Friday, April 30, 2010

Solana and the new world order

"Failure can be the beginning of a tomorrows success"
(crisis = opportunity)
Among the approximately 70 employees, many former diplomats, you have direct access to Foreign ministries and heads of state around the world. Currently, CHD (="Centre Henry Dunant")-mediator in 14 active conflicts, as in the Philippines, Burma, East Timor, Somalia, Kenya, Central African Republic and Sudan. The activities in other countries, considers the center a secret out of consideration to the rival camp. Javier Solana in early March became the honorary chair of the CHD. He also teaches at the London School of Economics and is head of the department for foreign policy research at the renowned U.S. think tank Brookings Institution.

-Looking at your career, you were always at the right time, at the right place: after the end of the Cold War You were NATO Secretary General, and brought the relationship between NATO and Russia back in order ...

-In history, the signing of the NATO-Russia Act of 1997 in Paris will probably be recorded as my most important achievement.

-Then you switched to the EU, as it was about the eastward expansion.

-I had the chance to put the EU foreign policy into the world if you will. We have established a common foreign and security policy. Nothing like this has been before. Today the EU is active on every continent in crisis management. If I wanted to be immodest, I would say that I all organizations I could lead, I have brought them to their highest level.

-What logic is behind it that now you have entered into a non-governmental organization?

-What do you mean by logic? There is no logic behind it. When I was 30 years in a public office and have the last 13 years never slept more than three nights in a row in the same bed, it was time to start something new.

-Actually, what did your wife say to this impressive bed rotation?

-You must ask her yourself. No, seriously, I could fill in my long career major foreign policy positions: first as foreign minister later in my home country of Spain, a NATO Secretary General, then as High Representative of the EU. I have not looked for these positions. I am by profession a professor for theoretical physics, not a trained diplomat. Only to me policy is in the blood. For me, politics is a way to serve the community. That was always my motivation. Now my office in Brussels had expired. But I had no desire to retire completely. Therefore I have made the commitment at the CHD.

-Are you a real peace negotiations involved in?

-No, I advise the diplomats of CHD. I help to make contacts, develop ideas and imagination in the negotiations. The Center has an excellent international reputation.

-The success is not guaranteed. You yourself have unsuccessfully mediated in the Middle East and Iran. How does one deal with such losses?

-Mediation and conflict resolution are lengthy processes. They require exceptional strength, energy and tremendous dedication. Nevertheless, the success is not guaranteed. But even if you fail, you have to keep trying. Because a failure today may be the beginning of a success of tomorrow. I do not think that all the energy we have invested in these two cases were useless. It has laid a foundation of trust and created elements on which to build the later processes.

-When the financial crisis has changed the world order?

-It has accelerated trends that were already under way. The most important trend is certain the impressive power shift from West to East, specifically to Asia. This will fundamentally change the management of the world without doubt. The power shift will be accompanied by a transfer of resources, wealth, and even of the population shares. Europe's share will fall. The structures of world order will be adjusted accordingly.

-Is it so difficult to coordinate a multi-polar world?

-We do not yet know how we need to organize this multi-polarity, so that they will for multilateral cooperation. The political legitimacy and material resources are still very committed to a national focus. We urgently need to strengthen the international organizations to act and do: this happens already to some extent. At the financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has become much more active.

-What makes you think it will succeed at the end?

-I come from an organization that is multinational and multilateral working simultaneously. The EU has shown that a voluntary transfer of power and sovereignty is possible from national to an international organization. Even in such sensitive areas as in the monetary area. I am not saying that the EU is a model for future world order(sic!). But she has shown that one can move in that direction (sic!!).

-What role can Switzerland play in the changed world order? We have called many times since
the end of the Cold War had its good services less in demand.

-In my work I have experienced mediators in Geneva and Zurich always hospitality, support and assistance in resolving conflicts. I do not even remember how many times I met in Geneva, representatives of Iran and have benefits from the informal contacts of Swiss diplomacy. Switzerland has also helped to mediate the agreement between Turkey and Armenia, was allowed to attend the signing in Zurich I. It is therefore not disappeared from the stage of a mediator.

-Switzerland is currently under international pressure - in the U.S., the EU, especially in Libya. Did you already had to do with head of state Khaddafi?

-I used to deal with him.

-How do you do best with him around?

-With many, many meetings (laughs). In very long sessions (still laughing). It takes a lot of patience. He is not an easy negotiating partner.

-What makes a good mediator out of such a situation?

-To be successful in his negotiations, it needs a lot of preparatory work. You have to know very much about the culture, power structures, the history of the counterpart, everything plays into it. It will achieve nothing without winning the confidence of the other side. It does so in particular perseverance and optimism.

-Was it wise to use the Schengen Agreement, the EU, the Libyan affair implicate in?

-A solution to this difficult conflict is not a question of the size of the party to the conflict or the money. The difficulties stem from the fact that the personalities involved are very difficult and come from different cultural backgrounds. Switzerland has overcome difficult situations without EU assistance. Others with EU assistance. I am convinced that it is very helpful for Switzerland in the Schengen to be there. But I do not want to continue to express on Libya affairs."

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