Through the glass ceiling
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Friday 06 December 1996
Love her or hate her, on one thing all are agreed. In almost four years in New York, Ms Albright has been the most powerful occupant ever of a post shaped in equal measure by global political realities and the whims of the administration of the day. Never before has Washington's UN envoy enjoyed both Cabinet rank and full membership of the President's National Security Council.
And she has taken full advantage. She admits she is no grand strategist like Kissinger. Throughout a career which has taken her from aide on Capitol Hill to professor of international relations at Georgetown, hard work and a steely determination have been her hallmarks.
"The Queen of Mean", her foes have called her. Even afriend from the UN calls her "abrasive", projecting a "cold, hard image". Boutros Boutros Ghali, the Secretary-General that Washington is in the process of ousting, would in private have choicer epithets still.
But Ms Albright has not thrived on nastiness alone. Unlike the diffident and retiring Warren Christopher whom she will replace, she is a masterly user of television. More precious still, she can claim a longstanding friendship with Bill and especially Hillary Clinton. Indeed, Ms Albright's trip this year with the First Lady to her native Prague, which she left with her family when the Communists staged their coup in 1948, was billed by some as "the audition". If so, it won her the job.
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