Chris Patten

Chris Patten is a former European commissioner for external relations.

Recent Articles

Europe and the Middle East

While Bush has done nothing to solve the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Europe has stood idly by. It's time for the continent to assert itself.

It is extremely unlikely that there will be an equitable and lasting settlement in the Middle East without the balanced and sustained involvement and leadership of the United States. As the only superpower in a world of increasingly influential lesser powers, the United States matters everywhere. No one else does. Donald Rumsfeld might have called this reality a "known known." But other countries or groups of countries also matter hugely, in some regions and over some issues: China on North Korea; India and China on future environmental hazards; Europe on the Middle East. Europe matters here for four reasons. First, geographical proximity: The Middle East is our backyard, or maybe our front porch. Second, historical and cultural links. Third, commercial contacts: We're working to create a free-trade area around the Mediterranean supported by a large development budget and soft loans. Fourth, backing: Any settlement is going to require our financial and political support. So how does...