is clearly going to be a very diplomatic appointment,” the host guffawed.
At least, in stark contrast to the crass and moronic style of Donald Trump, Malloch has the good grace to speak with decorum and displays the intelligence and knowledge that befits a potential top diplomat. An academic, Malloch chooses his words carefully and even when he resorts to hurling brickbats there is a sense of mischievous knowing that he is rubbing people up the wrong way. Rather more worrying was a statement hinting that he would revel in the downfall of the EU. “I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped to bring down the Soviet Union, so maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.”
The former ambassador to Luxembourg, David McKean, must be grateful that he is out of the circuit if Malloch is the sort of person that the United States thinks should be representing its interests and promoting diplomacy in the EU. McKean was clearly a fan of the European Union and, like Barack Obama and his good friend John Kerry, and like many Luxembourg politicians, he recognised how crucial a strong EU was for stability in Europe. One thing McKean and Malloch agree on is that some countries should contribute more to the collective defence of Europe, but other than that they seem to be worlds apart.
Gracious and well-read, and well-versed in the intricacies of Washington’s workings, McKean took genuine interest in the people he met. He may have been a political appointee but could easily have made a highly successful career in diplomacy. It is a shame Luxembourg was robbed of his talent all too soon. We await the nomination of president Trump’s appointee as the next Luxembourg ambassador with bated breath.
Let us hope the candidate is not as vacant as the commander-in-chief himself.
Duncan Roberts is editor-in-chief of Delano. Share your comments on this opinion piece: [email protected]