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There are 5 messages totalling 711 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. TEXT: RUBIN STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HALABJA MASSACRE
2. TEXT: CLINTON REPORT TO CONGRESS ON IRAN NATIONAL EMERGENCY
3. TEXT: INDYK SUPPORTS IRAQI INSPECTIONS ACCORD BEFORE CONGRESS
4. Politics-U.S.: Warmer Words for Iran
5. Pox Americana: A World Made Safe for, Uh, Whatever

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 22:40:40 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: TEXT: RUBIN STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HALABJA MASSACRE

USIA
16 March 1998

TEXT: RUBIN STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HALABJA MASSACRE

(UN must stop Iraq from rebuilding weapons of mass destruction) (430)

Washington -- The United States on March 16 offered its sympathies to the
people of Halabja, a Kurdish town in Northern Iraq, on the tenth
anniversary of the Iraqi military attack on that town with chemical
weapons.

"Today especially, the sympathies of the United States are with the
people of Halabja as we remind ourselves and the international
community that the UN must remain vigilant to stop Iraq from
rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction programs," State Department
Spokesman James Rubin said.

"The only way to ensure that the Saddam Hussein regime will never
again be able to possess or use weapons of mass destruction, against the
Iraqi people or anyone else, is for UN weapons inspectors to have
immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to inspect any site in
Iraq," Rubin said.

Following is the text of Rubin's statement:

(Begin text)

Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman

Anniversary of the Halabja Massacre

On March 16, 1988, the Iraqi military attacked Halabja, a Kurdish town in
northern Iraq, with chemical weapons.

An estimated 5000 civilians were killed. More than 10,000 were
injured.

The campaign against Iraqi Kurdish civilians, which included the
Halabja massacre, was not the only time the Baghdad regime used
chemical weapons. An estimated 20,000 Iranian soldiers were killed in
Iraqi chemical attacks from 1983-1988, during the Iran~-Iraq war.

The Iraqi regime never expressed remorse for Halabja. In fact, the
regime has defended its use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran by
claiming, "every nation has the right to protect itself against
invasion," even though a 1925 Geneva Protocol, to which Iraq is subject,
outlaws the use of chemical weapons.

Ten years after the massacre, the people of Halabja still suffer from the
effects of the monstrous March 16 attack, including much higher rates of
serious diseases (such as cancer), birth defects and miscarriages.

Today especially, the sympathies of the United States are with the
people of Halabja as we remind ourselves and the international
community that the UN must remain vigilant to stop Iraq from
rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction programs.

The only way to ensure that the Saddam Hussein regime will never again be
able to possess or use weapons of mass destruction, against the Iraqi
people or anyone else, is for UN weapons inspectors to have immediate,
unconditional and unrestricted access to inspect any site in Iraq.

(End text)

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Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 22:36:16 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: TEXT: CLINTON REPORT TO CONGRESS ON IRAN NATIONAL EMERGENCY

USIA
17 March 1998

TEXT: CLINTON REPORT TO CONGRESS ON IRAN NATIONAL EMERGENCY

(Iran's policies, actions present threat to US security) (1960)

Washington -- President Clinton reported to Congress March 16 that the
actions and policies of the Government of Iran "continue to present an
extraordinary and unusual threat to the national security, foreign
policy, and economy of the United States."

The President noted in particular Iran's support of international
terrorism, its support for acts that undermine the Middle East peace
process and its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the
means to deliver them.

The declaration of the national emergency with respect to Iran
contained in Executive Order 12957 and the comprehensive economic
sanctions imposed by Executive Order 12959, "underscore the United
States Government's opposition to Iran's actions and policies,"
Clinton said.

Following is the text of the President's report:

(Begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 16, 1998

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

I hereby report to the Congress on developments concerning the
national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared in Executive
order 12957 of March 15, 1995, and matters relating to the measures in
that order and in Executive Order 12959 of May 6, 1995, and in Executive
Order 13059 of August 19, 1997. This report is submitted pursuant to
section 204(c) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50
U.S.C. 1703(c) (IEEPA), section 401(c) of the National Emergencies Act,
50 U.S.C. 1641(c), and section 505(c) of the International Security and
Development Cooperation Act of 1985, 22 U.S.C. 2349aa-9(c). This report
discusses only matters concerning the national emergency with respect to
Iran that was declared in Executive Order 12957 and does not deal with
those relating to the emergency declared on November 14, 1979, in
connection with the hostage crisis.

1. On March 15, 1995, 1 issued Executive Order 12957 (60 Fed. Reg.
14615, March 17, 1995) to declare a national emergency with respect to
Iran pursuant to IEEPA, and to prohibit the financing, management, or
supervision by United States persons of the development of Iranian
petroleum resources. This action was in response to actions and policies
of the Government of Iran, including support for international terrorism,
efforts to undermine the Middle East peace process, and the acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. A copy of
the order was provided to the Speaker of the House and the President of
the Senate by letter dated March 15, 1995.

Following the imposition of these restrictions with regard to the
development of Iranian petroleum resources, Iran continued to engage in
activities that represent a threat to the peace and security of all
nations, including Iran's continuing support for international terrorism,
its support for acts that undermine the Middle East peace process, and
its intensified efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. On May 6,
1995, 1 issued Executive Order 12959 (60 Fed. Reg. 24757, May 9, 1995) to
further respond to the Iranian threat to the national security, foreign
policy, and economy of the United States. The terms of that order and an
earlier order imposing an import ban on Iranian-origin goods and services
(Executive Order 12613 of October 29, 1987) were consolidated and
clarified in Executive order 13059 of August 19, 1997.

At the time of signing Executive order 12959, I directed the Secretary
of the Treasury to authorize through specific licensing certain
transactions, including transactions by United States persons related
to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague, established
pursuant to the Algiers Accords, and related to other international
obligations and U.S. Government functions, and transactions related to
the export of agricultural commodities pursuant to preexisting contracts
consistent with section 5712(c) of title 7, United States Code. I also
directed the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the
Secretary of State, to consider authorizing United States persons through
specific licensing to participate in market-based swaps of crude oil from
the Caspian Sea area for Iranian crude oil in support of energy projects
in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.

Executive Order 12959 revoked sections I and 2 of Executive Order
12613 of October 29, 1987, and sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order
12957 of March 15, 1995, to the extent they are inconsistent with it. A
copy of Executive Order 12959 was transmitted to the Congressional
leadership by letter dated May 6, 1995.

2. On August 19, 1997, I issued Executive Order 13059 in order to
clarify the steps taken in Executive Order 12957 and Executive order
12959, to confirm that the embargo on Iran prohibits all trade and
investment activities by United States persons, wherever located, and to
consolidate in one order the various prohibitions previously imposed to
deal with the national emergency declared on March 15, 1995. A copy of
the order was transmitted to the Speaker of the House and the President
of the Senate by letter dated August 19, 1997.

The Order prohibits (1) the importation into the United States of any
goods or services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the
Government of Iran except information or informational material; (2) the
exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply from the United States or by
a United States person, wherever located, of goods, technology, or
services to Iran or the Government of Iran, including knowing transfers
to a third country for direct or indirect supply, transshipment, or
reexportation to Iran or the Government of Iran, or specifically for use
in the production, commingling with, or incorporation into goods,
technology, or services to be supplied, transshipped, or reexported
exclusively or predominantly to Iran or the Government of Iran; (3)
knowing reexportation from a third country to Iran or the Government of
Iran of certain controlled U.S.-origin goods, technology, or services by
a person other than a United States person; (4) the purchase, sale,
transport, swap, brokerage, approval, financing, facilitation, guarantee,
or other transactions or dealings
by United States persons, wherever located, related to goods,
technology, or services for exportation, reexportation, sale or
supply, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the Government of Iran, or to
goods or services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the
Government of Iran; (5) new investment by United States persons in Iran
or in property or entities owned or controlled by the Government of Iran;
(6) approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States
person of any transaction by a foreign person that a United States person
would be prohibited from performing under the terms of the Order; and (7)
any transaction that evades, avoids, or attempts to violate a prohibition
under the Order.

Executive Order 13059 became effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight
time on August 20, 1997. Because the order consolidated and clarified the
provisions of prior orders, Executive Order 12613 and paragraphs (a),
(b), (c), (d), and (f) of section 1 of Executive Order 12959 were revoked
by Executive Order 13059. The revocation of corresponding provisions in
the prior Executive orders did not affect the applicability of those
provisions, or of regulations, licenses or other administrative actions
taken pursuant to those provisions, with respect to any transaction or
violation occurring before the effective date of Executive order 13059.
Specific licenses issued pursuant to prior Executive orders continue in
effect, unless revoked or amended by the Secretary of the Treasury.
General licenses, regulations,
orders, and directives issued pursuant to prior orders continue in
effect, except to the extent inconsistent with Executive order 13059 or
otherwise revoked or modified by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The declaration of national emergency made by Executive Order 12957, and
renewed each year since, remains in effect and is not affected by the
order.

3. On March 4, 1998, I renewed for another year the national emergency
with respect to Iran pursuant to IEEPA. This renewal extended the
authority for the current comprehensive trade embargo against Iran in
effect since May 1995. Under these sanctions, virtually all trade with
Iran is prohibited except for trade in information and informational
materials and certain other limited exceptions.

4. There have been no amendments to the Iranian Transactions
Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (the "ITR"), since my report of
September 17, 1997.

5. During the current 6-month period, the Department of the Treasury's
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made numerous decisions with
respect to applications for licenses to engage in transactions under the
ITR, and issued seven licenses. The majority of denials were in response
to requests to authorize commercial exports to Iran particularly of
machinery and equipment for various industries and the importation of
Iranian-origin goods. The licenses issued authorized certain financial
transactions, transactions relating to air safety policy, and to disposal
of U.S.-owned goods located in Iran. Pursuant to sections 3 and 4 of
Executive Order 12959 and consistent with the Iran-Iraq Arms
Non-Proliferation Act of 1992 and other statutory restrictions concerning
certain goods and technology, including those involved in air-safety
cases, the Department of the Treasury continues to consult with the
Departments of State and Commerce on these matters.

The U.S. financial community continues to scrutinize transactions
associated with Iran and to consult with OFAC about their appropriate
handling. Many of these inquiries have resulted in investigations into
the activities of U.S. parties and, where appropriate, the initiation of
enforcement action.

6. The U.S. Customs Service has continued to effect numerous seizures of
Iranian-origin merchandise, primarily carpets, for violation of the
import prohibitions of the ITR. Various enforcement actions carried over
from previous reporting periods are continuing and new reports of
violations are being aggressively pursued. Since my last report, OFAC has
collected six civil monetary penalties totaling nearly $84,000 for
violations of IEEPA and the ITR.

7. The expenses incurred by the Federal Government in the 6-month
period from September 15, 1997, through March 14, 1998, that are
directly attributable to the exercise of powers and authorities
conferred by the declaration of a national emergency with respect to Iran
are reported to be approximately $1.3 million, most of which represent
wage and salary costs for Federal personnel. Personnel costs were largely
centered in the Department of the Treasury (particularly in the office of
Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Customs Service, the Office of the Under
Secretary for Enforcement, and the Office of the General Counsel), the
Department of State (particularly the Bureau of Economic and Business
Affairs, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, the Bureau of intelligence
and Research, and the Office of the Legal Adviser), and the Department of
Commerce (the Bureau of Export Administration and the General Counsel's
office).

8. The situation reviewed above continues to present an extraordinary and
unusual threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of
the United States. The declaration of the national emergency with respect
to Iran contained in Executive Order 12957 and the comprehensive economic
sanctions imposed by Executive Order 12959 underscore the United States
Government's opposition to the actions and policies of the Government of
Iran, particularly its support of international terrorism and its efforts
to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The
Iranian Transactions Regulations issued pursuant to Executive Orders
12957, 12959, and 13059 continue to advance important objectives in
promoting the nonproliferation and anti-terrorism policies of the United
States. I shall exercise the powers at my disposal to deal with these
problems and will report periodically to the Congress on significant
developments.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 16, 1998.

(End text)

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------------------------------

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 22:41:55 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: TEXT: INDYK SUPPORTS IRAQI INSPECTIONS ACCORD BEFORE CONGRESS

USIA
10 March 1998

TEXT: INDYK SUPPORTS IRAQI INSPECTIONS ACCORD BEFORE CONGRESS

(Addresses Questions About Mideast Peace, Russia and Iran) (3430)

Washington -- Martin S. Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near
Eastern Affairs, testified March 10 on recent developments in the Middle
East before the House International Relations Committee.
Representatives asked questions about the Clinton Administration's
policies toward Iraq, the Middle East peace process, Russia and Iran.

[...]
Regarding the long-range commitment of U.S. forces in the Gulf, Indyk
said access agreements signed with different Gulf states since 1991 have
given the United States "the ability to move them out and back rapidly"
without any loss of military preparedness.

"We are making progress," Indyk said about ongoing talks with Russia
about sales of missile and nuclear technology to Iran. He noted, too,
that Vice President Gore's talks with Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin
is expected to focus on the topic.

[...]

"The record is mixed," he said referring to recent developments with
Iran. After citing Iran's activities in supporting global terrorism,
violent actions aimed at undermining the Middle East peace process, and
its efforts to subvert neighboring Arab states, Indyk said the United
States would "respond appropriately" when the Administration believes
Iran wants to change its policies.

"We are prepared for that dialogue with Iran," he added.

Following is the text of Indyk's remarks, as prepared for delivery:

(Begin text)

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee, I am pleased to
appear before you to review recent developments in the Middle East ...

-- Encouraging change in Iranian policies which threaten our
interests;
-- Promoting democracy, respect for human rights and for the rule of law,
and -- Enhancing opportunities for American companies.
[...]
on the other hand the desire for change in Iran as manifested in the
election last May of a new Iranian President, a relatively moderate
cleric by Iranian standards, who espouses the "rule of law" as his
guiding principle, and advocates a "dialogue of civilizations" as a means
of reducing tensions between nations. We are watching to see whether this
positive rhetoric will be matched by positive deeds -- the record of the
Iranian government since Khatami's inauguration last August is still
mixed. But recent unofficial contacts between Americans and Iranians have
gone well. We would like to see these unofficial exchanges accompanied by
a government-to-government dialogue which, in our view, is the only way
to address effectively the serious issues that have divided the U.S. and
Iran for nearly 20 years.
[...]
we have heard the voices of change in Iran. It is unclear yet whether
those voices, represented in the election and continued popularity of
President Khatami will prevail, but we are watching carefully the signs
of change. While our focus continues to be on deeds, not words, we have
sought to respond to President Khatami's calls for a civilizational
dialogue and to encourage the changes in policies that we seek.

Change in the areas of greatest concern to us -- terrorism, attempts to
acquire WMD and support of violent opposition to the peace process --
remains the focus of our policy. These are deep-rooted elements of
Iranian government practice and it remains to be seen whether President
Khatami can and will make positive change in these areas. It will take
time to reach conclusions on this score.

Recent unofficial contacts have demonstrated that our two peoples have no
quarrel with each other; in such contrasting realms as sports and
academia, recent American visitors to Iran have found a warm welcome. We
are prepared to take steps to encourage these exchanges which can help to
overcome the mistrust in our relations. But we continue to believe that
official contacts are the best way to resolve the serious issues of
policy between us. The governmen~t of Iran has indicated it is not ready
yet for such discussions.
[...]

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Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 22:58:43 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: Politics-U.S.: Warmer Words for Iran

Politics-U.S.: Warmer Words for Iran

Inter Press Service
17-MAR-98

WASHINGTON, (Mar. 15) IPS - Nobody in Washington can recall if any
previous president of the United States ever asked a university wrestling
team to drop by the White House. But in the Oval Office this week,
President Bill Clinton met five Arizona wrestlers who took part in last
month's Takhti Cup tournament in Teheran -- the first U.S. athletes to
compete in the Islamic Republic since its 1979 Revolution.

"It would be accurate to say that he's drawing attention to an exchange
that is maybe off the beaten path of diplomacy, but has something to say
about the prospect and hope for more beneficial relations between
peoples," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry after the visit.

Those were not the only warm words uttered by U.S. officials about Iran
this week. In testimony before Congress on Mar. 10, the State
Department's top Mideast specialist went beyond praise for Iranian
President Mohammed Khatami's rhetoric of reconciliation, suggesting that
Teheran was now taking action on a number of fronts, particularly against
Iraq, which Washington found most welcome.

"There has been a public report of smugglers of Iraqi oil complaining
that the Iranians will no longer allow their waters to be used for that
process," said Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk. "(That) does
indicate a concrete act on the part of Iran which is designed to enforce
the Security Council resolutions against Iraq."

Indyk also cited Khatami's recent denunciations of terror against
civilians in Israel and Algeria; Iran's "reaching out" to its Gulf Arab
neighbors, and a "change in (its) approach" to Palestinian leader Yassir
Arafat as evidence of positive movement. "I've said repeatedly that what
matters is deeds, not words," he said. "But the words can also have an
impact."

Less than three months since Khatami appealed for more exchanges between
the Iran and the United States in a televised interview aimed at the U.S.
public, the pace of rapprochement appears to have gathered speed in
recent weeks.

Most analysts agree there still is a long and difficult way to go before
Washington and Teheran actually sit down to normalize ties. But they say
Clinton's recent face-off with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has
accelerated the process.

"It's simply a matter of national interest," says Prof. James Bill, an
Iran expert and William and Mary University in Virginia. "Iran is the
natural balance in the Gulf, and acceptance of that view in Washington
has been hastened by the Iraq crisis."

In the latest crisis, Washington found almost no regional support for its
threats to bomb Iraq if Saddam Hussein did not cooperate with UN weapons
inspectors. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan effectively saved Clinton
from what could have been a major diplomatic debacle by reaching an
11th-hour accord with the Iraq leader.

Washington's relative isolation fuelled a new debate over the viability
of Clinton's "dual-containment" policy in the Gulf directed against both
Iraq and Iran. That policy marked a major departure from decades of
playing one off against the other.

Key figures in the U.S. foreign-policy elite, such as former national
security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft who served with
the Carter and Bush administrations, respectively, urged a detente with
Iran even before the latest crisis.

Such a move would not only help contain Iraq, they argued. It would also
ease tensions with Washington's European allies which have commercial
interests in Iran and ease access for US oil companies to the vast oil
and gas wealth of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

But these arguments made little headway until Khatami himself, a liberal
cleric who pulled off a huge upset in last May's elections, made his
January overture. He stressed then that the time was not ripe for
normalization of official ties, but that people-to-people exchanges could
lay the foundation for more formal steps.

Clinton at first responded by insisting that an official dialogue was
preferable. Reiterating long-held positions, the administration said such
a dialogue must address Iran's alleged support for terrorism and violent
elements opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace process, and its quest for
weapons of mass destruction.

After receiving several secret diplomatic messages from Teheran, Clinton
gave a warmer reply. In remarks broadcast by the Voice of America to mark
the end of Ramadan, Clinton stressed that differences between the two
countries were "not insurmountable."

Within three weeks -- and just as the crisis with Iraq was coming to a
head -- the U.S. wrestlers were in Teheran; State Department officials
were reviewing strict visa regulations against Iranians wishing to come
here; and US scholars were on their way to take part in a foreign-policy
seminar in the Persian capital. "It's good to be back again after 20
years," said Geoffrey Kemp, president Ronald Reagan's top Mideast adviser
from Teheran late last month.

Clinton's meeting with the wrestlers, Indyk's testimony, and the visit
here last week of Khatami's top adviser on women's affairs -- the highest
ranking Iranian official to come to Washington since the Revolution --
marked the latest advances in what is certain to be "long and bumpy
road," according to Prof. Bill.

Even if the warm words were evident this week, for example, so were some
of the obstacles which still threaten rapprochement.

On Mar. 11, a federal judge ordered Iran to pay almost $250 million in
damages to the family of a U.S. student who was killed in a suicide
bombing in Israel in 1995. The family cited U.S. government documents
which charged Iran with arming the Islamic Jihad which took
responsibility for the blast. The State Department said it was "studying"
the decision.

Then there was a report that Washington had intervened strongly with
China's leadership to prevent the shipment to Iran of chemicals which the
administration believed were to be used for making a nuclear weapon.

"Just because the words are warmer doesn't mean that we don't have big
problems," said one official. "This isn't going to be easy."

_____________________________________________________________________
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------------------------------

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 22:37:37 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: Pox Americana: A World Made Safe for, Uh, Whatever

New York Times
March 15, 1998

Pox Americana: A World Made Safe for, Uh, Whatever

By STEVEN ERLANGER

WASHINGTON -- The end of the Cold War was supposed to bring not only a
peace dividend, with less money spent on defense, but a sort of moral
dividend, too. The United States, which had suppressed its ethical
standards in the higher battle against godless Communism, was now
supposed to be able to pick its friends with a little more discretion.

When the Soviet Union loomed, Washington considered any enemy of my enemy
my friend. Americans not only helped install Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire
but kept him there, ignoring whatever democratic pleas and whimpers
emerged from the repression. Americans gave the Shah of Iran everything
he wanted, and reaped Ayatollah Khomeini.

Americans embraced Batista in Cuba and Somoza in Nicaragua and
Pinochet in Chile and Saddam Hussein (back then) in Iraq. Americans spent
their blood for the kleptocratic generals of
South Vietnam.

But either the post-Soviet world is more complex than Americans can
handle, or bad old habits die hard.

The United States now has working arrangements with Laurent Kabila, the
ruthless new leader of Congo; with a Colombian military that commits
human-rights abuses even as it claims to pursue terrorists and drug
lords; with Peru's Alberto Fujimori, who has sliced away at democracy in
the name of stability, and with numerous others, not forgetting
Indonesia's President Suharto, whose 32-year autocracy has enriched his
family, and whose nation's economy is too important a domino to be
allowed to fall.

In recent weeks, as the Serbs have cracked down on ethnic
Albanians in Kosovo province, America has been relearning the
cost of such expediency. Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader
who opened Pandora's box in the Balkans knowing full well what was
inside, wasn't installed by the United States. But to stop the genocide
without endangering U.S. forces, Washington had to make him a partner and
a statesman three years ago, in the Dayton accords, and it needs him
still.

In other words, nearly a decade after the Berlin Wall fell, the
United States is still keeping some sordid company -- or at least,
by dealing seriously with people like Milosevic as partners,
helping to prop them up.

Status Quo Meets Guilt

But if the results are similar, the rationales have become more
complicated. They range from trade and stability to the stroking of
allies and the fight against drugs. The fact remains that the United
States, because of its dominance, is heavily invested in the status quo.

Instability by itself is perceived as dangerous, and U.S.
administrations, Republican or Democratic, tend to bet on what
they know, fearing that what may succeed Suharto, for example,
might be worse -- like what replaced Somoza and the shah.

But given America's moral tradition -- church-going, charitable,
Wilsonian -- the United States is a status quo power with a
uniquely guilty conscience.

So even when Washington deals with a regime it despises (Nigeria, say,
for its oil, or Milosevic's Serbia for its influence) it
feels free to make moral accusations that seem to have no real
influence on fundamental policy.

It's hard to keep to a moral grid when more secular interests get in the
way. "It's an old-fashioned thought, but we can't remake the world," said
Morton Abramowitz, a senior fellow of the Council
on Foreign Relations and a former State Department mandarin.

"You still have to balance your priorities, and some fall to the
bottom. It's hard, and you open yourself to terrible charges of
hypocrisy. And it's even harder in these days, because our
priorities that we balance -- human rights, democratization,
economic growth, security, stability -- take on a different value in the
post-Cold War world. There's less urgency, and domestic
issues matter more."

The U.S. tradition has always combined a stark moralism (and a
high degree of self-righteousness) with a hard-driving, mercantile
spirit. This was Protestant capitalism, in sociologist Max Weber's
terms, neatly encapsulated in the U.S. pursuit of the China trade,
with its merchants and missionaries.

Today, Michael Mandelbaum of Johns Hopkins suggests, the driving
conviction is no longer anti-communism, but a faith in the
transforming nature of capitalism itself. "Now we believe the
way to deal with friendly tyrants is economic, that economic and
trade relations will lead to democratization."

That is the Clinton administration's rationale for its engagement
with China, let alone with Kabila, and it supports the desire to
first prop up Suharto, and then to reform him.

But as Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., notes, the goal of expanding
market-based democracies "gives only a broad guidance to policy
makers who have to make the tough decisions."

The new, post-Cold War answer to what was once called "the friendly
tyrant dilemma," Mandelbaum suggests, is oil, which,
like anti-communism before it, has a higher priority than
democratization or human rights. For oil and the stability of
oil-producing regions, Americans have long muted moral criticism of the
Gulf sheikdoms, and now are doing the same for Turkey, Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan, the Caspian region answers to America's Iran conundrum.

"The Cold War may be over, but the laws of strategic geopolitics
have not been repealed," says Peter Rodman of the Nixon Center, a
moderate Republican policy institute.

That is especially true in East Asia, he says, where there are
worries about China's ambitions, about arms spending and about
the economic crisis, which has only added to political instability. "You
can't have a China strategy without Indonesia as a counterweight, and a
lot of the people who attack Suharto on
human-rights grounds also get badly worried about China, which
is the big enchilada, and don't connect the two."

Free to Act? Nah.

In a larger sense, though, America's victory in the Cold War
seems only to have brought new limits on its ability to act
freely, argues Carnegie Endowment president Jessica Mathews.
"Our increased vulnerability to events elsewhere, combined with
our expanded responsibility as a global superpower, may add up
to the same kind of restrictions on our freedom of action as
before," she said.

In the case of Indonesia, for instance, the United States is acting less
to prop up Suharto than to protect America's national
interests -- for example, the possibility that a collapse in Jakarta will
convulse Japan, Southeast Asia, and U.S. markets.

Similarly, Washington's refusal to press the indictment of
Milosevic for the very atrocities and war crimes U.S. officials say he
orders and incites, first in Bosnia and now in Kosovo, is just the most
striking example of empty rhetoric in the service of the primary goal --
regional stability, which Milosevic delivered at Dayton.

Without the ideological battle, it is doubtful that Washington
would prop up a Mobutu for 30 years, Ms. Mathews said -- "at
least I'm optimistic enough to think that."

But in general, America's responses "ought to be less knee-jerk
now," she said. "There are new reasons to deal with these folks,
but it's not so wired as it was in the Cold War, when we felt we
really didn't have a choice."

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 16 Mar 1998 to 17 Mar 1998
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