Give Peace A Chance

Give Peace A Chance

Give Peace A Chance

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Feb. 21 1999 6:22 AM

Give Peace A Chance

All three newspapers lead with the decision by Clinton and four European nations to extend the peace talks in Kosovo for three more days. The original deadline was noon yesterday. Two days ago, Clinton promised not to extend this deadline and re-iterated his intent to bomb the Serbs (via NATO) if the deadline passed without an agreement. He changed his mind on the advice of Albright and her fellow negotiators, who feel the talks are worth continuing. The Los Angeles Times'news story casts the decision as "an embarrassment" for Clinton. The Washington Postand New York Timesrestrict themselves to observing that this is a policy reversal.

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None of the three papers seems to know just what convinced the negotiators that three more days of negotiation would be valuable. It's particularly puzzling since Albright is quoted as saying that the Serbs have taken "every opportunity for evasion and delay," and nowhere does she explain why things have changed.

The main sticking point in the talks is that the Serbs don't want NATO forces to police the agreement in Kosovo while the United States says this is non-negotiable. The NYT reports that the Serbs have suggested a civilian enforcement force under the aegis of a pan-European organization. The NYT interprets this to mean that Serbs are willing to countenance "armed foreigners on their territory," which might be a first step towards some sort of agreement. But the same story quotes Albright and a British minister as saying that only a NATO force is acceptable. In fact, the British minister is quoted in the WP as saying that "no one is predicting [the problems] will be gone" by the new deadline three days from now, adding that "there is no guarantee of a happy story." A WP editorial on the subject warns against the ultimate folly of appeasing Milosevic.

The NYT gives front page coverage to the kickoff of a summit between prime ministers from India and Pakistan. The summit--only the third time an Indian prime minister has visited Pakistan--is the culmination of several months of chumminess between the two leaders, who conducted what the NYT calls "tit-for-tat tests of nuclear bombs" just 10 months ago. Indian Prime Minister Vaypayee arrived in Pakistan by bus, a journey which inaugurated motorcoach service between the two countries (before yesterday, one had to take a train or plane). Vaypayee was greeted at the border by Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif, and the two men embraced for the cameras.

A WP story describes the heated battle in the Bible Belt over gambling. Another story chronicles the struggles that Washingtonians face when it comes time to sign their little darlings up for summer day camps. A mother is driven to tears at the news that her child had missed the deadline for a spot at a desirable camp in Bethesda. A NYT Week in Review piece documents the supermarket tabloids' attempt to woo the AARP crowd. Sample headline: "Tony Curtis: I'm Just Starting to Live at 73!"

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A NYT Magazine story proclaims the end of England's slide into the dustbin of history. From the dismantled House of Lords to London's integrated suburbs, England is finally paying more attention to the future. Another piece profiles Linux, the operating system which is often said to be the biggest threat to Microsoft's Windows. Written by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish programmer who couldn't afford to buy a commercial operating system, Linux is free. The magazine also introduces a redesigned front section, which grandly aims to chronicle "The Way We Live Now." Included is a new ethics column (written by Slate's Randy Cohen), a feature on draft-dodging in Israel, and a guide to spotting bacteria in bologna sandwiches.