What should we do? Take great care, for a start.
At the time of the Schleswig-Holstein question, when Britain was the world’s hyperpower, we avoided wading in. We would be wise to be cautious now.
Maybe, just maybe, this desire to be in the thick of things comes less from a sense of our strength, and more from a fear of our weakness. Perhaps after Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, a certain kind of British official feels that this is what one does.
British diplomats might want to be doing the deals and laying down the terms of the UN resolutions. But since when was the amour-propre of British diplomats the yardstick by which we measure the national interest?In his anticipation of the motives of British diplomats, what seems to have escaped Carswell's notice is that the UK does not have a choice in the matter. We are members of the EU and as a consequence we cannot have a separate national foreign policy on nations who have Association Agreements with the EU and are undergoing a European Neighbourhood Policy which applies to Ukraine.
Such matters are now a European External Action Service (EEAS) competence so our foreign policy is whatever President Barosso and Baroness Ashton decides it is. It doesn't matter what the UK wants - we are up to our necks in the Ukrainian mess because of our EU membership.
The increasing importance, or 'encroachment' of the EEAS regarding the UK is demonstrated by its continuing expansion at same time the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is declining. For example since 2006-7, staffing has been cut from 7,005 to 4,450 and it is planned to fall further to 4,285 by 2014-15 (page 31).
Yet strangely not once is the EU or the EEAS mentioned in Carswell's blog. And it's not as if Carswell is unaware of the EEAS given that he voted against its establishment in July 2010 while most of his colleagues voted for it, and in October of the same year he said this to the House:
I remind Members that the European External Action Service is the EU's diplomatic corps. It already has about 20 times the budget of our Foreign and Commonwealth Office.So one wonders why the silence now, Carswell?
Update: I've just spotted that Autonomous Mind has just written a piece on a similar theme regarding the silence on the EEAS from Con Coughlin in the Telegraph.