Prague, March 28 (RFE/RL) - Politics in the United States and
Russia draw the scrutiny of press commentators.
Hearst Newspapers columnist Robert E. Thompson writes today in a
commentary distributed by the New York Times News Service:
"(U.S.) presidential primaries, which were gradually infused into our
political system after the turn of the century by idealistic
reformers..., once again have accomplished the objective for which
they were created. Voters in primary elections across the nation have
decreed that neither the Democratic nor the Republican presidential
nominee will be selected this year by party bosses in old-fashioned,
free-for-all brokered conventions. The men chosen to lead the two
parties into battle have been selected by direct vote of the people."
In the New York Times today, commentator Tom Wicker writes:
"In an election year it's bad enough when Congress is controlled by
one party and the White House by another. When an incumbent president
also is opposed by a Senate majority leader - which has never
happened before - things may be worse. So far in 1996, with the
Republicans managing Congress, the Democrats clinging to the White
House and Majority Leader Bob Dole the all-but-certain opponent of
President Clinton in November, the result has been non-stop political
The Cox News Service today distributes these comments by Waco,
Texas, newspaper editor Rowland Nethaway: "Immigration
politics and election years go hand in hand.... Politicians love to
pull the immigration rabbit out of the election-year hat. Pounding
the (lectern) over immigration demonstrates patriotism. Us against
them. More importantly, immigration issues provide scapegoats for
current problems.... This is a nation built by immigrants. But this
nation also has struggled for most of its young existence with the
"In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton had a lot of praise for Western
Europe's blend of private enterprise coupled with a heavy dose of
social welfare as a model...," Bernard D. Kaplan comments today from
Paris in a column in the United States' Hearst Newspapers group.
Kaplan goes on: "But it's pretty certain he won't have
anything to say on that score in the coming presidential campaign....
How different things now look. These days, Europeans are desperately
seeking clues to the secret of an American rebound that has led to
the creation of millions of new jobs, notwithstanding the
restructuring and downsizing of many U.S. companies."
John Hall writes today in a column distributed by the New York
Times News Service: "The re-election campaigns of both Boris
Yeltsin and Bill Clinton seem to be driven by a parallel need to
deprive political opponents of running room on national security
issues.... The danger is that... the political rhetoric will become
policy and the two countries, this time for no good reason, will
become adversaries yet again. Well in advance of Russia's June
election, Yeltsin co-opted both his Communist and right wing
nationalist foes by taking a firm stand against the expansion of NATO
into Eastern Europe.... Here, on the other side of the Atlantic...,
the Clinton administration in little more than a year has moved from
a policy of resisting pressure for NATO enlargement into Poland, the
Czech Republic and Hungary to the active pursuit of NATO membership
for Poland and perhaps others."
In an editorial distributed yesterday by the Knight-Ridder News
Service, the Chicago Tribune said: "Secretary of State Warren
Christopher... displayed uniquely bad timing when he announced, in
yet another foreign policy flip-flop, that the United States is
pushing NATO to expand eastward into the former Soviet bloc.
Christopher's comments contradicted... Clinton administration
statements... that debate on whether NATO will accept members from
the new democracies in Central Europe would be frozen until after the
June presidential elections in Russia.... Yeltsin... trails the
Communist Party candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, who describes the
now-dead Warsaw Pact in terms of a modern Russian tragedy. When
Christopher announced last week that NATO would expand, he stole
votes from Yeltsin and gave them to the Communist Party."
The Frankfurter Rundschau says today in an editorial signed by Karl
Grobe: "On Sunday..., Yeltsin wants to announce on TV how he
proposes to end the war in Chechnya for which he is responsible.
Rumour has it that there will be no major military operations after
this. But there will still be no peace. Yeltsin will make a
promise... he cannot keep.... We cannot expect Yeltsin to admit that
this war, as Joseph Fouche once cynically said, is 'Not just a crime,
but also a mistake.' ...He is in the midst of an election campaign.
Russia has managed to circumvent democracy and has ended up with its
corrupt version -- professional mendacity."
In an analysis in today's Wall Street Journal Europe, Claudia Rosett
writes: "the face that Russia's resurgent Communist Party
presents to the world is that of its presidential candidate, Gennady
Zyuganov. But getting to know the real Gennady isn't easy. He flashes
a capitalist creed to the West, and a communist line to the
voters.... Many of Russia's communists don't have a clue how market
democracy works. Instead, they blame it for a host of
Soviet-bequeathed ills.... Typical of othese communist survivors is
party patriarch Anatoly Lukyanov, (who) now serves as one of Mr.
Zyuganov's colleagues on the Communist Party's active governing
body.... Watching his comrades file into the state Duma for a debate
on rejecting private ownership of land, Mr. Lukyanov says, 'I am an
even more determined communist than I used to be.' ...Among those
observing Mr. Zyuganov's campaign with alarm is liberal state Duma
member and veteran human rights advocate Sergei Kovalyov. In his
view, Mr. Zyuganov would lead the country to economic collapse, but
in the end, the attempt to restore Soviet rule would fail."
Also in The Wall Street Journal Europe, Steve Liesman writes today
from Moscow: "President Boris Yeltsin... has shaken up his
campaign staff and even brought in Anatoly Chubais, a top reformer
whom he fired from the government just two months ago.... A spokesman
for Mr. Chubais... said only that Mr. Chubais has repeatedly said he
'would do everything possible to preven communists from coming to