EUobserver / US welcomes EU's new foreign policy powers: "'These are historic times for the EU. I expect that in decades to come, we will look back on the Lisbon Treaty and the maturation of the EU that it represents as a major milestone in our world's history,' Ms Clinton told press in Washington on Thursday (21 January)."
There was initially some question as to the priority between the high representative of EU and the foreign minister of the rotating chairmanship nation which seems to have come out in favor of Lady Ashton. Continuity, a budget and 5,000 employees should in all probability trump a nation's foreign service, especially if it is not a question of the major EU powers.
Clinton and Ashton have both come down on Iran with a quest for sanctions but Iran was saved by China in the UN Security Council. China advocated "patience". It should be remembered that this is said by the nation that claims it is too early to say if the French revolution was good or bad. If I have understood this correctly, this means that sanctions are not going to work. China likes to have a hot lunatic, North Korea, on Japan and one on the Middle East, not to mention the check on India via Pakistan, who they helped getting nuclear weapons.
Why do I also advocate no sanctions on Iran? Well, my thinking differs from that of China in that I believe Iran is more Western than Asian and that properly encouraged it will begin trading more with Europe. Something that would minimize the risk of their future nuclear weapons. The large Muslim diaspora in Europe would serve as a padding for future relations with the Middle East.
Germany is already the main trading partner with Iran even if this apparently might be because Ahmadi-nejad thinks they will become anti-semitic and help out against Israel. Gerhard Schröder got the question on a recent visit. It is, however, a fact that the EU is so anti-Israel that this might have positive effects on the future interaction with Iran. It is a difficult balance but might be worth a try in solving this Gordian knot.