Amid growing criticism, President Clinton sought to depict his foreign policy as a success story Saturday by focusing on progress in South Africa and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“This kind of vigorous American engagement and leadership remains vital, not only in South Africa but around the globe,” Clinton said in his weekly radio address.
Clinton said the Administration is facing other international threats--including North Korea’s nuclear program and state-sponsored terrorism from Iran and other countries--with “steadiness and resolve.”
The President’s broad defense of his foreign policy, a rare subject for his weekly radio address, came amid growing criticism from those who say his Administration has been weak and wavering on international issues, particularly with regard to Bosnia and Haiti.
In his address, Clinton maintained that U.S. efforts in Bosnia have “clearly generated new progress toward peace.”
He made no mention of Haiti, where the United States is seeking tougher economic sanctions after the failure of previous efforts to return ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
Amid reports that the White House is considering military intervention to restore Aristide to power, one Administration official added: “I don’t think anyone is ruling in or out additional steps, including the use of force.”
The unease over the Administration’s actions on Haiti was evident as about 1,000 demonstrators marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest Clinton’s policy and urge stronger steps to return Aristide to power.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and carried placards bearing such statements as “Clinton Keep Your Promises” and “Clinton Is a Liar.”
Putting the spotlight on a more successful foreign policy matter, Clinton praised the courage of the South African people in their “great march to freedom” and the U.S. role “in helping them make the miracle happen.”
He pledged to announce a substantial increase in U.S. aid to South Africa in the coming week “to help it navigate a new course for all of its people.”
Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, appearing on CNN’s “Newsmaker Saturday,” said the aid package will be “substantial” and will focus on such areas as business and infrastructure development, health care and education.
“But I think it’s a mistake to concentrate on aid. Real progress is going to be made through commerce, through trade, through investment,” Brown said.