GENTECH archive


U$ failing in world leadership role-The World's Still Watching-

Seems to me that there's persuasion by force and there persuasion by
reason. Where U$ leadership depends on use of force it deserves to fail,
doesn't it ?

Of course I'm oversimplifying - but there's been a lot of deserved failure
in the last 50 years.


 AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE  Tuesday, December 7 1:23 AM SGT

WTO flop - another Clinton foreign policy fiasco


The White House rejected charges Monday the WTO collapse marked another
blow to President Bill Clinton's foreign policies amid growing charges
that Washington is failing in its world leadership role.

Last week's fruitless WTO talks are feeding the talk that Clinton is
compromising his goals on issues such as nuclear testing, the Kyoto
environmental accord and the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty for
domestic political reasons.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday that Clinton was still
optimistic about launching a new round of trade talks and that the events
at the World Trade Organization round in Seattle did not mean defeat.

"No one thought that would be easy," he said. "Trade talks tend to work in
fits and starts."

But Clinton has been charged with sacrificing a WTO deal to the political
aspirations of Vice President Al Gore, who needs to curry favor with his
core constituents, labor and environmentalist groups, vociferous WTO

The president's strong support for including labor standards in any
agreement alienated US trade partners, as did his expressed sympathy for
the other non-violent demonstrators who disrupted the talks.

In Brussels, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy implicitly laid the blame
for the WTO fiasco at Clinton's door, saying the timing was "badly chosen"
as it coincided with the run-up to the presidential elections.

"The Americans came to the negotiations with the idea that they would not
make any concessions," he said at a press conference Monday.

Trade expert Claud Barfield went even further, suggesting that the US
delegation did not really want an agreement, citing reports it pulled the
plug on the talks when European negotiators were willing to go all night
to reach an agreement.

"They decided that the downside of facing an agreement which showed defeat
on the question of labor standards was worse than having agreement," he

And Barfield agreed Clinton is weakened by the domestic turmoil.

"(Clinton) faces a difficult election. He faces a party deeply divided
with his core constituents, particularly labor which are the foot soldiers
for the Democrats -- who are tremendously antagonistic to one of his chief
goals," Barfield said.

That perception is potentially damaging to the US overseas, he added.

"The administration was not prepared to lead in Seattle and the problems
is that we were the inviter," he said. "We're now vulnerable to the
criticism of the EU that we failed to take the leadership role."

The US failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in October has
also been blamed on domestic politics -- namely hostility from the
Republican-led Congress.

Clinton has also been behind-hand in signing on to the Kyoto pact for
limiting greenhouse gas emissions. He is begging more time to overcome
opposition from US industries.

The administration also wants to amend the ABM treaty with Russia to allow
the development of an anti-ballistic missile system, despite protests from
NATO members, in part due to pressure from the political right.

And Clinton's drive to win China entry to the WTO may be the next

The AFL-CIO, the largest union confederation, has vowed to lobby Congress
to vote down Beijing's membership.

"Once China's in the WTO there are no means to address their egregious
violations," said Thea Lee, the group's director of public policy.

The protesters are claiming victory over the WTO, insisting that the
explosive demonstrations led to the talks' collapse, and Lee said this has
emboldened them on China's WTO membership fight.

"We're very optimistic. We think our issues are important to a lot of
people both at home and abroad and we think that the events in Seattle ...
demonstrate both the breadth and the depth of concerns," she said.


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