"What I really hate is the effort to paint me as anti-American, but I am happy to be described as anti-neo-con. If they see me as a villain, I will wear that as a badge of honour. My hope is that foreign policy will become much more impartial. We have a whole set of emerging countries. There will be lots of exciting things to do with Sarkozy and Merkel and other European leaders as well as strengthening our transatlantic relations....There is this global hub where there is the opportunity to connect Britain to a new way of doing things, when you think again about the partnerships to get things done - how you bring in an India or a China, how you can bring in civil society, Oxfam and Save The Children....Events determine relationships. For better of worse, it is very unlikely that the Brown/Bush relationship is going to go through the baptism of fire and therefore be joined together at the hip like the Blair/Bush relationship was. That was a relationship born of being war leaders together. There was an emotional intensity of being war leaders with much of the world against them. That is enough to put you on your knees and get you praying together."
Lord Malloch Brown (formerly Sir Mark Malloch Brown) 14 July 2007, in www.telegraph.co.uk.
An "appalling" choice, Irwin Stelzer, in www.spectator.co.uk.
In the history of diplomacy it is rather rare indeed, that the utterances of a subordinate, and, indeed the choice of one, should register such comment, as that of Lord Malloch Brown. The nearest that one can remember would be the twin choices of Andrew Cavendish (otherwise known as the 11th Duke of Devonshire) and Lord Home, by Harold MacMillan in the early in 1960's. And, as anyone can see for themselves, while Lord Malloch Brown, is not the most diplomatic of individuals (on which more later), my own surmise it is the content rather than the form of what he says which is annoying to people on both sides of the Atlantic. Obviously, for Americans, especially of the neo-conservative hue, his comments must seem rather on the harsh side of the ledger. The fact that they are true, perhaps makes it all the more difficult to read of course...With the same holding true, of those in the UK who still adhere to the Blairite belief in not allowing for any diplomatic space between the USA and the UK. For them, the comments by the new Minister of State at the Foreign Office, must be truly hard to bear. Of course the weight and numbers of such individuals in either the Labour or Conservative Party are hardly what they were say six or ten years ago. For which of course the ineptness of the Bush Administration, and the Iraq debacle are very much to blame. As per Lord Malloch Brown himself: while he is an obviously intelligent individual, with a good number of years, in the softer (indeed very soft) side of International Relations: the World Bank, United Nations, et cetera; the Daily Telegraph interview clearly shows that he is very much a novice in the world of Great Power diplomacy. It is not so much that he is wrong to say what he says, it is the manner of it which is the problem. It being very much wrong to shout it down from the rooftops. If in fact the new Brown Government is interested in realigning the UK away from being Bush's poodle, than the last thing that is needed, while that adjustment takes place is for someone of Lord Malloch Brown's position, is to rub Washington's nose in the dirt. Especially, this current regime in the USA, which does not take kindly to slights, and, has a long memory of those indeed. In addition, I would venture to surmise that our new Minister of State, will probably not last very long, given his (intentional?) slight, to his superior, the new (and very Blairite) Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. To refer to his superior as: "the young Foreign Secretary", while referring to himself as the "wise eminence", is fruit for an early ouster. Especially with the (on the whole negative) publicity that the Daily Telegraph interview has garnered him. So perhaps one may conclude by urging that Lord Malloch Brown, enjoy his new found position...while it lasts. On that note, I encourage you all to read and indeed enjoy the Lord Malloch Brown interview in the Telegraph.
Mark Malloch Brown:'Let's not rely just on US' By Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson Interview
Mark Malloch Brown hadn't even ordered his ermine before he became the most contentious appointment to Gordon Brown's Government of all the talents.
While the aid agencies and liberals were still toasting the arrival of "Saint Mark" to Whitehall, the neo-cons on both sides of the Atlantic were throwing darts at photographs of their devil.
The former deputy secretary general to the UN divides opinion between those who see him as the great hope for Africa and a principled opponent of the war in Iraq, and those who believe that he is an anti-American egotist who defended Kofi Annan over the oil-for-food scandal.
Irwin Stelzer, Rupert Murdoch's right-hand man, called his appointment, "appalling".
The newly ennobled Lord Malloch Brown, who is still wearing his Make Poverty History wristband, is unrepentant.
In his first interview since joining the Government, he said: "What I really hate is the effort to paint me as anti-American, but I am happy to be described as anti-neo-con. If they see me as a villain, I will wear that as a badge of honour."
In fact, it is increasingly clear that his appointment as the new minister for Africa, Asia and the UN was part of a shift in strategy.
This week, Douglas Alexander, the uber-Brownite new International Development Secretary, told an audience in America that it was time for a new era of "soft power", in which Britain forged "new alliances" in a multi-lateralist world.
Despite official denials, this has been seen as a shot across the bows of the White House ahead of Mr Brown's first official Washington trip.
Lord Malloch Brown is even less coded than Alexander. The new Foreign Office minister says he wants Britain to broaden its international partnerships rather than rely solely on the special relationship with America.
"My hope is that foreign policy will become much more impartial. We have a whole set of emerging countries. There will be lots of exciting things to do with Sarkozy and Merkel and other European leaders as well as strengthening our transatlantic relations.
"There is this global hub where there is the opportunity to connect Britain to a new way of doing things, when you think again about the partnerships to get things done - how you bring in an India or a China, how you can bring in civil society, Oxfam and Save The Children."
Mr Brown will not, he thinks, be cosying up to Mr Bush quite as much on the sofa. "Events determine relationships. For better of worse, it is very unlikely that the Brown/Bush relationship is going to go through the baptism of fire and therefore be joined together at the hip like the Blair/Bush relationship was.
"That was a relationship born of being war leaders together. There was an emotional intensity of being war leaders with much of the world against them. That is enough to put you on your knees and get you praying together."
Britain's approach to foreign policy is, he thinks, about to change radically. But he thinks Mr Brown will get on with the White House because American foreign policy has also changed.
"We are getting a dramatic reassertion of multi-lateralism and a more pragmatic diplomacy led by Condi Rice [the secretary of state], very much with the support of the White House."
The problems started, he said, when a small group of neo-conservatives in Washington got "out of control". Lord Malloch Brown spent his last two years at the UN fighting their advance. Indeed, the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, was his fiercest critic.
In his view, the war with Saddam Hussein was the catalyst. "For the neo-cons what happened over Iraq was a completely unconscionable betrayal. The UN had forgotten its subordinate role to America. It was the ultimate humiliation of foreigners on America's own soil, breaking with the US on such a dramatic matter - as they saw it - of national interests. All kinds of emotions flared up."
He was happy to go into battle against the neo-cons on behalf of the UN. "I have spent all my life trying to build multi-national coalitions. For me, everything I had worked for and fought for was suddenly under attack from one corner of the American political system and if they wanted to go toe to toe on it, I was going to do it."
He believes he has always been in tune with mainstream America. "From Colin Powell to Condi Rice all the way through to Richard Holbrooke or Madeleine Albright, across that massive swath of American foreign policy, I would bet you a drink that you would find that I am their favourite multi-nationalist Brit.
"Over a dozen years or more I am the man who they have gone to. They were as upset for me as I was upset for myself that I had to go into the ring against the neo-cons."
The ornate splendour of the Foreign Office could not be more different to the stark concrete blocks of the UN building in New York but he said: "The architecture is the least of the differences."
The biggest contrast was over Iraq. He confirmed that he was against the war but said that he did not think Britain and America should now "cut and run".
"When last year there was an attempt to put together a new partnership for Iraq, I was the one who was called. Condi Rice came to Kofi Annan and said, 'the only person we want to run this is Malloch Brown. It is too serious to have anyone else do it' ."
Britain's reputation in the world has, he thinks, been damaged by the war. "I do believe that Iraq made Britain's position very difficult. I was sitting in a UN where most member states were on the other side of the argument. Obviously it had an isolating effect."
On Darfur, the British and Americans lost their moral authority, he said. "It frustrated me because Bush and Blair have led on this issue but their credibility was undermined by what had happened in Iraq."
He opposes the use of the phrase War on Terror. "At the UN we have always been a bit cautious of these broad-brush labels because they have a self fulfilling quality. We prefer more forensic rhetoric."
He is also sceptical about describing the new wave of terrorism as being committed by Muslims.
"Just labelling it in a way that bundles people together isn't always the best way." The West, he thinks, needs to be more willing to negotiate with some extremist groups for the sake of peace. I used to have to speak to the Khmer Rouge.
"We used to meet Taliban leaders and all kinds of Palestinian factions. It is not because by doing so you are giving them political support but you have to find ways of dealing with issues. There has to be some flexibility against some very firm principles."
But he draws the line at Hamas. "It is threatening the annihilation of its neighbour."
He does not, however, blame the recent terrorist attacks on the war in Iraq. "9/11 happened before Iraq," he said. "I grew up at a time when we saw certain parts of Europe go soft because of Baader-Meinhof (the German terrorist gang of the 1960s and 1970s).
"You saw their foreign policies being treated with disrespect by the rest of the world because they were seen as being craven to internal security threats."
On Iran, he thinks it is unlikely that there will now be military action. "We can't all stand idly by, but I think the baton is now clearly with those who favour negotiations."
His own priority is Afghanistan. "It has been in the shadow of Iraq and that has caused problems. We haven't always given it enough attention here or at the UN," he said. "It is painstakingly difficult to put it together again; there won't be any quick solutions. We are going to need a significant level of heavy commitment for some time."
The son of a South African, he thinks the world must also do more about Zimbabwe. At the UN he tried to force Robert Mugabe into line over land reform. "We have run out of adjectives to describe how bad it is and it is only getting worse. We have to persuade Europe and Africa that what is happening is completely unacceptable.''
Lord Malloch Brown believes that he is uniquely well placed to do just this kind of persuading.
The new minister first went to Washington as a graduate student and made his name heading various departments at the UN and the World Bank.
"He's the best connected man I have ever met. He knows all the world leaders," said one diplomat.
But he also made enemies. He became Kofi Annan's firefighter at a time when the UN was at loggerheads with Washington over the war in Iraq. "I am probably the only person in government who thinks he has got an easier job than his last job," he said.
"The last couple of years at the UN were extremely difficult. The idea that underpinned the organisation, of a strong relationship between the US and Europe, came uncoiled so it was crisis management every day."
His highly-paid job as vice-chairman of a hedge fund had to be sacrificed when he accepted Mr Brown's job offer.
"The call was impossible to resist ... I've got the politics bug," he said. "Twenty-five years ago I unintentionally left British politics after an utterly dismal abortive run through some SDP wine bars looking for a candidacy.
"There was a certain regret but I never expected to be able to do anything about it."
He only joined the Labour Party last week and is ready to annoy the traditionalists by sending at least one of his four children to private school.
He met Mr Brown 10 years ago when he was the vice president of the World Bank and his namesake was the new Chancellor. "We've talked a lot. Frankly I was really anxious to know who was going to be Foreign Secretary."
Some worry that Lord Malloch Brown, who is 53, will dominate the 42-year-old David Miliband, but he said: "It's fine for me to be, for the first time in my life, the older figure, the wise eminence behind the young Foreign Secretary."
What he wants to contribute, he said, is his less conventional, internationalist views. "I am not steeped in the British way of doing things. My whole career has been spent trying to get China or France or the international rescue committee to back me on some quixotic intervention on anything from child mortality to an ugly little civil war somewhere. I think in a more lateral, out-of-the-box way."
He said that he sees himself merely as a back-up. "I think David Miliband will score a hit when he goes to Washington. They know me very well. They have already started doing what they did at the UN, calling me when they have problems that they want to see fixed," he said.
"I think they are going to see this as just about as good a Foreign Office as they could ever get, with a very good sympathetic Prime Minister who wants a strong relationship."