- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2001

Sandy surfaces
One of Bill Clintons "ABCs" — the former national security trio of Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger and William S. Cohen — is setting up a global-strategy firm.
"Its nice not to get woken in the middle of the night. No one ever calls with good news at 3 a.m.," says Mr. Berger, the former national security adviser and the new chairman of Washington-based Stonebridge International LLC.
Mr. Berger has brought together an impressive cast of characters from five previous administrations, Democratic and Republican, including former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Anthony S. Harrington, who will become Stonebridges president.
The firms board of advisers will be led by Clayton Yeutter, U.S. trade representative under President Reagan and later agriculture secretary under President Bush; Roger C. Altman, deputy secretary of Treasury under Mr. Clinton; Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Susan Eisenhower, chairman of the Center for Political and Strategic Studies and president of the Eisenhower Institute.
The firm, says Mr. Berger, will provide business clients "unparalleled experience, current knowledge of foreign governments, and regional and industry expertise," especially in countries like Japan, Korea, Russia and China.
Mr. Berger tells Inside the Beltway that he and Mr. Clinton chatted about China issues before the former presidents journey there last week. Mr. Clinton also sought guidance before his personal trip from Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
As for President Bushs rocky start with the communist superpower, Mr. Berger, a former China trade lawyer who came under attack in the White House over Chinese espionage concerns, says the Bush administration "handled the airplane incident very well — they were firm, but they avoided a real crisis."
"We have a very complex relationship with China, a mix of cooperation and contention," explains Mr. Berger, "and I think we have to both be firm in defending our principles, but at the same time work with China and cooperate with China, because how China develops will be a large part of how the world works in 10 years."

Who shrank Russia?
Atlantic Monthly Contributing Editor Jeffrey Tayler, who has lived half his adult life in Russia, doesnt paint a very flattering picture of the country in the May issue of the magazine.
He says Russias internal problems are so severe that her descent into "social catastrophe and strategic irrelevance" is unstoppable.
Russia is destined to "shrink demographically, weaken economically, and possibly disintegrate territorially," he writes, adding that in due time "Russia will concern the rest of the world no more than any Third World country with abundant resources, an impoverished people, and a corrupt government."

Trampled Democrats
Hanging chads continue dangling in the mind of Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who more than six months after Election Day is calling on all persons with stories pertaining to voting-rights irregularities to call 1-866-512-VOTE.
Last week, the DNCs Voting Rights Institute held its first hearing in Riviera, Fla., with Mr. McAuliffe and DNC National Development Chairman Maynard Jackson addressing not only voting irregularities, but short- and long-term fixes to voter reform.
"Every citizen of this nation has the right to register to vote, enter a polling place without impediment, cast their vote and have that vote counted," says Mr. McAuliffe, "ensuring that the thousands of voices that were silenced during the last election cycle because their votes were not counted will never have their democracy denied again."
Mr. Jackson was more blunt, calling the Florida hearing the beginning of a nationwide grass-roots movement to guarantee every American the right to vote without being "trampled upon."
Late last week, eight major newspapers completed a review of 171,908 disputed Florida ballots from the 2000 presidential election, finding that George W. Bush would have won a hand recount requested, albeit unsuccessfully, by Al Gore.

Were told an umbrella group representing hundreds of homosexual-activist organizations has applied for official U.N. status. No word yet on what the country would be called.

State paranoia

"I cant quite figure out why somebody always turns the mike up. Is that a hint to me? Or just a idiosyncrasy of somebody else who stands up here?"
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, speaking loudly enough into the microphone at the start of last Fridays daily news briefing.

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