- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
What do you call the grouping of the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany, who are due to meet with Iran tomorrow for nuclear talks? In the U.S. it is generally referred to as the wonderfully awkward P5+1. But of course it all depends on your perspective:
The latter grouping is known either as the P plus 1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) or the E3 plus 3, the three Europeans countries plus the others.
This is even worse than P5+1. There’s nothing really "European" about this group and it’s bizarre to refer a set of countries with an adjective that only describes half of them. Why not the "Pacific rim countries plus 3" or the "English-speakers plus 4"?
The only solutions I can see are to expand the security coucil so that countires like Germany don’t need a special invite, or add another country with a vowel so they can have a proper acronym.