Clinton in Europe


Modest gains in moscow

UNITED STATES--Little progress on arms control was expected from President Clinton's weekend visit to Moscow, and little occurred. President Vladimir Putin of Russia acknowledged that there might soon be need to counter nuclear threats from unpredictable powers like North Korea. But he did not soften his opposition to American plans for a national missile defense. Mr. Clinton agreed that there should be significant new reductions in offensive missiles, as part of a deal that would also amend the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty to allow a limited defense shield. But Mr. Clinton held back from steeper cuts that Russia favors and the Pentagon resists. ...

Realistically, prospects for reaching agreement on these issues during the remainder of Mr. Clinton's term do not look good. But with more than seven months and at least three further meetings with Mr. Putin before Mr. Clinton leaves office, both sides should keep working.

--New York Times

June 6, 2000

Stumbling across europe

UNITED STATES--One is thankful that it will soon be over. Even though the spectacle of President Clinton bumbling his way around the world is familiar by now, it is still cringe making. Is it really too much to ask that one not feel acutely embarrassed by the president of the United States? Still, for those who like to count their blessings, at least Mr. Clinton's grand tour of Europe and Russia last week will be his last at our expense.

Mr. Clinton cannot exactly be called an innocent abroad, but he demonstrates an astonishing tin ear when it comes to international politics, as of course does his sidekick, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who behaves as though she's mother-in-law to the whole world. The best thing that can be said about the trip is that the president did not do material damage to the security of this country by committing himself to new arms control agreements with the Russians in terms of the ABM Treaty.

--Helle Bering

Washington Times

June 7, 2000

Empty encounters

GREAT BRITAIN--It would be easy to dismiss Bill Clinton's visit to Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week as the powerless in pursuit of the faceless. Lame-duck American president with dwindling influence meets new-boy Russian counterpart who has no program. So no agreements of any significance can be expected. Yet this policy vacuum is not just dictated by the electoral calendar. It highlights a much deeper crisis and a need for radical choices.

On the Western side, the empty encounter in Moscow epitomizes the failure of Clinton's Russian project in every field--political, economic and strategic. In foreign affairs Clinton's campaign to expand NATO eastwards alienated Russians of all political persuasions and is still at the core of the country's suspicions of the West. It has been compounded by Washington's continuing efforts to woo the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, and divert their oil and gas reserves as well as those of the Caspian, from flowing through Russia.

--Guardian

June 2, 2000

Don't rush into missile defense

GREAT BRITAIN--As threats change, so the balance of offense and defense may need to change too, and missile defenses could have a role to play. But they are no magic fix, and could provoke a destabilizing arms race, leading to general proliferation. So if America is to go ahead with them, it should proceed cautiously, in cooperation with others, not just on a technological whim and a timetable set by its election calendar. America's Democrats and Republicans need to agree that such a controversial decision should be for a new president to make. Though America and Russia can probably agree that the ABM Treaty is worth preserving, Russia needs to accept that its preservation may involve its modification. ...

If subsequent talks with Russia produced no agreement, both countries would have the right they have always had to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. …

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