November 9, 1997
“ A physicist with the dark eyes and seductive shrug of a Mastroanni *, Mr. Solana is well known in Europe as a clever politician and diplomat. ‘Solana is NATO with warm and fuzzy feelings,” said Charles A. Kupchan, professor of international relations at Georgetown University. ”He puts his arm around your shoulder and holds your hand. He’s especially appropriate for the enlargement debate because he makes everyone feel included.
But his biggest diplomatic coup was playing deal maker in coaxing Moscow to agree last May to enter into a new partnership with NATO.When the Russian Foreign Minister, Yevgeny M. Primakov, initially dismissed him as an American puppet and resisted meeting him, Mr. Solana knew exactly what to do. He won the full backing — in writing — of NATO’s political arm and relentlessly wooed the Russians, sending Mr. Primakov a bottle of Carlos Primero brandy along the way.
When agreement was reached, he told the Russians he ”wanted to celebrate” by touring Russia on his annual August vacation with his wife and two children. ”I told them I wanted my kids to know this great country while they were young,” he said. ”You have to show respect. We’re talking about a great country, a great people who have suffered so much. They were so moved. Yeltsin put his personal plane at my disposal.”
But Mr. Solana’s charm can deceive. Even NATO diplomats with extraordinary sang-froid acknowledge his fiery temper can rattle them.
Comment by Adamantine:
Someone may be waiting in the wings who will need to show another side of his character which may be needed to uproot nations.
*Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni, Knight Grand Cross (28 September 1924 – 19 December 1996) was an Italian film actor. His honours included British Film Academy Awards, Best Actor awards at the Cannes Film Festival and two Golden Globe Awards.