Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Global Running Mates Try to Prop Up One Another

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Global Running Mates Try to Prop Up One Another

Article excerpt

Three of the world leaders who gathered at Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt - Shimon Peres, Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton - are actively campaigning to remain in office. It is as if they were running mates on an international incumbency ticket, with each having an intense interest in helping the others win.

Can these three political musketeers bring it off together? Or will the weakness of any one of them help drag down the other two?

The calendar puts Clinton in the best position to help his global runnin g mates. Election Day in Israel comes at the end of May, in Russia two weeks later, in the United States more than four months after that.

The U.S. president also has the greatest incentive to come to the ticket's support, because he has identified his policies with Peres' and has been a rooter for Yeltsin; their failure might well contribute to his own.

Therefore, to shore up Peres:

Clinton has invested heavily in identifying himself with the initiative begun by the Israeli. Despite Clinton's brief protocol appointment with the opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu during Thursday's stop in Israel, nobody doubts that the loftily named "peacemakers' summit" and subsequent visit to terror-tortured Israel is designed to stop the plummeting polls of Peres.

The ratings of Israel's prime minister will probably be blipped upward by the emergency visitation. Jews had to be somewhat reassured by the sight of Arab summiteers - notably excepting Syria, which supports the terror process - agreeing to a statement of "strong condemnation of all acts of terror . . . including recent terrorist attacks in Israel."

Getting Arabs to sign on to that has meaning. Credit Clinton with good arm twisting to get that language, though it was vitiated by a promise to pay money to Yasser Arafat's organization even before he proves his ability to root out Palestinian terror.

Israelis may not forgive Peres for gambling with lives by subcontracting antiterrorism to Arafat, but they have to notice how Clinton stands by his South Lawn guests.

To shore up Boris Yeltsin:

Clinton has his work cut out for him there. …

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