MORE ON CLINTON II: FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES
(Foreign Media Reaction Daily Digest)
Editorial ink continued to flow heavily in the press overseas as pundits in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa pondered the challenges--both domestic and foreign--that await the second Clinton administration. The perception that President Clinton begins his second and final term with "a number of advantages" domestically-- including a healthy economy and a declining crime rate-- prompted speculation that he may well focus more sharply on the international arena, with an eye toward "securing a place in history." Just where the president and his foreign policy team should focus their attention was the dominant theme in commentary abroad.
Analysts were keenly interested in weekend remarks by the newly-installed secretaries of state and defense, with many taking Secretary Albright's statements during her first press conference as indicators of what the U.S. foreign policy priorities will be under "Clinton II." They interpreted her remarks as placing Europe--specifically the enlargement of NATO and relations with Russia--and better relations with the Asia-Pacific as the top two areas of foreign policy interest to Washington. Commentators hailing from South Asia, Africa and Latin America all expressed concern that the new Clinton administration would not give their regions' problems enough serious thought or attention. Buenos Aires' leading Clarin, for example, contended, "Albright has just promised she will dedicate considerable time to Latin American affairs. But it only seems to be a courteous gesture in order not to slight those congratulations coming from her country's backyard." Others, however, did express hope that the case for their regions would be otherwise. Lome's independent weekly Forum Hebdo said recent statements by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs George Moose on U.S. policy in Africa were heartening: "The U.S. position on the democratization process on the continent can now become clearer." While some media voices outside the Middle East asserted that "if U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East are ignored, the United States is likely to shift its attention to Eastern Europe and Asia," Arab dailies did not dwell on whether or not the Middle East peace process would be a top issue for the U.S. administration. Egyptian and Saudi papers focused instead on what Secretary Albright's position toward Israel was likely to be.
There was some discussion and comparison of the new state and defense secretaries, and speculation that there could be much disagreement between them on major foreign policy decisions. Other pundits ruminated on the importance of the U.S. in its role as the leader of the free world, noting that much of the international community has counted on America to be in the forefront since World War II. Remarking that the post-Cold War era is complex and fraught with seemingly intractable problems such as drug trafficking and regional conflicts, Kingston's moderate Daily Gleaner noted: "Bill Clinton has been handed the task of dealing with these mega issues. It is doubtful if any other political leader in history has borne such large personal responsibility for the future of the world."
This survey is based on 56 reports 30 countries, January 22-28.
EDITOR: Diana McCaffrey
GERMANY: "A Historic Presidency?"
Josef Joffe commented in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/25), "Will Clinton's second term also become a historic presidency?... The answer is 'no,' since, in the case of the 42nd U.S. president, curse and blessing are closely linked.... The United States has never been as well off as today, but good times do not create heroes.... The unemployment rate is going down, the dollar is rising, the stock markets are booming, and the crime rate is going down. The budget deficit is on the decline and the economy grows.... For the first time in this century, the United States is not confronted with a strategic enemy, there is neither a cold nor a hot war.... In reality it is great luck for him that the times are so 'boring,'...since Clinton is no Roosevelt and no Bismarck--maybe not even George Bush.... He dedicated only two sentences to foreign policy.... These were two short sentences, and in reality, his foreign policy during his first term was also structured that way."
BRITAIN: "Boring For Peace"
The conservative weekly Spectator commented (1/24): "Between America's re-emergence into European affairs in the Second World War and this opening of Mr. Clinton's second term, each inaugural--however undistinguished the speech--has interested the rest of the world because the United States was thought to be guarantor of much of the world's security. Now that the United States has seen off the successive powers which threatened that security--first Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, then the Soviet Union-- knowing what the president is going to do is less important or interesting to us. Our boredom with Mr. Clinton's second inaugural is, in its way, a tribute to the success of America's successive international missions. We should welcome this chance of boredom. Sadly, America never bores us for long."
FRANCE: "Clinton Is Counting On Albright"
Right-of-center Les Echos judged (1/27), "Clinton is probably counting on his new secretary of state's talents and networking in relations. Madeleine Albright, who is more of a politician than a diplomat, could be more adept at influencing Congress than her predecessor, Warren Christopher."
"Paris And Washington Playing Detente"
Patrick Sabatier in left-of-center Liberation (1/24): "With his new foreign affairs team in place, Bill Clinton can now concentrate on the main issues of his second term: his relationship with the UN and with France.... Both in France and in Paris, the accent has been put on cooperation between the two countries.... This desire for easing relations is attributed in part to the good chemistry between Chirac and Clinton. It is also due to France's decision to give up on the southern command, as de Charette explained in his interview with the Financial Times."
ITALY: "Albright's Priorities"
Ennio Caretto's report from Washington in centrist, top- circulation Corriere della Sera concluded (1/25): "With the appointment of Thomas Pickering, an expert on Kremlin matters, as the number three man at the State Department, and of Stuart Eizenstat, an EU expert, as the number four man, and with her first press conference, Madeleine Albright yesterday indicated the priority objectives of U.S. foreign policy in the second Clinton administration: NATO expansion, the 'special relationship' with Russia which opposes it, cooperation with Europe, and peace in the Middle East while keeping Iraq and Iran under control. Following the debate on the Asian vocation of the Clinton administration...the U.S. superpower is returning to its natural environment, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The only exception may be China: Mrs. Albright let it be understood that Beijing will be one of the stops, after those in Europe (it is not known whether Italy will be included) during a trip at the end of February....
"Madeleine Albright will probably be an 'imperial' secretary of state: Yesterday she did not leave any doubts about American preeminence. But she has got clear ideas and good collaborators."
BELGIUM: "Style--But Not Principles--Will Change"
Conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique commented (1/27): "The style will undoubtedly change, but the principles adhered to by Warren Christopher will not vary. This is not a surprise because, after all, Bill Clinton...did not suffer any serious setback on the international stage during his first term.... In her confirmation hearings before the Senate, the new secretary of state did not hesitate to assert that the United States is a European power--which no one denies in view of its role on the old continent--and that it must consequently exercise its 'leadership' over it. She did not mention the European Union in her presentation. How could she better express her intention to maintain this organization in the background? Moreover, while mentioning NATO--the opposite would have been unthinkable--she highlighted the leadership role to be played by Washington.... We approve of her view on the freedom of choice which the Cuban people deserve; on the other hand, how is it possible for the U.S. secretary of state to call a sitting president a 'dinosaur?' Freedom of language should be maintained within limits in international diplomacy--even a pachyderm of the Albright species should understand that."
"Albright Preparing Ground For More Activist U.S. Diplomacy"
Referring to Mrs. Albright's remarks on Cuba and Castro, Washington correspondent Yve Laudy held in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (1/27): "The Americans are delighted when she calls [Castro] a 'dinosaur' or accuses him of lacking 'cojones' after he ordered the downing of civilian aircraft. Clinton selected her partly for that.... It is generally believed that Clinton will be more active in diplomacy than during his first term. Albright is there to prepare the ground by saying what the president cannot always say."
HUNGARY: "Clinton's Most Important Task: NATO Enlargement"
Top-circulation Nepszabadsag's op piece read (1/28), "After his re-election President Clinton altered the list of priorities in U.S. foreign policy. From now on the most important task of this policy will be NATO enlargement: the membership of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in the Alliance . Secretary of State Albright made it clear that Central-Eastern Europe must be incorporated in the Atlantic structures but at the same time Russia's concerns over this process must be eased, too. The Allies of the United States, the French, the Germans and the others would however prefer to postpone or at least slow down the enlargement: They are closer to Moscow and they also have to bear both the burden and the dangers of the EU enlargement. By insisting on both NATO and EU enlargement, the United States intends to make Western Europe pay a larger share of Atlantic costs."
LATVIA: "Why Baltics Should Not Rely On Clinton's Promises"
Vaira Paegle of the World Federation of Free Latvians said in centrist Diena (1/25): "The president's most disturbing choice was to leave Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot in place. Talbot, Clinton's closest adviser, is a confirmed Russophile. If someone sneezes in Moscow, Talbot gets a cold in Washington.... One of Albright's first tests of independence will be her role at the upcoming Clinton-Yeltsin summit. In any case...the Balts...should not rely completely on the reassuring U.S. promises in the security area.... I fear that Clinton's official goodwill policy toward the Baltics hides a quiet agreement of another kind, whose only goal is to calm the Russian bear at any price."
MALTA: "Will Gulf Region Be Put On Back Burner?"
The independent Times of Malta asserted (1/27): "An apparent lower priority for the Middle East and the Gulf on President Clinton's list of foreign policy issues is likely to lead to some nervousness in the area. The perception that the region is being put on the back-burner arises from Madeleine Albright's first foreign foray taking her to Europe and then to Asia next month. Ms. Albright...has said that on the Middle East she would be guided by the advice of Special Coordinator Dennis Ross. That is in contrast to the widely traveled Christopher.... Gulf Arab oil-producers who rely on the United States for protection against much larger regional powers may be concerned by the region's apparent relegation.... She had no plans to go to the region in the immediate future, which suggested she was satisfied with the pro-Israeli stance that Mr. Clinton had maintained from the start. But Ms. Albright has said that achieving a comprehensive peace was a very high priority for Mr. Clinton, and therefore also her."
PORTUGAL: "Clinton's Feet Of Clay"
Rui Calafate wrote in right-wing weekly Semanario (1/25): "It is certain that the recently-inaugurated Bill Clinton will never be recognized as 'Mr. Clean.'.... In terms of confidence in Clinton, the Americans have never had very much. Not because of anything remarkable he may have done in four years but because of the 'shiftiness' of the only Democrat to be re-elected after Roosevelt. Also his wife, whom many saw as a modern-day Lady MacBeth, 'turned around.' The first lady, fiercely statist, liberal and militant on social reforms, turned herself into a mother and an attentive spouse, a loyal follower and simple citizen of the United States.... There is only one thing certain: in the land where the president is at once head of state and head of government, and the spiritual leader of the nation, the idol has feet of clay."
SWEDEN: "What Does Clinton Have In Mind In Foreign Policy?"
An editorial in liberal Dagens Nyheter (1/27) remarked, "Should Madeleine Albright get her way, American foreign policy will become a hard-boiled one. But the question is what President Bill Clinton has in mind.... No one seems to doubt that Madeleine Albright will become a powerful representative of the superpower.... Cohen was chosen because President Clinton wanted a moderate Republican as a member of his new administration...and the impression is that he is extremely cautious.... They represent completely opposite trends in policy...and the question is whether President Clinton can effectively use Madeleine Albright and William Cohen in the new information age, which he spoke about in his inaugural address. The piano will be out of tune. But, initially, Madeleine Albright, liked by Republicans and Democrats alike, will have the most important task, and she mentioned this herself at her confirmation hearing: The United States must begin to pay its UN debts."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
INDONESIA: "Clinton's Foreign Policy: New Ways Of Meeting Old Needs?"
The pro-government, English-language Indonesian Observer ran this op-ed piece by Suzie Sudarman (1/28), "Policymakers throughout the world seem drawn to the view that the United States remains adrift internationally, still searching for a global role in the post-Cold War era. Such an opinion tells only part of the story as most Americans continue to favor U.S. active involvement abroad.... It is not just Clinton who has come around to the idea of activism.... The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Albright a tough and courageous lady.... If domestically both parties will be competing on a playing field that is becoming very narrow, Clinton will only achieve greatness if he dares to face great challenges that will 'connect the United Staets to its oldest values; opportunity for all Americans, a national commitment to U.S. leadership as the indispensable nation in the new world unfolding before us.' As the administration's new foreign policy team strives to fulfill the scope of Clinton's political interests so he can earn himself a place in history, U.S.-Asia relations may be heading for more turbulence."
MALAYSIA: "U.S. Can Play Important Role In International Arena, Human History"
Government-influenced Sin Chew Jit Poh observed (1/22): "Although Clinton had some shortcomings in his administration during the first term, he did not on the whole commit any serious mistake. That explains why he was elected by the American people again to carry on his duties.... On the whole the United States is in her best shape today. So long as she does not behave like a bully or act like an international policeman or force others to accept her thinking and values, we believe the United States can play an important and useful role in the international arena as well as human history."
PHILIPPINES: "No Really Great Thoughts For The 21st Century"
The second-largest circulation Philippine Daily Inquirer said (1/28): "There's one thing we ought to seriously consider in the next presidential elections. Which is, that the candidate who will win there will become the first 21st-century president of this country.... That point was driven home to me by Bill Clinton's inauguration last week as president for a second time, a term that will carry him into the year 2000. That makes him the first 21st century president of America. The fact was not lost on him, as he toiled mightily to produce a speech that would do justice to the momentous occasion.... Alas, the spirit was willing but the talent was weak, and he left his frost-bitten audience with no really great thoughts with which to warm their hearts and minds."
SOUTH KOREA: "Cooperation With Asia-Pacific A Top Priority"
According to conservative Segye Ilbo (1/26), "In her first press conference as secretary of state, Madeleine Albright made clear the United States' two top foreign policy priorities: the realization of a democratic, unified Europe, and better relations with the Asia-Pacific nations."
"Cohen Rarely Favors Sending U.S. Troops Abroad"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo (1/26) stressed, "William Cohen's record shows that he rarely favors the idea of sending American soldiers abroad on humanitarian missions, but that he supports the prospects for a reinforced U.S. military in Asia. It remains to be seen how the new secretary of state and the new defense chief will coordinate their views."
THAILAND: "Reading Albright's Mind"
Top-circulation Thai Rath's Palad Lud commented under the headline above (1/28), "In striking contrast to her predecessor, Warren Christopher, who frequently traveled to the Middle East, Madeleine Albright is believed to attach secondary importance to the Middle East/Persian Gulf issues.... The second Clinton administration is not going to pay much attention to such difficult players as those in that troubled region.... If the Israelis and Palestinians insist on killing each other, the United States will let them.... If U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East are ignored, the United States is likely to shift its attention to Eastern Europe and Asia."
VIETNAM: "Clinton Will Face Bigger, More Complicated Problems"
Le Nghiem wrote in Vietnamese Communist Party Nhan Dan (The People) (1/27): "Historical facts of the past half- century showed that the second terms of most U.S. presidents were stormy ones, with four out of five re- elected presidents caught in big scandals.... In fact, Mr. Clinton entered into his second term of office with a number of advantages. The economic picture of the United States on the whole is rather bright, with fairly high levels of growth and competitiveness, while the rates of inflation and unemployment are low. Politically, his rival, the Republican Party, though still maintaining a majority in both houses of the Congress, has been weakened and is not confronting the president as fiercely as in the past few years....
"However, the problems remain to be solved are even bigger and more complicated. Many analysts believe an outstanding feature of the Clinton administration in the past term is that its achievement is characteristic more of political propaganda than reality. Now the time is past for Mr. Clinton to use eloquent euphemisms. He must begin the work of practical but difficult tasks that may enable him to gain a 'foothold in history.' Examples are balancing the budget, educational reforms, Medicare and pension reforms, election fund-raising reforms, etc.
"Diplomatically, in order to reaffirm the leading role of the United States as the only superpower, the Clinton administration must face many major challenges such as involvement in the settlement of crises in the Middle East, Bosnia and Northern Ireland, while the U.S. public and Congress are not very much interested in the administration's foreign policy commitments. While the Republican Party is still bent on causing problems for the president, what makes Mr. Clinton's second term more precarious is the potential risk of a series of scandals that may further complicate the situation.... Analysts view 1997 as the 'hinge year' that decides the chance of success of Mr. Clinton's entire second presidency. So it remains to be seen in the results of this year whether or not Mr. Clinton's high hope will come true."
EGYPT: "Albright And The Arabs"
Mohamed Amin El-Masri, a contributor to pro-government Al Ahram, declared (1/25): "Albright, who is famous for unlimited bias toward Israel...is nothing but a tool in the American policy machine.... There was news that she met with Arab ambassadors to Washington.... This was only an attempt to improve her image in the region.... In the end, she, as secretary of state, cannot diverge from American policy which is constantly supportive of Israel.... There is no question that American foreign policy will not change during Albright's time.... Arabs expect Albright to adopt their issues objectively, without fanaticism."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Do Not Prejudge Albright"
Saudi-owned, pan-Arab Al Hayat commented (1/26): "Mrs. Albright has a strong desire to succeed in her new job...and is a pragmatic diplomat who understands that her mission is to maintain the interests of her country; she is well aware that this aim cannot be achieved by inciting governments and people against the United States. Therefore, it would be better (for Arabs) not to be hasty and prejudge her nor to confuse her personality with her country's policies, but rather to monitor her performance at the State Department. "
"Albright Is Courageous"
Top-circulation, pro-government Okaz (1/26) commented on Secretary Albright's first press conference : "Mrs. Albright is courageous, and can exert pressure on the Israeli side to commit itself to implement the peace process agreements and resume (negotiations on) the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. If (she can do this), it will be the most distinguished achievement of Albright's era and her special style in administering crises."
BANGLADESH: "Congratulations, Bill Clinton"
Conservative Ittefaq remarked (1/26): "Without discussing how far Clinton has been able to fulfill his electoral commitments made during his first term, it can be said that his success in key sectors of the U.S. economy during his first term was accepted by the American people. Apparently, the American public was satisfied...and that is why he was elected president for a second term. In fact, during his first term, unemployment dropped, the trade deficit declined significantly, and the U.S. peacekeeping role in the world became more important than at any time in history.
"Considering the current status of the United States in world politics, it has a special responsibility to all countries of the world, including the Third World. And the president performs the most important role in carrying out this responsibility."
INDIA: "Get South Asia Priorities Right"
An analysis in the centrist Pioneer (1/28) by former Indian diplomat Peter Lynn Sinai observed: "Clinton's State of the Union Message next week is likely to sketch the U.S. foreign policy priorities of his second term.... South Asia may figure, for a change, and that too in a fresh light, thanks to the timely issue (of) the...Council of Foreign Relations...Task Force's Report on 'A New U.S. Policy towards Indian and Pakistan.'... It is unlikely that many, if any, of the report's recommendations will soon find their way into policy, apart from the strengthening of economic, trade and investment ties, in the U.S.' own interest, which is already under way.... U.S. policies may rather have to be judged by deeds. Now that the challenges of Central Asia, in an increasingly multipolar post- Cold War world, are compelling this antipodal subcontinent into the U.S.A's view, the administration must get its focus right this time."
NEPAL: "Eyes Of The World Focused On U.S."
Government-owned Gorkhapatra observed (1/25): "The eyes of the world are focussed on the United States.... The world expects the United States to be the proponent of freedom, economic progress and human rights.... For this, the president must, first of all, solve the problems of his own house. To do so, he must find out a reliable way for national reconciliation.... It can be said that President Clinton's victory was the result of his policies of public interests.... The president is not free from a number of allegations.... The Whitewater controversy and Paula Jones's allegation are still there.... Nevertheless, with his second-term victory he has achieved the distinction of becoming the last president of the 20th century and the first president of the 21st century.... The challenges that the American administration faces today were not there during the Cold War. The challenge of American foreign policy is of different type today.... Therefore a change in the president's work style is also needed.... There are several instances in the past which show that second-term the president do not always have a smooth sailing."
COTE D'IVOIRE: "U.S. Diplomacy Traits: Extortion And Pressure"
Jean-Baptiste Akrou wrote in pro-government Fraternite- Matin (1/24): "Madeleine Albright hopes to meet soon her French counterpart, M. Herve de Charette, to smooth over the differences that have marked French-American relations these last months. These desires to appease...do nothing to relieve the characteristic traits of American diplomacy since the end of the bipolarization of the world: extortion and pressure. Champion of democracy and liberty, the United States does not accept and cannot understand that the entire world does not align with its positions.... In the space of 48 hours, the United States criticized Canada (because its foreign minister...visited a Cuban official) and South Africa (because the country decided to sell arms to Syria).... Its maxim is simple: What is good or bad for the United States must be the same for the entire world. No matter the fine principles of equality of nations, the notions of liberty, of democracy and of human rights, the law of the strongest and the richest is that which governs the world."
TOGO: "A New Interest In Africa"
An inside-page commentary in Forum Hebdo, a weekly independent newspaper close to the Togolese opposition, commented (1/24), "The United States is having a difficult social crisis, but its democratic tradition and the level of its culture makes one foresees the future with courage. Clinton took the risk of presenting to his people the moral balance sheet of the ending century and engaging his people toward a new dream.
"Clinton's first term ended with the affirmation of a new interest in Africa. Today, he has advantages and new arguments. First, the United Nations, whose secretary general is from the continent, will not hesitate to press for reform. Further, the second term allows action without too much political calculation. The recent statement from the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Mr. George Moose, is more active. The U.S. position on the democratization process on the continent can now become clearer."
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
ARGENTINA: "How Much Attention To Latin America?"
Claudio Maria Aliscioni, international columnist of leading Clarin (1/24), commented, "Albright has just promised she will dedicate considerable time to Latin American affairs. But it only seems to be a courteous gesture in order not to slight those congratulations coming from her country's backyard. Already in 1991 she placed the new Eastern (European) democracies on a high-priority list.... With the exception of Cuba, a frequent target because of her rage against President Fidel Castro, it can be expected that she will pay at least some tenuous attention to the region."
BARBADOS: "Eyes On The Prize"
Tony Best wrote in the pro-government Bridgetown Nation (1/27): "In recent years, the United States seemed preoccupied with its old adversaries at the expense of its friends.... Attacks on the banana regime with Europe could kill the banana industries of Jamaica, St. Vincent, Dominica and other Caribbean states.... At the same time, the United States is using bullying tactics to pressure Jamaica and Barbados, in particular, to sign shiprider agreements that ignore the sovereign rights of each country. Friends certainly don't behave like that."
Pro-business La Razon commented (1/27): "There would be reasons for Bolivia to have many expectations about the Clinton administration's new term, whose wishes seem to be aimed, this time, to deepening the ties between United States and the rest of the continent. That is how the designation of Madeleine Albright as the first woman who will head the State Department...can be interpreted. On a previous occasion, we echoed the significant statements she expressed in the U.S. Senate regarding the sentiment that inspires her to give a new push to what she called 'a natural partnership' between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.... Particularly, we must point out that during 1996 the support of the people and the government of the United States did not only make a difference...but U.S. aid was turned into action of immediate benefit to the Bolivian people."
BRAZIL: "U.S. Public Opinion And Foreign Affairs"
An editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (1/28) remarked, "By traveling less overseas, Albright believes that she will be able to convey to the American citizens the concepts surrounding current U.S. foreign policy, which are much more complex than the division between allies and enemies that prevailed during the Cold War period.
"Muslim fundamentalism is certainly one of the phenomenon for which the new secretary of state seems not to have an answer capable of satisfying U.S. public opinion.... In nations such as Algeria, Egypt or Afghanistan, Muslim fundamentalism continues to fight and to be fought in an ostentatious way like a kind of open wound of colonization. To win it [the fight for and against fundamentalism] seems to be a task difficult to be achieved--or even not feasible. Without other strategies to dissipate cultural and political tensions involved in this fight--that are typical of the more complex world to which Secretary Albright refers--the international community has preferred to be a spectator only and wait for an impartial solution."
COLOMBIA: "What Are The Plans For Latin America?"
Liberal Party-oriented, leading El Tiempo commented (1/26): "We would like to know something about his plans for Latin America. There wasn't a single word about it in his speech."
JAMAICA: "Already A Tendency Toward 'Big Stick' Policies"
The moderate, influential Daily Gleaner held (1/24): "The inauguration of President Clinton to lead the United States into the 21st century has deep ramifications for the rest of the world.... Throughout most of its history, the idea of Manifest Destiny has been a driving force behind America's vision of its place in the world. President Clinton clearly intends to provide leadership for 'people the world over.'... Caribbean leaders in the backyard of the United States should be busy scrutinizing the Clinton agenda--which is never very clear, never concrete-- scrutinizing the man himself, and his key appointees.... There is already a clear tendency toward the 'big stick' exercise of unrivalled power. The Helms-Burton law, which seeks to determine the foreign policy of all other nations with respect to Cuba the arch-enemy, speaks to the point. The world waits for President Clinton to activate clauses of this undemocratic, dictatorial law."
"U.S. And The Future Of The World"
The moderate, influential Daily Gleaner's Martin Henry commented (1/23): "Now...we can expect President Clinton to seek to establish himself as a major president in American and world history. His halting, muddling along foreign policy of the first term can be expected to crystallize into a bold agenda around Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other key players.... The president clearly intends to use the power of the United states to 'shape the forces of the global society.'... The drug war, for example, will bring great pressure to bear on supplier and trans-shipment nations, as we in the Caribbean are beginninq to feel.... The defense of economic supremacy will see America seeking to 'manage' world trade to its own advantage.... The campaign against non-democratic states will re-align loyalties and generate friction. The Helms- Burton law...is an excellent example of the tendency toward undemocratic, 'big stick' use of power, and its repercussions.... The concentration of geo-political power in the United States of America and in her president, will be the defining factor in international relationships in the next century. Bill Clinton has been handed the task of dealing with these mega issues. It is doubtful if any other political leader in history has borne such large personal responsibility for the future of the world."
PERU: "Who Will Be The Engine For Change?"
In the opinion of pro-Fujimori, center-right Expreso (1/27), "Clinton did what Republican Presidents Reagan and Bush had promised but didn't achieve: to reduce the size of government, the number of public employees, and even the fiscal deficit. This was, no doubt, pushed by the Republican majority in the Congress, and especially by the unbribable struggle capacity of Speaker Newt Gingrich, a brilliant man of very clear ideas who achieved that Republicans won Congress majority in 1994. Some people wonder who will be the engine for change in the United States now. Because Clinton is a practical man who doesn't seem decided to take the big decisions he should take to really cure his country's economy."
URUGUAY: "Lady Of Steel With Charm"
Economic, conservative El Observador opined (1/22): "Madeleine Albright has promised active involvement in strenghtening ties with the Southern part of the continent. In this area, major importance is given to the advance towards the conversion of the entire American continent into a free trade zone by means of an alliance between NAFTA and MERCOSUR and other regional agreements, previously announced by President Clinton, but so far blocked."
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