Interregnums

If during the month of August you found yourself yawning over the evening news program or complaining that ''there isn't any news'' when glancing at your daily newspaper - you had reasons.

During August we had the usual slacking off in news events during the hot season. There was also the further reason that the three main generators of action in today's world were all in the grip of interregnums.

An interregnum, a word left over from the Middle Ages, means the space between the weakening or death of the old king and the time when the new king is seen to have taken over and begun to call the signals and make policy.

The three main generators of action, hence news, in today's world are Washington, Moscow, and Tel Aviv. All three of them have been in that condition of paralysis that occurs when the future locus of power is uncertain.

In Washington it is the normal condition at midsummer of a presidential election year. The leading political figures were concentrating on the election campaign. The people at the head of government shunned decisions that might be controversial and thus might become an issue during the campaign.

The Reagan administration got ready for the election by putting its main areas of action on the back burner. The Marines were taken out of Lebanon. When the special ambassador for the Middle East resigned he was not replaced. Washington became an observer of the maneuverings in Lebanon over forming a new government.

The only thing Washington did during August touching on the Middle East was to join others in sending minesweepers into the Red Sea.

Then there was a slackening of news about Central America. The main news was of a negotiation between the United States and a Nicaraguan delegation aimed at a possible reconciliation between the two countries. They were said to be going ahead ''constructively.''

If the contras, who are subsidized by the American CIA, were still in action inside Nicaragua, they were doing it clandestinely. At least there was no news of major forays or heavy fighting.

Moscow continued to grind out routine propaganda about arms negotiations and the shooting down of the Korean airliner a year ago. It blamed Washington for the absence of arms talks on Washington and asserted that the airliner had been on a spy mission. But that is not news.

Moscow is going through a preliminary struggle over the succession. Konstantin Chernenko is still supposedly running the show in Moscow, but he was last on stage on July 13, when he received UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. It was reported that he left Moscow on July 15 for a holiday in the Crimea. There has since been an unconfirmed report that he returned to Moscow in late August in a wheelchair.

Soviet experts point out that Mr. Chernenko is about the last of the Old Guard available for the top slot. Someday the Kremlin is going to have to pick a new leader from the younger generation. The Soviets ducked that decision in both the Yuri Andropov and Chernenko appointments. It is difficult to see how they can avoid it the next time. They are probably wrestling with that problem in the back rooms now.

Israel makes news when it has a strong government. It was the world's most active newsmaker while Menachem Begin was prime minister. But Mr. Begin went into retirement. A new election was held. It resulted in almost a dead heat. August ended with nothing but a caretaker government while the rival party leaders, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir, maneuvered for enough votes in the Knesset to form a government - separately or jointly.

The dearth of news when Washington, Moscow, and Tel Aviv are preoccupied with their internal political problems tells us the main characteristic of the world in 1984.

It would be a relatively quiet and stable place if the US and USSR could come to terms with each other and if Israel could make peace with its Arab neighbors.

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