Mr. Untouchable — What Herb Thinks

I’ll always remember that time, long ago, when I suddenly found myself standing in the middle of a brawl. What did I do? I just quietly walked around like someone in the center of the storm and watched. For some reason, I was never so much as touched.

This is the way I see Javier Solana. While all 15 EU heads he is supposed to represent in foreign policy are involved in a great, big brawl over Iraq, Solana is quietly walking among them. And so far, he hasn’t been so much as touched.

Solana was hired by the EU heads to represent their common foreign and security policy to the world. The problem was, since all had their own national interests, these 15 heads didn’t have a clue what their common foreign policy was. So, part of Solana’s job was to find where these 15 EU nations had common ground on foreign policy issues and forge for them a foreign policy course they could all follow as group.

For a long time things were going well for Solana. The common foreign policy strategy he was assigned to define for the EU was coming together better than many thought possible. The foreign policy course he had set for the EU in the Balkans was so successful (Read about it here) the EU leaders asked Solana to do the same for them in the Middle East.

And, just as he was making headway on the Middle East issue, Solana’s common foreign policy suddenly came apart. The issue of a war with Iraq scattered Solana’s EU heads like a firecracker scatters chickens (Read about it here).

How is Solana reacting? He’s doing what I did when I found myself in the middle of a brawl. He’s quietly walking around in the center of the storm and he’s watching.

How will this latest scuffle between the EU heads over Iraq effect Solana’s common foreign and security policy? In the short run, I don’t know. In the long run, I don’t think it will.

Why? Because so far Solana has always been Mr. Untouchable.

— Herb Peters
2/6/03