|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
March 30, 2000
CLINTON TO SOUTH ASIA: ASSESSING PRESIDENT'S 'STAR-SPANGLED MANNER'
Distinct fault lines characterized media reaction on President Clinton's recently concluded trip to the Indian subcontinent, with writers in India weighing in with highly positive assessments of the president's sojourn there and many in Pakistan wondering how "Pakistan's interests" had been "served" by the visit. Most observers elsewhere likewise saw Mr. Clinton's tour as having forged a new--and more positive--post-Cold War relationship with India, but as having laid down clear markers in Pakistan, "nudging" that country toward "democratic reform" and "dashing its hopes" for third-party mediation on Kashmir. These editorialists argued that, even if Mr. Clinton "failed" to achieve any "substantive progress" on CTBT and the Kashmir issue, his trip would have a "lasting impact" on the region, if not on global politics. A small minority, however, portrayed the visit in a negative light. London's liberal Guardian, for example, held that India and Pakistan's nuclear capabilities had "earned them a kind of respect from the big kid on the block," which that paper called a "seriously destabilizing global signal." An Australian daily accused Mr. Clinton of having "waffled" on Kashmir. Following are additional highlights in the commentary:
INDIA: PRAISING CLINTON'S 'STAR-SPANGLED MANNER'-- The virtually unanimous view in the Indian media was that Mr. Clinton's five-day visit there had "gone better than anyone dared hope." Analysts contended that the "enthusiasm" generated "wherever the president went" indicated that "anti-Americanism [in India] is truly a thing of the past." In particular, editors welcomed the American leader's "words of wisdom" to Pakistan. Airing a typical view, the centrist Indian Express noted: "His message...was succinct: Shape up or ship out." Most observers, though, judged that the Pakistani chief executive, General Musharraf, was not likely to "swallow" the "bitter medicine" offered to his country by Mr. Clinton. The centrist Hindu observed that to end violence with India, Pakistani leadership would have to "swallow a lot of pride...reverse a decade of adventurism, and risk the political wrath of the fundamentalists.... Can Musharraf do it? No one in New Delhi is betting on it," the paper concluded.
PAKISTAN: ASSESSING THE 'WRITING ON THE WALL'-- As Karachi's centrist News put it, Mr. Clinton's brief stopover in Pakistan set off "an assortment of public opinion and perceptions." That paper and others urged the country's leaders to accept the "pro-India tilt in U.S. foreign policy as a fait accompli" and "reorient" Pakistan's foreign policy in search of "alternative sources of support and assistance." Several railed against the "superpower's" perceived desire to satisfy its "own interests" in the region and held that the president's "extraordinary seriousness and stiffness" in Islamabad had made it clear that "Pakistan and the U.S. no longer enjoy" a "strong and deep affinity and friendship." While a few centrist media outlets were receptive to Mr. Clinton's message about a return to "democratic order" in Pakistan, even those voices contended that there was "no way" the country could agree to "forget Kashmir." "No struggle for a just cause is in vain," asserted one, while popular Ausaf asked, if Mr. Clinton cannot mediate in Kashmir, "why did he bother to come?"
EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 73 reports from 24 countries, March 24 - 30. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
PAKISTAN: "Time To Go Pragmatic"
M.S. Jillani authored this op-ed column in the centrist News (3/30): "President Clinton, in the wake of his visit to South Asia, has left an assortment of public opinion and perceptions.... I feel insulted by the tone and content of Mr. Clinton's speech, the display of U.S. military might, and the way our citizens were put against the wall during and before the U.S. president's arrival.... We should have viewed Mr. Clinton's visit as a normal visit of a head of the state.... To give it the dimension of a matter of life-and-death gave the United States an opportunity to consider us as an star-struck youth who might be heartbroken if the 'boss' did not pamper him!... The U.S. president's visit initiated a debate which should be utilized to re-examine our policies, speed up efforts to cleanse the national scene, align ourselves with the tested friends and avoid military alignments created under the tutelage of superpowers. We should learn from our past that such alliances do not serve much purpose, and in the long run, make one a pariah amongst one's neighbors and friends. At the end of the day, even the superpowers abandon them in the name of national interest and pragmatism."
"Writing On The Wall"
An op-ed column by Manzur Ejaz in pro-Muslim League, Urdu-language Pakistan read (3/30): "Whatever President Clinton said in his address to Pakistanis or in the meeting with General Musharraf, had nothing new.... We should not forget an aspect of the frank speech of the U.S. president that if the United States decides to isolate Pakistan further (which it might not do), Pakistan will not get anything from international financial institutions.... The people of Pakistan and its rulers should recognize the speech as writing on the wall and should read it repeatedly, in order to decide whether they want to safeguard Pakistan's national interests or fight an ideological war at the international level. The price of this war should be understood. We should get rid of the misconception that the United States is bluffing."
"Clinton's Polite Posture"
Professor Khalid Mahmud opined in the centrist News (3/30): "For a change, Clinton's Pakistani hosts were not as palatable to U.S. bidding as they have been in the past and made no bones about telling him that there was no question of putting the Kashmir issue on the back-burner to facilitate normalization of ties with India. Whether we like it or not, the pro-India tilt in the U.S. policy is a fait accompli, and it would be naïve on our part to expect from the Americans an even-handed treatment. Pakistan must make haste to reorient its foreign policy, and look for alternative sources of support and assistance. However, the Americans may have their own compulsions to rein in India from muscle flexing in the region, and use their influence to facilitate resumption of an India-Pakistan dialogue."
"Options For Pakistan"
Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad mused in the center-right Nation (3/30): "Under the circumstances, isn't the best course [for Pakistan] to introduce a democratic order...agree to the CTBT, reduce tensions...by withdrawing all...support to militant activities, and concentrate on economic development without surrendering in the meanwhile our right to continue to extend political and moral support to the cause of the Kashmiri people?"
"'Who Pushed Me Into The Pool?'"
A news commentary by Shaheen Sehbai in Karachi's independent Dawn stressed (3/30): "Mr. Clinton was very clear in his words and deeds.... Most Pakistanis must now be asking why at all we allowed this to happen to us. Who are the people who pushed the government into inviting Mr. Clinton here at all costs? What were they up to? What Pakistani leaders have been able to do is only to state their case before him, which he already knew anyway, and disregarded it by saying what he did. So, how has the Pakistani cause been served by this visit? Any answers?!"
"Kashmir And International Cooperation"
An editorial in mass-appeal, Urdu-language Din intoned (3/28): "It is encouraging that merely a day after President Clinton's refusal to mediate on the Kashmir issue, Australia made an appeal for international cooperation to find a permanent solution to it."
Nasim Zehra penned this analysis in the centrist News (3/28): "Whatever Clinton may have hoped to achieve vis-a-vis the people of Pakistan through his speech, he certainly earned more resentment and outrage from the people."
"Calls For Democracy"
An editorial in the centrist News averred (3/28): "President Bill Clinton's visit may not have produced much for Pakistan in terms of aid, investment or commitment to mediate in Kashmir. However, it appears to have given something special back to the country's politicians: their tongues. Pakistani political circles are resounding with the strong pitch the U.S. president made for a return to national-level democracy."
"Optimistic Outcome Depends On India"
An editorial in leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang (3/27): "President Clinton's visit to South Asia should be termed a positive visit, although much of the positive outcome of this trip depends on India rather than Pakistan. It is indeed a very welcome sign that the thoughts of President Clinton and Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf have come simultaneously before the nation, and an impression has arisen that there is not much difference in the perception of both the countries. With the conclusion of President Clinton's visit it is now hoped that both Pakistan and India will resume their dialogue."
"President Clinton's Failed Visit To Pakistan"
Popular, Islamabad-based, Urdu-language Ausaf maintained (3/27): "President Clinton has said that he cannot impose peace [over South Asia] nor could he mediate the Kashmir. If this is so, then why did he bother to come?... He should have had the moral courage to tell the people of Pakistan that he had come to South Asia to enter into a business partnership with India and that he was returning successfully after achieving his 'real task.'"
"Lessons From Clinton's Visit"
An editorial in sensationalist, Urdu-language Ummat intoned (3/27): "As he stepped onto Pakistani soil, the international media also noted the extraordinary seriousness and stiffness of President Clinton's face.
"The lack of warmth on his part while meeting President Rafiq Tarar was also well noticed. This situation has given rise to the impression that Pakistan and the United States no longer enjoy the strong and deep affinity and friendship which used to be the hallmark of their relationship before."
"No Unanimity Between U.S., Pakistan"
An editorial in Karachi's right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Jasarat judged (3/27): "One thing that has become quite clear now is that there is no unanimity in the viewpoints of Pakistan and the United States. There is nothing in common in the perceptions of both countries."
According to an editorial in the center-right Nation (3/27): "[In] President Clinton's direct address to the people of Pakistan...there were certain positive elements...that need to be appreciated.... But when he claimed that 'this era does not reward people who struggle in vain to redraw borders with blood' he made two mistakes. First, no struggle for a just cause is in vain. And a struggle for the right of self-determination of a people is patently just. And secondly, he seems to have forgotten how many borders are being redrawn, even today, with blood. Look at Palestine, Kosovo, East Timor."
"Baseline For Future Established"
The centrist News argued (3/27): "President Clinton's short visit to Pakistan may not have been as sweet as many would have liked it to be, but it has served some vital purposes.... [The visit] can be used as a baseline for chartering a pragmatic future course of diplomatic action. The onus of initiative, after President Clinton's speech, clearly lies with Pakistan.... However...Americans should be wary of the dangers of maintaining a totally take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward Pakistan. This might embolden India to attempt to be more aggressive...wth Islamabad, fueling regional tensions."
"We Cannot Abandon Kashmir, But Democracy Needed In Pakistan"
Pro-Muslim League, Urdu-language Pakistan emphasized (3/26): "There is not way we can agree to the demand that Pakistan should forget Kashmir.... [But] the fact that Pakistan's undemocratic circumstances have undermined its image in the eyes of the world should be accepted openheartedly.... For better relations with the United States and other countries of the developed world, it is imperative that political freedoms and democratic institutions be restored in accordance with the constitution without delay."
"Sikh Massacre And Its Impact On Clinton's Visit"
An op-ed in mass-circulation Jang argued (3/24): "If the massacre has had any impact on the [Clinton] visit...it has convinced President Clinton that, in an effort to implicate Pakistan and the Mujahideen in terrorism, India can go to any extent. On March 21 when Vajpayee referred to the tragedy by pointing a accusing finger at Pakistan, Clinton shot back that we cannot give any reaction unless we know who was responsible for the act.... Thus, they [India] were defeated in their attempt."
"Clinton's Speech To Indian Parliament"
Second-largest, Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt insisted (3/24): "The solution to [Kashmir] lies in the UN resolutions which were duly recognized by India....
"The question is why is the United States hesitant to have the UN resolutions implemented and why it has started patting India on the back?"
"U.S. President, Overwhelmed By Expediencies And Interests"
Islamabad's popular, Urdu-language Ausaf averred (3/24): "The truth is that Americans are slaves of their interests. If they talk of ending tension between Pakistan and India, they do it for their own interests."
"Makings Of A Monologue?"
Syed Shahid Husain judged in Karachi's independent Dawn (3/24): "There is no indication that Clinton and his team want to use this opportunity to improve their understanding of Pakistan's situation and concerns."
"Sorry, Mr. Clinton"
In an op-ed piece, Hamid Mir told readers of Islamabad's mass-appeal, Urdu-language Ausaf (3/24): "The demands that President Clinton will place before General Musharraf during his few-hour stop-over in Islamabad will be in America's own interest rather than Pakistan's."
The center-right Nation concluded (3/24): "[Islamabad] may have to take a long, hard and overdue look at [Pakistan's] foreign policy to identify the areas where we need an overhaul...in order to best promote our interests in the changed global and regional perspective which is emerging."
INDIA: "Some Hard Choices"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan pointed out in the centrist Hindu (3/30): "Will Islamabad persist on the low road of permanent confrontation with New Delhi that it has chosen for itself in the last decade? Or will General Pervez Musharraf heed President Clinton's advice and get on to the high road of peace and reconciliation with India? The medicine that Mr. Clinton ordered for the Pakistani leadership is indeed a bitter one. Mr. Clinton has warned Pakistan that if it chooses to pursue the path of militarism and extremism it will further isolate itself from the international community.... As the chief executive of Pakistan ponders over the poisoned chalice before him, he knows that all his options are indeed fraught with dangers.... One final option for General Musharraf...is to drink vigorously from the poisoned chalice for the long-term good of Pakistan and for its survival as a nation-state. But ending violence against India and seeking reconciliation with it demand that Pakistan swallow a lot of pride, discard deep ideological prejudice, reverse a decade of adventurism, and risk the political wrath of the fundamentalists at home. Can Musharraf do it? No one in New Delhi is betting on it.... Only a serious Indian political initiative in Jammu and Kashmir will convince Pakistan that it must begin to deal with India on the basis of political realism and ideological moderation."
"Emissions & Omissions"
An editorial in the centrist Times of India maintained (3/29): "The Indo-U.S. statement on cooperation and energy signed alongside...Clinton's visit to the Taj has disturbingly pinned India down to specifics; a 10 percent share for renewable energy in electricity capacity additions by 2012 and a 15 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2007-8.
"The United States, on the other hand, conceded nothing more that it is already committed to under various international protocols.... What we need today is strictly to enforce the 'polluter pays' principle, something the United States has shied away from so far on the grounds that 'global problems need global solutions, irrespective of who is the guilty party.'"
"A New Friendship"
The nationalist Hindustan Times told its readers (3/29): "The visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton went better than anybody had dared hope. Not only did Mr. Clinton and his daughter Chelsea seem genuinely pleased to be in India, but the president's actions have also ensured that Indo-American relations are at an all-time high. In his public statements and in his interview to ABC TV, Clinton made it clear that Pakistan's attempt to internationalize the Kashmir issue had failed.... And Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh's many meeting with Strobe Talbott seem to have helped usher in a new phase of mutual understanding. The government must now use this breakthrough to build for the future of the world's two greatest democracies."
"Enhanced U.S. Ties Not Temporary"
Associate editor K. K. Katyal put forth these views in the centrist Hindu (3/29): "The gains of President Clinton's visit are not to be regarded as a nine-month wonder, emphasize U.S. sources, because representatives of both the Democratic and Republican parties were associated with the preparatory work.... This is important in the context of both the agreed decisions...including summit meetings at regular intervals and talks on...subjects of disagreement, like security and nuclear non-proliferation. The prospect of continuity is important also for the U.S. dealings with Pakistan, which will have a close bearing on New Delhi's relations with Islamabad."
"After The Euphoria"
The nationalist Hindustan Times ran this analysis (3/29) by former Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit: "As usual, sections of the media have succumbed to the euphoria about instant and positive prospects of Indo-U.S. relations. The visit has resulted in fashioning positive directional terms of reference in structuring Indo-U.S. relations. Now the challenge ahead is to build on the foundations laid by Mr. Clinton's visit."
"Trading In Futures"
An editorial in the centrist Times of India observed (3/28): "Neither the United States nor India could have even imagined the hype and attention that surrounded Bill Clinton here. In what can be described as the five days that shook India, Mr. Clinton showcased a potential infotech giant for global television. India has not lacked confidence in its entrepreneurial abilities. But it has never been so sure of infotech's potential to polevault India, and its teeming millions, into a better world; and its ability to create more jobs, bigger opportunities, and stronger global business linkages.... All India needs to do is to unleash the power of its ideas. Even as the U.S. president was pump-priming India's confidence, ideas were reconfiguring international business."
"Words Of Wisdom"
Mumbai-based, pro-BJP Daily insisted (3/27): "Clinton's words of wisdom must have come to the Pakistani common man as something totally contrary to what he has been given to understand.
"The generals have fooled the Pakistanis into believing that the Indian army is no match for Pakistani's military might and they now possessed the ultimate weapon of destruction; nuclear arms.... It is highly doubtful that the rulers of Pakistan and the fundamentalists will listen to Clinton's words of moderation, given the years belligerence and saber-rattling indulged in by government spokesmen and hard-liners. The Pakistani rulers should give up their adamancy on Kashmir and their war cry."
"A Star-Spangled Manner"
Executive managing editor Dileep Padgaonkar maintained in the centrist Times of India (3/28): "President Bill Clinton's passage to India has revealed a fundamental change in the Indian mindset. The kind of enthusiasm he generated wherever he made a public appearance left little room for doubt that anti-Americanism is now well and truly a thing of the past."
"Praying For Pakistan"
In the editorial view of the centrist Times of India (3/27): "The sincerity underlying Mr. Clinton's speech [in Islamabad] was unmistakable.... Unfortunately, the Pakistani leadership and elite have enormous capacity for self-deception...[and] may continue to fantasize that they can outsmart the rest of the world, as they believe they did in respect of nuclear proliferation."
"Master, Not Friend"
The nationalist Hindustan Times stressed (3/27): "What is clear at the end of Mr. Clinton's visit is that Pakistan now knows exactly where it stands in relation to the United States with regard to all these crucial issues.... From the tone and content of [President Clinton's] televised speech, it was clear that the master was displeased with his unequal partner and that little remained of the friendship which [Pakistan] routinely sought from the United States. Unless Pakistan behaves with considerable circumspection in the days and months ahead, especially in Kashmir, its relations with the United States are likely to deteriorate even further."
"Mixed Message To Pakistan"
The centrist Hindu ran this editorial (3/27): "The decoy plane used as an extraordinary security measure and the absence of a joint statement at the end symbolized the state of the ties.... After the week that was, it must be clear to India and Pakistan that for the restoration of the 'promise and process of Lahore' there is no alternative to a genuine bilateral effort, which must be launched without any loss of time.... New Delhi must realize the futility of the no-talks-now stance and demonstrate the vision to return to enlightened bilateralism."
"Clinton's Succinct Message To Pakistan"
The centrist Indian Express opined (3/27): "Like his visit to Pakistan, the U.S. president's message to that country was short and succinct: Shape up or ship out.... There can be no denying that this is the furthest that any U.S. regime has gone in rebuking Pakistan publicly for its predilection to deal in the currency of terrorism."
"Entering A New Era"
The Mumbai (Bombay) edition of left-of-center Lokmat stressed (3/27): "Clinton's categorical assurance...that America does not want to impose itself as a mediator in the Kashmir dispute and his stern warning to Pakistan against abetting cross-border terrorism, provided much needed clarity for elevating Indo-U.S. relations to a new high."
"Advice To Musharraf"
Mumbai's centrist Nav Bharat declared (3/27): "Clinton's warning to Pakistan...is the first ever instance of the U.S. admonishing its ally Pakistan in public, and showing a deep understanding of India's concern. Pakistan would do well to head this warning, failing which, its destruction is certain."
The pro-economic-reforms Economic Times declared (3/27): "The fact that the new relationship is rooted in mutual economic interest also makes the cordialness more sustainable than the hostility of the past, Clinton or no Clinton."
"Movers And Shakers"
The centrist Asian Age contended (3/27): "It can be expected that after having been snubbed in almost direct terms by Mr. Clinton, the Pakistani chief executive will lean still more heavily on Beijing for succor and relief. The manner in which Beijing decides to respond to Islamabad's pleas and overtures will...be of crucial import."
"A Gamble Pays Off?"
The centrist Hindu featured this analysis (3/26) by strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan: "The biggest gain from Mr. Clinton's visit has been his successful start in chipping away at the deep Indian distrust of U.S. intentions accumulated over the last 50 years.... Respect for the Line of Control and an end to violence [in Kashmir] are at the heart of Mr. Clinton's package and India is pleased with it. Mr. Clinton also insisted that India must find a way to address the grievances of the Kashmiris.... By proclaiming that this must take place within the parameters of the unity of India's multi-ethnic nationhood, Mr. Clinton may have begun to remove the deepest anxieties in India about American intentions."
"List Of Do's And Dont's"
The centrist Hindu's Islamabad correspondent, Amit Baruah, held (3/26): "There appears to be little doubt that Mr. Clinton has provided a window of opportunity for Pakistan. A list of American do's and don'ts is now available.... As Mr. Clinton must be aware, the time has come for Pakistan to make the right choices and take the correct decisions."
"He Came, He Saw, He Concurred"
Resident editor Ramindar Singh insisted in the centrist Times of India (3/26): "If one views the Clinton visit purely through the prism of Kashmir, the American president used every opportunity to point out, in an extremely cultured, reasoned manner, that Pakistan had been behaving badly."
"Stars, Stripes And Wheels"
The centrist Telegraph emphasized (3/26): "The U.S. president...broadcast a clear signal. India and the United States can, post-Cold War, develop a relationship [that is] wider, deeper and more beneficial than anything that existed previously."
"Bill And Coup"
An editorial in the centrist Times of India held (3/24): "But, by and large, the presidential visit has been a tour de force taking India by storm. On visiting the Taj Mahal, Tourist Bill said that the world was divided between those who had seen the monument and those hadn't."
"The B-To-B Vision Thing"
Economist Sanjaya Baru emphasized in the pro-economic-reforms Business Standard (3/24): "Compare the language of this vision statement with anything that President Clinton is likely to say either in Pakistan or in China.... Neither can offer the prospect of a well-rounded, holistic, comprehensive, forward-looking 'people-to-people' and B-to-B relationship of the type that Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton have envisaged for our two democracies. For our part, we must breathe full life into these initiatives, imparting as much importance to them as we have to the Indo-U.S. 'strategic dialogue' between Jaswant Singh and Strobe Talbott."
"Diplomacy Of Tone And Emphasis"
Associate editor K. K. Katyal opined in the centrist Hindu (3/24): "The full import of Mr. Clinton's trip to South Asia [will] be clear with his talks in Islamabad. Yes, we have not to seek third-party intervention but there is nothing wrong in encouraging the Americans, and the rest of the world community, to invest the LoC with a firmer status."
BANGLADESH: "Clinton Fallout"
According to an op-ed in the independent, English-language Daily Star (3/29): "President Clinton predicted a bright future for Bangladesh. He also hinted that there was something in common between the United States, the largest democracy India, and the moderate Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Such a bond is acceptable to India as long as Dhaka accedes to New Delhi's wishes not only to sell its gas but also provide transportation facilities through Bangladesh territories to the northeastern states. The emerging 'trilateral' strategy reflects Washington's global energy policy to reduce worldwide dependence on oil, which would keep oil prices under control by maximizing the natural gas utilization (and other alternative sources of energy) wherever possible.... [However,] if Washington, in any way, promotes New Delhi's 'managerial role' in South Asia--which is presumed by India's strategic thinkers--President Clinton's trip will be counterproductive for both Washington and Dhaka."
"Clinton's Words In Pakistan--Music To Indian Leaders' Ears"
The independent Daily Star indicated (3/29): "President Clinton dismissed [the idea that] the United States would mediate in the Kashmir dispute.... It seems that Pakistan's hope has been dashed to the ground. The fact that Clinton visited India for five days and stopped only for six hours in Pakistan demonstrates the extent and content of the United States' relationship with India and Pakistan."
NEPAL: "Assessing The Clinton Visit"
Centrist Kantipur's editorial maintained (3/28): "It must be admitted that his visit has failed to achieve anything towards improving the security atmosphere in the region. The prospects of bringing about a peaceful atmosphere will remain remote unless the nuclear powers all over the world destroy all their mass destructive weapons.... [But] the Clinton visit has, for sure, been successful with respect to India-U.S. relations. President Bill Clinton's short visit to Pakistan has not provided any legality to the military rule of that country.
"The request he made to the military rulers of that country to initiate a democratic system is being taken in a positive manner.... The visit to South Asia paid by President Bill Clinton at the beginning of the new millennium...is expected to have a lasting impact."
"Lasting Impact Expected"
The centrist Kathmandu Post held (3/27): "The Clinton visit to three South Asian countries...can be expected to have a lasting impact on the region."
SRI LANKA: "Clinton Soothes Indian Psyche"
The opposition, English-language Island remarked (3/24): "It is apparent that the suave and affable American president's primary objective was to soothe the Indian psyche and eliminate anti-American prejudices.... [He has] also dispelled...Indian fears about the U.S. stand on Kashmir.... No other American president would have expressed America's good intentions toward India with such eloquence."
"Stomachache Turned Nuclear Headache"
Ameen Izzadeen penned this op-ed in the independent tabloid Daily Mirror (3/24). "The United States is quite aware that to keep Kashmir simmering would only bring the world closer to a nuclear conflict. But it does not want to make peace in Kashmir in terms not acceptable to India where it eyes large investment prospects. The United States is walking a tightrope. How it would help India and Pakistan achieve peace is the challenge Mr. Clinton will leave for the next occupant of the White House."
"Laying Foundation For American Policy In South Asia"
Popular, centrist, Sinhala-language Lankadeepa maintained (3/24): "President Clinton's sojourn...has laid the foundation for U.S. policy in South Asia in the 21st century. The real picture will only emerge during the term of the next president."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Hurried Meeting Produces Few Achievements"
Ding Zi and Li Wenyun observed in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 3/27): "President Clinton's visit to Pakistan failed to achieve any substantive progress except for a clearer understanding of each other's stance. Although the president claimed that his visit reflected U.S. concern for Pakistan, he delivered more negative comments than affirmation, and addressed more requirements than help in his speech in Pakistan. It seems that differences remain on political cooperation between India and the United States. Some analysts say the pragmatic meaning of President Clinton's visit is probably to promote economic and trade cooperation between the two...in information technology."
CHINA/MACAU: "South Asia Trip Reveals That U.S. Capability Has Fallen Short"
The pro-PRC Macau Daily News editorialized (3/29): "Clinton's visit [to South Asia]...produced little. It made people feel that the United States' ability to deal with many important global or regional issues has fallen short.... Clinton only stayed in Pakistan for a few hours, showing his discontent with Pakistan's military government. He urged Pakistan to resume democratic elections as soon as possible. The change of regime in Pakistan is after all an internal affair of Pakistan. The Pakistanis should decide it themselves.
"There is no need for the United States to point its finger. Hence, it is within expectations that the leader of the Pakistan military government refused to make any pledges to the United States."
AUSTRALIA: "Reluctant Passage To India"
The national, conservative Australian featured this op-ed piece (3/24) by foreign editor Greg Sheridan: "That Clinton is visiting [India] at all is a good thing.... The Clintonian impulse is always to promote dialogue, but...unless it translates as clear pressure on Pakistan to behave itself, Kashmir is one of those numerous disputes in which greater international attention makes the problem worse not better.... Waffling on Kashmir detracts from what should have been Clinton's core task in India--to reset the U.S.-India relationship as a genuine strategic partnership between the world's two greatest democracies, nations which ought to have so much in common."
"Clinton's Visit Marks A Shift"
An editorial in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review offered this assessment (3/24): "Mr. Clinton's visit may well mark a shift which will affect not only the United States and India, but the region as a whole.... But U.S.-India relations won't be [smooth] sailing. As Delhi pursues economic reform, a higher profile in India by U.S. business may provoke nationalist resentment...[and] India will not accept external restraint on its nuclear capability unless the five recognized powers do more to eliminate their own."
MALAYSIA: "Clinton's Desire To Make History"
Government-influenced, Chinese-language Sin Chew Jit Poh noted (3/27): "Since President Clinton could not make substantial inroads in domestic politics, he wants to leave behind a good name in diplomatic history.... In India, Clinton has achieved some progress in enhancing ties between the two nations, but he has been less successful in his visit to Pakistan."
SINGAPORE: "What Clinton Didn't Do"
The pro-government Straits Times stressed (3/25): "It is plain that nothing short of a [mediating] role by the United States can bring Kashmir remotely close to a resolution. An emissary of stature--either of the former Presidents George Bush or Jimmy Carter--should be tapped for the role. This would be timely and consistent with America's expanding role in South Asia.... It is unrealistic for India to insist that a Kashmir peace can only be a direct deal with Pakistan. That will never work.... The ball is firmly in America's court. Mr. Clinton should place Kashmir in the 'must act' category when he consults his policy advisers back in Washington."
"Clinton Visit Forges New Ties With India"
Nirmal Ghosh filed this analysis from New Delh (3/24) for the pro-government Straits Times: "India and the United States have set aside the neglect of decades and outlined the structure of a broader and deeper, strategic relationship which will transcend temporary irritants."
SOUTH KOREA: "Better Relations With India"
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo remarked (3/27): "While Clinton had to leave empty-handed on the nuclear and Kashmir issues, his India visit was productive on the whole. Above all, the relationship between the once-Cold War era enemies is now 'stabilized.' Economically, too, telecommunications is opening up a new sense of cooperation between the two."
VIETNAM: "Clinton's Difficult Trip"
Thach Binh remarked in Hanoi's municipal Communist Party Committee Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi, 3/30): "Recent U.S. moves make people think that Washington is determined to prevent the formation of a Russia-China-India strategic triangle, and it has to do it promptly now because at this time the possibility to form such a triangle is unrealistic.... It is a fact that in U.S. foreign policy, India has never emerged as a direct or potential opponent of the United States, like Russia or China.... Now, Washington wants to improve its relationship with India, making use of the potential relationship to consolidate the U.S. position in Asia and in the world."
BRITAIN: "Power And Principles"
Readers of the conservative Times saw this editorial (3/24): "President Clinton's trip to Pakistan has been criticized. Yet the fact that General Musharraf has taken this chance to call local elections for next year suggests that the visit has already achieved one aim, giving Pakistan a nudge towards democratic reform. Mr. Clinton and the West...might next reflect on how to foster a more genuine democracy than Pakistan has yet experienced."
The liberal Guardian contended (3/24): "President Clinton flunked a rare opportunity in India this week to advance efforts to curb global proliferation of nuclear weapons. His mild strictures about the dangers inherent in India's military nuclear program were politely but firmly rejected. Pakistan's leaders are likely to give him similarly short shrift when he visits Islamabad.... India and Pakistan learned this week that nuclear capability ensures a kind of respect from the big kid on the block. That is a seriously destabilizing global signal."
FRANCE: "Clinton's Stalled Diplomacy"
Right-of-center Les Echos averred (3/29): "Even if America's influence is everywhere, this has not favored President Clinton's quest for diplomatic success.... Left out of Al Gore's race for the presidency, Clinton's only arena for action is the international stage. While his strategy goes in the right direction, his results are disappointing. His recent interlocutors, the Indians, Pakistanis, Syrians--and even the Irish--do not see Clinton as the mediator he aims to be. Even if his trip to India reverses the trend of alliances in favor of India, it is clear that Clinton has not achieved anything in the immediate future.... Meetings with Assad have proven to be totally unproductive.... Clinton is short on ideas, means and results. Until November, he will watch Putin's rise to power and look on the new relations with China and Israel without being able to do much about them."
GERMANY: "The Visit Of A Deeply Worried Friend"
Andreas Baenziger told readers of Munich's centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung (3/27): "The American president was not able to move things along in Pakistan. Nevertheless, General Musharraf had to pay a high price for the fact that Clinton did not leave his country off the itinerary completely but came to Islamabad for five hours. This price was a 15-minute speech to the population, which Clinton used to describe his position politely but with determination. The president is not seeking any compromises with the dictatorship; he clearly kept his distance from the military regime. Clinton's speech made a favorable impression in Pakistan.... If General Musharraf hoped that the president's visit would help legitimize his regime, the president's visit might easily trigger the opposite."
ITALY: "Clinton In Pakistan--Clandestine Immigrant Or Powerful Sultan?"
Washington correspondent Alberto Pasolini Zanelli concluded in leading, rightist, opposition Il Giornale (3/26): "Bill Clinton arrived in Pakistan like a clandestine immigrant or a very powerful, suspicious sultan...who sends forward his doubles in order to defend his life.... Clinton's quick visit to Pakistan concluded the way it had begun, i.e., with a total disagreement between the two sides.... To assess the outcome of the mission as a failure may be somewhat strong, but it is not exaggerated. And the failure is not surprising. Clinton had long hesitated before including Pakistan in his trip to South Asia...and probably he would have done better to leave it out."
"Clinton, Musharraf Spar Over Elections"
This dispatch from Islamabad ran in leading, opposition Il Giornale (3/24): "Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf has announced that...admininstrative elections will be held next year.... However, that signal addressed to the White House...has not impressed its addressee."
RUSSIA: "Clinton Moves To Pakistan"
Alexei Tomilin contended in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (3/25): "Whatever the case, officials in Delhi describe the visit as a success with both sides achieving their aims. India has demonstrated that it is a worthy partner with whom to do business, while the United States demonstrated its serious intent to open for itself a new and extremely promising market.... On the other hand, on calling for maximum restraint in matters pertaining to nuclear weapons, President Clinton recognized India's right to possess 'minimum possible means of deterrence.' In addition, the sides signed a joint communique in which they noted the expediency of opening 'an epoch of new possibilities' in Indian-American relations."
BELGIUM: "Friendship Counts"
Foreign affairs writer Catherine Vuylsteke asked in independent De Morgen (3/24): "What was the reason for (Clinton's) visit? Although India's refusal to sign the CTBT treaty and the need to reach a lasting solution on Kashmir with Pakistan were undoubtedly discussed privately, Clinton did not have an ambitious political agenda in India. He only wanted to show that Washington considers the Cold War something of the past and wants India...as a friend."
FINLAND: "Superpower Efforts Important"
Liberal Hufvudstadsbladet included this op-ed commentary (3/24): "President Clinton cannot do very much in the short run to increase stability in [South Asia.] But it is important that the leader of the world's only superpower meet with the leaders of both India and Pakistan and explain to them again that they should not expect the rest of the world to accept a fight over Kashmir based on the meaningless concept of each country's prestige."
NORWAY: "Empty-Handed From Pakistan"
Independent Dagbladet declared (3/26): "President Clinton's short visit to Pakistan did not bring anything new...but his Asia visit has contributed to toning down tension between India and Pakistan, at least for a while."
SPAIN: "Contrasting States"
Center-left El Pais made these observations (3/27): "In contrast to India's growing international stature and the growing influence of more than a million Indian immigrants in the United States, Pakistan remains an unstable state tottering on the brink of failure."
QATAR: "Clinton And Kashmir"
In the view of semi-independent Al-Sharq (3/26): "In spite of Clinton's positive remark to the Indian leaders to consider the aspirations of the people of Kashmir, Clinton's caution made him support the Indian position in an unprecedented manner. Clinton took it upon himself to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting the Kashmiri mujaheddin. In doing so, he ignored the historic and political relationships between Pakistan and Kashmir. What is dangerous, however, is Clinton's refusal to intervene to enforce an international political solution to a crisis that threatens to ignite a nuclear war."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Unrealistic Expectations"
The Sharjah-based, English-language Gulf Today had this editorial (3/26): "It was unrealistic to expect the general to announce a time-table for democracy during Clinton's visit.... Musharraf does not have many cards to play with. At this critical moment, democracy is the only lever left for Musharraf to bring in the much needed investment to pull the country away from the brink of bankruptcy."
ARGENTINA: "Double 'No' For Clinton"
An editorial in pro-government La Prensa pointed out (3/27): "[On the question of nuclear weapons,] Clinton received 'no' for an answer twice, but we cannot talk about a failed mission. India and Pakistan only repeated face-to-face what they had told him at a distance every time the issue was discussed."
For more information, please contact:
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Office of Research Media Reaction
Telephone: (202) 619-6511
# # #