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
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
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. …