Clinton trip plays well at home: The President's adept Tokyo summit performance helped restore his authority, writes Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Monday 12 July 1993
For months latching on to every failure, the columnists, pundits and others who mould the accepted view of a presidency have praised Mr Clinton's performance at the G7 summit. By common consent, he displayed authority, tact and leadership.
This July week has been a triumph for the White House packaging machine - guided by David Gergen, the former adviser of Republican presidents who was summoned in those dark hours at the end of May.
Before the meeting, the administration propelled expectations so low that mere agreement on a communique would have been counted a success. In the event, the Seven came up with an unexpected agreement to reduce trade barriers and a dollars 3bn ( pounds 2bn) aid package for Russia that was slightly larger than expected.
In both instances the President claimed the credit loudly and used the G7 gathering to send the message that the US's well-being depends on the global economy. In 1992, Mr Clinton saw how a perceived indifference to domestic problems cost George Bush the presidency. He will not make the same mistake: the summit might be in Tokyo, but its real purpose was jobs back home.
Mr Clinton and his planners played the card of youth, underlining the change, fresh ideas and energy which, for all his missteps, he symbolises for much of the world. Thus did commentators here read his meeting with the new generation of Japanese opposition politicians, 10 days before next Sunday's general election.
Finally, there was the summit's postscript, a 'framework' agreement on ending the trade feud between Washington and Tokyo. On close inspection the US has failed on arguably the crucial point, unable to extract from Japan a promise to reduce its trade surplus to a specific percentage of GDP. But earlier talk was that nothing would be achieved. Mr Clinton can say he is 'doing something' to create jobs at home.
The skilful control of the media message extended into South Korea. Admittedly at the banquet offered by President Kim Young Sam, Mr Clinton apparently had his hosts twitching with discomfort, first over an erroneous reference to the President's wife as 'Mrs Kim' (in Korea married women keep their maiden names), and then over a protocol breach over the use of an interpreter. More important though were the television pictures the next day: of Mr Clinton determined at the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas and of his enthusiastic welcome among the US servicemen stationed there, complete with a saxophone workout. After the roughest start of any modern presidency, Mr Clinton seems to have found his sea-legs.
PANMUNJOM, Korea - Mr Clinton ventured yesterday to within feet of North Korea, warning that if the Communists developed and used nuclear weapons 'it would be the end of their country', AP reports.
Widespread pain, page 20
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 4 Yes, the iPhone 6 is a miracle, but it's Apple's tax affairs that deserve a double take
- 5 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...
Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...