(2 of 2)
So why does the sight of Bianca Jagger treading in foreign policy make us a little queasy? The fault may not be in the stars, but in ourselves. "There's almost a reflexive reaction to be cynical about celebrities' doing this," says TIME People editor Michelle Orecklin. "Maybe it's the inconsistency -- why aren't these people in Somalia? -- but of course you could say the same thing about the U.S. foreign policy."
And you almost feel for celebrities who do make the effort; in this irony-laced age, the backlash machine back home has a hair trigger. Diana-pun intended, it can be a real P.R. minefield out there. What do you bring? How do you travel? What do you wear? Conspicuous consumption is in poor taste (no fancy Audis, please), but Gere gets points for casual attire (as does Hillary for her dignified-but-no-pearls black blazer). Tony Blair went with a polo shirt, which was sort of man-of-the-people silly-looking but not insulting per se. The faux-bush khakis of yesteryear -- think Audrey Hepburn -- seem to have fallen from grace; perhaps the Dr. Livingstone look came off as a little cloying.
George Clooney can't mend a Kosovar child's broken leg; Roger Moore can't drive his Aston Martin into Belgrade and take out Milosevic with an exploding diplomatic pouch. There's only so much these people can do, for goodness' sake -- they're CELEBRITIES. Sometimes they muck things up; sometimes they bring a much-appreciated beam of limelight into some otherwise extremely wretched lives. In Stenkovec, a little girl told Gere that "it was all worth it" -- the homelessness, the horror, the destruction of her homeland by that unrelenting partnership of Serb paramilitaries and NATO bombers -- "because I got to meet you." No one ever says that to Robin Cook.