- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2002

'Third Way' dead end

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is constantly reinventing government because his vaunted "Third Way" political policies are failing, said Iain Duncan Smith, the feisty leader of Britain's embattled Conservative Party, during a Washington visit yesterday.

From crime and health care to education and basic public services, Mr. Blair's efforts to steer a "third way" between conservatism and traditional leftist policies "is an attractive exercise in opposition but has no substance as an exercise in government," Mr. Duncan Smith told a group of reporters, including David R. Sands of The Washington Times, at a breakfast briefing.

"They constantly have to reinvent themselves, because they have a record now that shows they didn't exactly deliver" on promises to make government work better, said the Tory leader. Mr. Duncan Smith is in town for a gathering of international center-right parties hosted by the International Democratic Union.

He dined with President Bush last night and said yesterday that the Conservatives openly hope to learn from the Republican president's 2000 campaign, which triumphed over an incumbent party running in a period of peace and prosperity.

In a bit of political parallelism, Mr. Duncan Smith met with Mr. Bush just a day after Mr. Blair huddled with former President Bill Clinton in a closed-door strategy session with other center-left European leaders at a secluded estate in the English countryside. The Blair-Clinton skull session was designed to counter the recent political successes of conservative parties on both sides of the Atlantic.

On foreign policy, Mr. Duncan Smith said he strongly backs Mr. Blair in his solid support for the U.S.-led war on global terrorism. But the Conservative leader said the Labor government is vulnerable on two other issues: the adoption of the euro which the Tories oppose and the creation of a European Union security force that Mr. Duncan Smith said would weaken NATO and U.S.-European ties.

Ukraine and NATO

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine believes the new Russian-NATO arrangement removes an obstacle to Ukraine's desire to develop closer ties with the Western alliance.

Ambassador Carlos Pascual said the Russian-NATO pact "makes irrelevant the argument that Ukraine's integration into the West can complicate its relations" with Moscow, Ukraine's Interfax news service reported.

Mr. Pascual also said Ukraine needs to take "concrete steps" to demonstrate it deserves to be considered for NATO membership.

Speaking at a recent press conference, the ambassador said Ukraine must undertake military, political and economic reforms to qualify for the alliance.

Latvia rocks

Latvia's former ambassador to the United States is really rockin' these days back in Riga, where he brings an American's ear to rock 'n' roll.

Ojars Kalnins, who was raised in Chicago, is director of the Latvian Institute, which promotes Latvian culture. But what he really loves is writing songs for Latvian rock bands.

"I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of getting involved in the music world here," Mr. Kalnins wrote Embassy Row in an e-mail. "I'm working with local musicians who perform in English, polishing lyrics and contributing a few of my own."

Later this month the band Sky Bus will release an album on which Mr. Kalnins wrote the lyrics for 12 songs. A composer named Imants Kalnins, not related to the former ambassador, wrote the music.

"I still believe that Latvia can really make an impact on the world scene through music, so I am working with groups, trying to help them develop some exportable material. We'll see how that goes," he said.

"But, in any case, it's a lot more fun than politics and diplomacy."

Korean keynoter

South Korean Ambassador Yang Sung Chul will deliver the keynote address tomorrow night at a major conference on relations between North and South Korea.

The ambassador will also chair a panel discussion Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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