Dole Chides Clinton about Foreign Policy Challenger Blames Administration for Communist Revival in Russia

Article excerpt

In a biting indictment of his rival's foreign policy, Republican Bob Dole derided President Bill Clinton's team of "would-be statesmen" on Tuesday and laid blame for the Communist resurgence in Russia at the president's feet.

The GOP presidential challenger, in a speech to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, accused Clinton of naively romanticizing U.S.-Russian relations. Dole said that since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Clinton had turned a blind eye toward Russian violations of arms control agreements and toward indications that Communist forces were building anew.

"By remaining passive in the face of these and other troubling developments, President Clinton has given a green light to the most dangerous tendencies in the New Russia," Dole told an audience of area business and community leaders.

In his second major foreign policy speech of the campaign, Dole sought to draw sharper contrasts with Clinton, saying, "There is a difference, there are distinctions."

But, as in his May speech on Asia policy, Dole's remarks Tuesday on Central and Eastern Europe indicated basic agreement with Clinton on certain policies. Dole took issue mostly with the pace, degree and consistency of Clinton initiatives.

Pledging a "restoration of American leadership" under a Dole administration, Dole faulted Clinton for subordinating U.S. interests to those of Russia and American allies.

"In an era of tectonic shifts in world affairs, we must not continue to entrust American leadership to would-be statesmen still suffering from a post-Vietnam syndrome . . . who are still suffering from the illusion that communism merely fell instead of being pushed," Dole said.

Looking ahead to Russia's July 3 presidential election, Dole softened earlier criticism of President Boris Yeltsin over the bombings in Chechnya and recent hard-line moves against Russian Jews.

Dole credited Yeltsin on Tuesday for a "central role in the demise of the Soviet Union" and expressed hope for his re-election.

On the expansion of NATO to former Soviet bloc states, Dole knocked Clinton for being "deliberately slow." However, in the critical week before Yeltsin's runoff with Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov, Dole was careful not to antagonize Russia's nationalistic voters.

Dole echoed the Clinton administration line in saying that he would not allow Russia to veto the expansion but would offer its leaders "a serious dialogue on long-term relations with NATO. …

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