International Papers

Paula’s Back

Bill Clinton’s payoff has failed to silence Paula Jones. In the first installment of a two-part “world exclusive in-depth interview,” she told the British celebrity magazine OK! this week that “because of my beliefs and stuff” she thought she had been chosen “to bring this man to light.” She explained, “I was the strong one that did not say no.” The unnamed author of the interview, which was spread over 14 pages and accompanied by more than a dozen large photographs of Jones posing variously in black leather, fake leopard skin, and white shirt and jeans, wrote that, although she was “heavily made up,” there wasn’t “even the smallest hint of a smell of perfume about her.”

Jones claimed that “Clinton’s people” were still out to get her and that she will feel even less safe after he leaves office “because then he’s not the President, and he may think ‘well, since I’m not the President now, I can do whatever I want–I can get rid of her or hurt her family.’ ” But she said that although “something like 53 people who could have helped to expose Clinton for what he really is” have died since her case started, she feels she is being watched over by God, “the strongest protector of all.” Of her famous 1991 encounter with Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, in his suite in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, she said it left her feeling “like he raped me, without physically raping me.” On the dismissal of her case by Judge Susan Webber Wright, Jones said, “I was just devastated. I can’t even describe my feelings. It was almost like I’d lost somebody.”

In an article last week for Cambio of Bogotá, Colombia, reprinted in English translation Saturday by the Guardian of London, the writer Gabriel García Márquez praised Clinton for his “intellectual brilliance” and lamented that “this exceptionally human man should have his place in history distorted because he couldn’t find a secluded place in which to make love.” García Márquez wrote, “Sadder still, the President only wanted to do what the common man has done behind his wife’s back since the world began. Puritan stupidity didn’t only refuse him that, it withheld his right to deny it. … Surely it is more dignified to perjure yourself in defence of carnal desire than to condemn love altogether?”

The Independent of London led its front page Monday with a warning by U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin that Europe and Japan must take urgent steps to stimulate domestic demand and bring down trade barriers to prevent another world economic crisis. In an editorial, the paper generally supported Rubin and attacked protectionism. “The American triumphalists of the Chicago School, who attribute any of the world’s economic troubles to a falling short of the free-market ideal, make the mistake of overlooking the cultural and infrastructural differences between different economies,” it said. “But they are more right than the new protectionists.” But an editorial in the Financial Times Monday criticized Rubin for having “little concrete to offer on the great policy issue of today: reform of the international financial system.” Discussing his Saturday address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it said Rubin’s proposals had “little substance” and that that he was effectively “telling emerging economies that it is up to them to avoid becoming ill and, should they succumb, to make themselves better.”

Also on the Davos forum, the Russian daily Sevodnya published an article Monday by Mikhail Berger, under the headline “No Recovery for Russia,” saying that “Russia, unfortunately, lived up once again to its reputation as a country which has failed to build capitalism and does not pay its debts.” Referring to Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov’s speech urging investors to keep faith with Russia and its creditors to be tolerant, Berger wrote that, despite his talks in Davos with Al Gore and the International Monetary Fund’s Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer, “no one has shown any intention thus far to write off Russian debts.” (For more on the Davos gathering, see the SlateDispatch” by Jodie T. Allen.)

In the Israeli paper Yediot Aharanot, Elyakim Haetzni, who speaks for the hard-line right, wrote Monday, “On the eve of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s visit to President Bill Clinton, I recommend that we think again, before it is too late, about the American involvement in the negotiations.” Haetzni said the Wye agreement had been a catastrophe because it had brought Arafat to the goal he had longed for–“instead of negotiations between him and the Jews, there would be negotiations between the Americans and the Jews, with the United States representing the Palestinians.” He went on, “Wye turned Palestine into an American protectorate. An Israeli military strike would run into an American response. If Israel were to refuse Arafat’s demands it would be like refusing the United States.”

Both Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post gave front-page treatment Monday to a row over the nomination of the businessman-philanthropist Ronald Lauder to chair the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in New York. Ha’aretz said pressure was mounting to delay Wednesday’s vote on his appointment following the paper’s disclosure that Lauder had provided financial support for right-wing organizations identified with Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Jordan Times Monday praised the American-born Queen Noor for Jordan’s progress in getting rid of anti-personnel land mines in the country. The achievement of having already destroyed some 60,000 land mines out of an estimated 220,000 planted in various areas of the country has been commended by the U.N. Mine Action Service, established under the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty. The paper said, “It is no secret that the [Jordanian] government was divided on whether or not to go ahead and sign the international treaty. … Thanks to Queen Noor, Jordan has not only signed the Ottawa treaty but is closer than ever to ratifying it.”

In Japan, an editorial in Asahi Shimbun applauded the government for planning a new law to prevent unauthorized access to the Internet. “The proposed legislation would punish those who connect to the Internet by using other people’s codes or by hacking into the system,” it explained. “Official regulation should be kept to a minimum, but it is natural that improper access–which can lead to criminal acts, such as shopping with other users’ accounts or rewriting and destroying their data–should be prohibited by law.”

Back to the subject of celebrity interviews, British magazines have published a huge number with actress Kate Winslet, the star of Titanic, to promote a new British film she has made. On the filming of Titanic, she told Classic FM magazine that “for the first time in my life on a film set I was thinking, ‘I wish I wasn’t here.’ There were even days when I would wake up and think, ‘Please God, let me die.’ ” To Time Out magazine: she said “[I]t was so exciting. For me, every day when I’m working it’s like a party: you get up, go see all these people, and do the thing you love most.” At least she does not repeat herself.