Monitor: The Sunday papers consider the consequences of a weak presidency

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The Independent Culture
IN THE absence of American leadership - a vacuum which, it must be hoped, will not last long after the release of President Clinton's video testimony tomorrow - it falls to Britain to remind the Western nations of their strategic responsibilities in the Middle East.

The Sunday Telegraph

TONY BLAIR meets Bill Clinton in Washington tomorrow. To show he is not just a fair-weather friend. But that is the day the tempestuous tapes of the President's evidence to the grand jury is being release. Admirably loyal, Mr Blair. But sleaze sticks. Watch it does not rub off on you.

News of the World

NOBODY CAN honestly predict whether Clinton will survive; what can be forecast is that his fight back will paralyse the US political system. The paralysis could hardly come at a worse time, given the shortening odds on world recession. The world needs the US to lead bail-outs of economies in distress, fund the IMF and insist on co-ordinated economic expansion. Yet if the US is going to sideline itself, this places an especial responsibility upon Europe. The EU will have to act, offering aid to Russia, policing Iraq, intervening in Kosovo and pressing the Japanese to reflate. Sexual embarrassment in Washington has political implications for Brussels. The EU's hour has come; it must not fluff it.

The Observer

AMERICA HAS had to live with lame-duck presidents before, argue the defenders of Mr Clinton. True, but then America is not longer a peripheral nation. In the 20th century the United States became the arsenal of democracy, so the consequences of presidential weakness have been dire. Now the world trembles on the brink of another recession. And who is president of the United States? Why, a laughing stock.

The Sunday Times

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