How do non-Americans view this nation's new president...

Salmagundi

May 25, 1993

How do non-Americans view this nation's new president after the first 100-plus days in office?

Here's one point of view from England as expressed in The Guardian of London:

"Politics is a cruel, groveling and interconnected profession. And politics has rapidly rubbed the sheen from the Clinton presidency. He is poised to resume nuclear testing: though he swore, running for office, that he would not. He was poised to take the Bosnian initiative: but now he has crept to the back of the stage -- and the word is that the Europeans once again have the 'lead role.'

"Neither event, considered individually, makes any sense . . .

"Mr. Clinton has made a hesitant domestic start. His whole economic package has begun to unravel on Capitol Hill. First, he lost the job creation bit; then he lost the industry subsidy argument; now too many conservative Democrats are beginning to jump ship on his tax rises. This is all pretty ominous. The president hasn't even got to the really difficult part -- health care reform -- yet. But he is already developing a twinge of the very disease he vowed to cure: gridlock . . .

"His difficulty is that world leadership isn't an incidental role, but an umbilical part of the job. He cannot cherry-pick his challenges. He cannot, so crudely, signal weakness. He looks somewhat diminished for his evasions; and that diminution will dog him at home just as much as abroad."

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