- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Having leftovers

Lithuania's deputy foreign minister came to Washington this week to meet with the fresh, new faces of the next presidential administration, but he had to make do with leftovers.

Instead of George W. Bush's Condoleezza Rice or Al Gore's Leon Fuerth, Vygaudas Usackas met, yet again, with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Anthony Blinken of the National Security Council. However, Mr. Usackas already knew that the Clinton administration supports Lithuania's membership in NATO and the European Union.

He had hoped to learn of any expected policy change under a Bush or Gore administration.

"I hope I am rather confident that whoever is president of the United States, he will continue the policy of the Clinton administration and strengthen it," Mr. Usackas told reporters yesterday at the Lithuanian Embassy.

But there is always that nagging doubt, especially when Miss Rice, a likely national security adviser in a Bush administration, talks about reducing U.S. troop strength in Europe.

He had met Miss Rice and Mr. Fuerth, a likely national security adviser in a Gore administration, on a visit here earlier this year and found both to be interested in Baltic issues.

"They were attentive. I had long discussions with them," he said.

Mr. Usackas, in a speech earlier in the day, made his case for the expansion of the EU and NATO to include Lithuania and other European nations once under the domination of the Soviet Union.

"Just over a year ago, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary became members of NATO. This was a major step toward a permanently stable, peaceful and prosperous Euro-Atlantic community," he told an audience at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"The United States and other allies should not stop there. They should go further and lead the process of expansion of the area of stability and security to other Central European states."

"We look to the new American administration as well as our European allies to continue to work with us to fulfill the dream of a Europe whole and free beginning in 2002," he concluded.

Talbott's new job

Strobe Talbott has already made plans for his post-Clinton career. He will become director of a new center for international issues at Yale University.

Yale announced yesterday that Mr. Talbott will take up the position in July at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

Mr. Talbott, a former journalist and deputy secretary of state since 1994, graduated from Yale in 1968.

"In moving from government to Yale, I'm coming home to a community that has always upheld the highest intellectual standards while actively engaging in the affairs of the world," Mr. Talbott said in a statement.

Addressing his critics

Robert Gelbard, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, yesterday denounced his critics and appealed for stability in the tense Southeast Asian country.

Mr. Gelbard, who returned to Indonesia after more than a week in the United States on personal business, said at a seminar on U.S.-Indonesian economic issues that continued turmoil there "would serve no national interest of the United States or other friends of Indonesia."

Agence France-Presse, which obtained a copy of his statement, reported that Mr. Gelbard criticized Indonesian politicians who claimed he had tried to interfere in the country's internal affairs.

He said they are "trying to destabilize" Indonesia for "some undefined goal of their own."

"To the contrary, instability here would be an important potential regional destabilizer. A destabilized Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific region would undermine our own national security," he said.

The United States "firmly supports the same goals as Indonesians themselves do for this vast and diverse country," Mr. Gelbard said.

He called for "democratization, sustainable economic growth and territorial integrity."

"A democratic and prosperous Indonesia … is not only in Indonesia's national interest, it is squarely in the U.S. national interest as well," he added.

Demonstrations against U.S. support for Israel and undisclosed threats closed the U.S. Embassy to public business for two weeks. It reopened Nov. 7.

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