| Donald Rumsfeld
Brussels, Dec. 3 (Reuters): He may be reviled in capitals across “old” Europe for his eloquent tongue-lashings, but US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld has been crowned “non-EU citizen of the year” by a EU affairs newspaper.
The European Voice’s annual award, announced yesterday, came just a day after Rumsfeld won Britain’s “Foot in Mouth” prize for a comment on the hunt for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
His latest award, voted by the public in an Internet poll, recognises the person from outside the 15-nation bloc who had the most influence on the EU’s agenda in 2003.
“Rumsfeld was nominated for having provoked the Europeans to reflect on (the) EU’s internal divisions with his infamous characterisation of a Europe split between 'old and new',” European Voice said in a statement.
When Rumsfeld was asked in January by a reporter about public Opposition in Europe to an Iraq war, he replied: “Now, you’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France, I don’t. I think that’s old Europe.”
His blunt comment on longtime allies provoked a storm of criticism in Europe and brought accusations at home that he was a loose cannon doing US foreign policy more harm than good.
But the old-new theory also kindled genuine debate on the shifting centre of gravity in the EU as it expands to the east.
Monday’s prize from Britain’s Plain English Campaign was awarded for a comment which has since been published in Pieces of Intelligence: the Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld: “We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”