DATE=3/29/2000 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP TITLE=PRESIDENT CLINTON'S INDIA-PAKISTAN TRIP NUMBER=6-11751 BYLINE=ERIKA EVANS DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS TELEPHONE=619-2702 CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton's recent trip to India and Pakistan continues to provoke a great deal of commentary in U-S press. Some editorial writers are attempting to defend the president's peace mission while others are calling the trip a big disappointment and an indication of the president's weakening powers to persuade. We get a sampling now from ______________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup. TEXT: There were high hopes for President Clinton's trip to India and Pakistan. The two countries, seemingly always on the verge of war and both armed with nuclear weapons, are high on the president's peace agenda in his final year in office. It was the first visit to India by an American president in 22 years. However, the short-term accomplishments of the president's trip appear to be few. Neither country agreed to abandon its nuclear deterrent, and Pakistani military leaders failed to guarantee any quick return to democracy following last year's military coup. The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina is critical of the president's trip and his motives. VOICE: President Clinton's resounding failure to make a breakthrough in the Middle East peace process by meeting with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad raises questions about his motives. Are his increasingly frequent foreign forays a search for peace, or a lame duck president's desperate bid to build a legacy of achievement in world affairs? ...So far, Bill Clinton's foreign policy legacy is a string of failures... it's painfully clear that the role of an international statesman does not fit Bill Clinton. TEXT: That was the view of The Post and Courier. From Long Island, New York, Newsday also sees shortcomings of President Clinton as a global peacemaker. VOICE: In both Mideast and in the Indian subcontinent, Clinton's peace forays may well be his last ones. His power to persuade will continue to wane as the end of his term nears. ...It may have been good for (Mr.) Clinton to make the effort with (Syrian leader Hafez) al- Assad, if only to show the continuing U-S interest in obtaining a Mideast peace. Unfortunately, he also demonstrated how little effect his personal intervention has at this stage in his presidency. TEXT: So says Newsday. The Boston Globe, in Massachusetts, has a different assessment. It views President Clinton's visit as a historic long-range shift in U-S national interest. VOICE: The president failed to get either the Indians or the Pakistanis to give up their atomic weapons or to ameliorate their quarrel over Kashmir. Nevertheless, the proportionality of the five days in India and the five hours in Pakistan signified the shift in American priorities toward India. ...Both the Indians and the Pakistanis understood the message behind Clinton's visit, even though he did not articulate it directly, proving the old adage that nations don't have friends, only interests. TEXT: The Los Angeles Times in California agrees with that evaluation. VOICE: [Mr.] Clinton's trip should be an impetus for improving relations between the U-S and India, two countries suspicious of each other for far too long. The Cold War between the superpowers of the Northern Hemisphere has long since disappeared, and it's time for New Delhi and Washington to think anew about old alliances. ...Washington should take advantage of the changes in politics and economic orientation in India.... [Mr.] Clinton spent four days in India, and not much longer than four hours in Pakistan. That was appropriate. TEXT: The Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio gives a positive view of the president's peace mission to South Asia, and commends his efforts to open lines of communication. VOICE: The path to peace is a long one. Terms such as success and failure need to be considered within the context of the long-lasting and increasingly dangerous hostility between India and Pakistan.... Against that backdrop, is it realistic to think (Mr.) Clinton, in a week, could magically find peace? The challenge makes the effort matter. The president opened lines of communication that could prove vital if things between India and Pakistan worsen. TEXT: And finally, Tulsa World in Oklahoma insists the trip was not a complete loss. VOICE: (Mr.) Clinton must be disappointed that his legendary powers of persuasion were of little use in either country. But after the dust has settled, we might find that this visit was of much more value than first thought. It certainly was worth a try. Any gesture that can cool passions in one of the world's most dangerous regions is welcome. TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of U-S press reaction to President Clinton's visit to India and Pakistan. NEB/ENE/gm 29-Mar-2000 15:55 PM EDT (29-Mar-2000 2055 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .