"I wouldn't underestimate the increasing weight of the EU in the world" - US Assistant Secretary Philip Gordon, London, January 2013
Does Assistant Secretary Gordon mean the EU's economic weight? The EU's share of global GDP is down from 36 percent in 1973 to an estimated 15 percent by 2025.
Perhaps he means the EU's military weight? As demonstrated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and before that in the former Yugoslavia?
Or does Assistant Secretary Gordon mean the EU's weight of debt, which certainly shouldn't be underestimated?
Mr Gordon's rather clumsy intervention in Britain's EU debate really only tells us two things;
Firstly, the "unthinkable" idea of British withdrawal is now being thought about.
Secondly, the US State Department - like our own Foreign Office - is a repository for all kinds of out-dated ideas and assumptions about the world. Mr Gordon is upholding a long and honourable tradition within the State Department of failing to see which way the wind is blowing (see Collapse of Communism, Arab Spring etc).
We should not be offended. Diplomats who work with supranational institutions rather like the idea that the world should be run by diplomats working through supranational institutions. It does not make them truly representative of their country.
As the referendum draws nearer, all manner of supranational grandees will be wheeled out to tell us we are better off being governed by supranational grandees. Fortunately, they don't get a vote.
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex