In the immediate aftermath of the cabinet reshuffle, most of the discussion seems to revolve around what the appointment of David Miliband as foreign secretary—who has made critical remarks about Israel’s conduct in Lebanon last summer, and who is widely supposed to have deep misgivings about Britain’s role in Iraq—will mean for British foreign policy. In terms of “giving signals,” however, the appointment of Mark Malloch Brown—on which more later—as foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN seems even more provocative; as deputy secretary-general of the UN, Malloch Brown made himself a hate figure in the US last year when he criticised Washington for allowing “too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping.”
Meanwhile, as Prospect predicted in May, Malloch Brown’s former UN colleague Michael Williams may have found himself embroiled in a turf war with Tony Blair in the middle east, to where, of course, the dethroned Blair will be acting as the “quartet’s” representative. For the last few weeks, Williams has been acting as the UN’s special envoy to the middle east, but is the region big enough for two British diplomatic big-hitters? There are rumours that Blair will take over Williams’s office in Jerusalem. Might we even see Williams return to London?