18:29 Jul. 14, 2016
Euan MacDonald on how Ukraine might lose its staunchest ally in Europe
Have you heard the one about the new British prime minister appointing Boris Johnson as foreign secretary?
Actually, it's not a joke. Johnson, the clownish, comb-shy former London mayor is now in charge of the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a job which also puts him in charge of the British secret intelligence service, MI6.
Johnson was in fact quite a good mayor of London. The famous zip-wire incident, which saw him stuck, dangling, meters from the ground, wearing a blue safety helmet and waving a Union flag in each hand, was a perfect comic advertisement for the successful London Olympics in 2012, which were held under his watch.
His bumbling manner, permanently tousled blond hair, and love of peppering his speech with classical allusions is also endearing to some. But foreign minister material he is most definitely not.
For a start, there is his character: French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded Johnson a liar following the announcement of Johnson's appointment, probably referring to the mendacious "Leave" referendum campaign that Johnson led and won, and which will see the UK exit from the European Union in the coming years.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, reacting to the news, called Johnson "an irresponsible politician," while Dutch diplomat and European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, writing on Facebook, alluding to Johnson but not naming him, noted that "our job (of diplomacy) is not a game."