End of presidential era means uncertainty in world

November 05, 1992|By Richard O'Mara No surprise among Germans BERLIN

LONDON — The election of a new U.S. president has global impact, especially at a time when much of the world is in turmoil. Following are dispatches from The Sun's overseas bureaus describing reaction and expectations raised by the election of Bill Clinton which found that, as in the United States, economic concerns are paramount.

British tentative, Europeans calm

LONDON -- Britain reacted tentatively yesterday to the election of Bill Clinton to the White House, while elsewhere in Europe the response was calm and positive, even as a trade war loomed between the United States and the European Community.

Prime Minister John Major sent a message to Mr. Clinton anticipating "the United States and Britain will continue to work together very closely in foreign policy and that the special relationship we've had for so many years will be maintained."

But one government official conceded the Democrat's victory raises the possibility of future difficulties with Britain in areas where Mr. Clinton is contemplating policy changes. These include Northern Ireland, China, and his proposals to raise taxes on foreign firms operating in the U.S.

Mr. Clinton has spoken of appointing a peace envoy to Northern Ireland, possibly giving the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams a visa to the United States; he also supports the MacBride Principles, which mandate equal-opportunity employment for Catholics and Protestants in the British province in Ireland.

Mr. Clinton is expected to push a harder line with China than President Bush, which London fears would exacerbate the already difficult relations between Beijing and Hong Kong as the 1997 turnover of the crown colony to Beijing approaches.

Mr. Clinton's intention to raise $45 billion by taxing foreign-owned companies in the United States has spread an even deeper disquiet here.

The Conservative government says it expects a Clinton administration to enforce existing tax laws more stringently rather than drafting new ones. But Ernst & Young, business advisers and accountants, said British multinationals "should be prepared to defend themselves against the tax raising plans of the new Clinton administration."

Crucial trade talks between the United States and EC over agricultural subsidies broke down in Chicago on election day, and bureaucrats in

Brussels began drawing up a list of U.S. imports to tax if the Americans carry out threatened duties on European products.

Despite the fact it would be the country most severely hit by sanctions, France gave the most ebullient welcome to Mr. Clinton. President Francois Mitterrand said: "Under your leadership I am convinced that the friendship that has linked our two countries for more than two centuries will grow stronger."

Elsewhere, there were some expressions of concern over Mr. Clinton's plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Europe by about half a million, and over what are perceived as the protectionist tendencies of the Democrats.

Carl Bildt, Sweden's prime minister, said he hoped Mr. Clinton would "resist such protectionist winds."

BERLIN -- No one in Germany was very surprised at Bill Clinton's victory, but officials and political observers don't quite know what to expect from Mr. Clinton.

"We'll have to learn fast," one of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's advisers told German television.

Chancellor Kohl said he looked forward to a good working relationship and hoped to have a meeting with the president-elect soon.

Mr. Kohl praised Bush for his achievements and help in German-American relations, ending the Cold War and the reunification of Germany, saying: "We have great reason to thank him and his administration."

But the Gernmans were not surprised by Mr. Bush's loss. An official from the German Embassy in Washington was assigned to travel with the Clinton campaign. Diplomats and military attaches met with Mr. Clinton's advisers.

Germans believe Mr. Clinton will probably be more protectionist than Mr. Bush. They think he'll be more preoccupied with domestic issues than foreign policy. They expect him to cut U.S. armed forces in Germany to fewer than 100,000 troops. But Klaus Kinkel, the German foreign minister, told German radio he saw no reason to believe the United States would not uphold its international responsibilities.


Carl Schoettler

Russia: Worry at critical time


MOSCOW -- Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin sent Bill Clinton a congratulatory telegram yesterday.

And Edward A. Ivanian, a specialist in the American presidency at the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, conceded that in the long term Mr. Clinton may become a good ally for Russia.

But Russians are worried about what will happen while Mr. Clinton and his advisers are developing a policy and relationships with their Russian counterparts.

"Mr. Clinton won't take office until Jan. 20," Dr. Ivanian said. "His victory means some of the things vital to the survival of democracy in Russia will have to wait.

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