A new force and factor may be about to emerge in international affairs.
It is the European Union, an economic and political grouping of 27 member states that hitherto has been mainly concerned with trade and regional matters.
Two new developments may be about to trigger a more active international role for this coalition.
One is Ireland's Oct. 2 ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which empowers and legitimizes the EU in new ways.
The second is the treaty's creation of a permanent presidency, the likely incumbent of which is said to be former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Although several other lesser-known candidates have been mentioned, Mr. Blair is the odds-on favorite. He was recently the special envoy to the Middle East of the "quartet," the EU, the United Nations, the United States, and Russia.
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