Clinton wins chemical weapons vote
One of the country’s most respected commentators on Russia, the EU and the US, Mary Dejevsky has worked as a foreign correspondent all over the world, including Washington, Paris and Moscow. She is now the chief editorial writer and a columnist at The Independent and regularly appears on radio and television. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham.
Saturday 26 April 1997
The vote, which was seen as a test of the President's authority, was hailed as opening the possibility of further bipartisan co-operation in Congress.
In the week between the announcement of the Senate debate on the chemical weapons convention and the actual debate, Mr Clinton made elaborate efforts to justify US accession to the treaty and meet some objections raised by its opponents. His final gambit was to write to the wavering Senate Republican leader, Trent Lott, promising that if the treaty turned out to be contrary to US security interests, or to foster rather than stem proliferation of chemical weapons, he would withdraw the United States from the treaty.
That promise convinced Mr Lott to drop most of his objections. The vote was 74 to 26, a majority of four more than the two-thirds that was required.
Earlier, Mr Clinton had assembled senior military and political figures to defend the treaty from the security and foreign policy perspectives. On Thursday morning, half way through the debate, the Senate went into a rare closed session to hear information about intelligence considerations.
The ground had additionally been prepared by the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who travelled the US, trying to win over sceptical senators and public opinion.
Republican opponents of the treaty, such as Mr Lott, praised Mr Clinton for agreeing to toughen the resolution that accompanied the text of the treaty. Afterwards, they were able to claim it was these assurances of safeguards for US security that had convinced them. Others, however, noted that the resolution was a secondary document and that if any conflict arose in future between the treaty text and the resolution, the treaty text would be the one considered legally binding.
For both Democrats and Republicans, the Senate vote held the hope that the budget, which is the subject of much behind-the-scenes bargaining, might be agreed without the acrimony and stalemate that have marked the process in the past.
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Putin critic may have been murdered by Islamic extremists, says president-led committee
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...