- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2000

Full confidence

The United States is defending two American diplomats declared "persona non grata" in Congo.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker dismissed charges that they acted inappropriately, calling the accusations "utterly false and outrageous."

Abdoulaye Yerodia, foreign minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, notified U.S. Ambassador William Swing last week that the two diplomats were no longer welcome in Congo.

The French news agency Agence France-Presse quoted airport sources saying public affairs officer Denis Burgess and political counselor Roger Moran had left Kinshasa Saturday on a scheduled flight.

The two men were officially accused of "behavior incompatible with their status as diplomats," but news reports charged they had plotted to overthrow the government and kill President Laurent Kabila.

The pro-government newspaper L'Avenir said Mr. Burgess was a CIA contact hiding under the cover of diplomatic status who had called on Congolese citizens attending a private dinner "to end the misery of the Congolese people by any means, even through a bloody revolution."

Mr. Reeker rejected the accusations and said he had "full confidence" in the two diplomats.

Dealing with dictators

Send Saddam Hussein to the south of France or Slobodan Milosevic to Majorca.

How do you get dictators to go quietly into the night?

John R. Bolton has an idea. The assistant secretary of state for international affairs under President Bush is calling for a return to what he has dubbed the "Laxalt Doctrine."

It is named after Paul Laxalt, the former Republican senator from Nevada who persuaded Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos to step down, a move that many believe avoided a civil war.

Mr. Laxalt passed on a proposal from President Reagan to give up power and come to the United States.

"Laxalt, in close consultation with Reagan, engineered the abdication of … Marcos in 1986, averting a possibly bloody civil war and facilitating the return of the Philippines to democracy," Mr. Bolton wrote in the current edition of the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review magazine.

Mr. Bolton recognized that his Machiavellian approach is out of style with today's human rights advocates, who favor international tribunals. He also said it will not work in all circumstances.

"While the Laxalt Doctrine is no more a panacea than 'human rights' groups' calls for prosecution … it is superior for the United States both practically and morally, and it offers the more immediate prospect of relief for the citizens of disagreeable regimes suffering under possibly intolerable conditions," he wrote.

Mr. Bolton argued that the Laxalt Doctrine allowed the United States to deal with dictators on a case-by-case basis.

During the Cold War, he said, "we were typically indifferent as to whether the leadership of such undesirable regimes ended its days in villas on the Riviera or before motley firing squads of their fellow citizens," Mr. Bolton wrote.

"American foreign policy has drifted in recent years," he wrote.

Now, he complained, human rights advocates want dictators "relentlessly prosecuted to the fullest extent possible for 'crimes against humanity,' and there is to be 'no impunity': no exemptions, no plea bargains, no pardons and no amnesties."

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Newstead Zimba, Zambia's minister of information and broadcasting services, who leads an electoral commission delegation.

• Aleksandr Nikitin, Russian environmental activist and former member of the Russian navy who was imprisoned for exposing unsafe disposal of nuclear waste. He addresses the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Tuesday

• Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta, who meets this week with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club on Friday.

Thursday

• Vicente Fox, president-elect of Mexico, who meets Vice President Al Gore and holds a 3:30 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

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