Clinton Adviser Lays Out Policy on Europe
Democratic victory could mean fewer troops in Western Europe, more investment in East
BONN — ARKANSAS Gov. Bill Clinton would go further than President Bush in a United States troop pullout from Europe, according to Governor Clinton's foreign policy adviser, David Aaron.
Mr. Aaron, in Bonn at the invitation of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, said that Clinton favors a troop reduction to less than 100,000 US soldiers, though not drastically lower than this number. He added that Clinton would not want to weaken the US presence so much that it would endanger combat capability.
President Bush backs reduction to 150,000 troops, although the US House of Representatives earlier this month passed a bill with a troop ceiling of 100,000.
At a talk Tuesday at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, which is run by the Free Democrats, Mr. Aaron gave Clinton's position on several foreign policy subjects:
* On Europe: Clinton welcomes the development of Europe's own security identity as well as the drive toward European unity.
Were Clinton president, said Aaron, the US would become more engaged in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, both in terms of aid and in exchanges of people and technical assistance. Aaron said Clinton views an investment in Russia and the other former Soviet republics as an investment in America's own future.
He also said that Clinton does not rule out the possibility of US troops joining a multilateral effort to make peace in Yugoslavia.
* On the Middle East: It is unrealistic to believe that the US can deliver Israel in the Middle East peace talks, said Aaron. He said much depends on the election results in Israel.
Israel's more moderate Labor Party has defeated the ruling Likud with 98 percent of the vote counted, giving rise to greater hopes for progress in the talks.
* On the Rio Earth Summit: Were Clinton at Rio, according to Aaron, he would have signed all the agreements and supported the European push for CO2 emissions restrictions by the year 2000. Caring for the environment creates jobs, in Clinton's opinion, not kills them, as the President maintained at Rio.
From the German side, Aaron was told that the most important European issues ahead which a US president should be concerned with are the failed Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and with Eastern Europe.
Speaking about the US election campaign, Aaron said he expected support for Ross Perot to fade as November nears, and for Clinton to pick up much of this support.
Still, he predicted a very close race and said that whoever wins will have a difficult time because he will suffer from not having a clear mandate from which to act.
If Clinton wins, Aaron said, his first action to build that mandate and broaden his support would be to pass a national health-care plan.
Unlike President Bush, said Aaron, Clinton does not see foreign policy as a separate issue from domestic policy.
He said that the economic and social success of the US has a direct bearing on its ability to be a leader and example in world politics.