Economic sanctions such as those imposed on India and Pakistan hamper the Clinton administration's ability to carry out diplomacy, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says.
"It's all sticks and no carrots," Albright said Sunday of a U.S. law that required the imposition of sanctions after India and Pakistan broke international accords on nuclear testing. "We have all the sticks or the sledgehammers, and then other countries can go in and pick up the contracts."Congress in recent years has been aggressive in levying sanctions on nations such as Cuba and Libya. Lawmakers are currently considering sanctions on Russia for selling missile technology to Iran and for nations practicing religious persecution.
Sometime this month, Congress will vote whether to downgrade normal trade relations with China because of that country's human rights and weapons proliferation problems.
"We are responsible for implementing U.S. foreign policy, and we need some flexibility," Albright said on CNN's "Late Edition." "I can't do business, or the president can't do business, with our hands tied behind our backs."
Administration officials say President Clinton would veto the Russia sanctions bill and the religious persecution measure if they reach his desk because they would impede foreign policy goals.
"If we have to sanction every country because its religious laws do not fit America's and we have to sanction every country in the world as a result of it, it sure doesn't leave us much operating room," Albright said.
She said she had spoken with senators last week about "this proliferation of sanctions legislation" and that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has been amenable to forming a working group to look at the issue.
But Lott, speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week," criticized the administration for not being tough enough on the Chinese. "It's almost as if this administration has a conscious design to try to protect them against sanctions for the dangerous things they've been doing," he said.
Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, author of the 1994 measure requiring automatic sanctions on nuclear testing violators, said on CNN that while some sanctions have been successful, "the biggest problem is we can't unilaterally control these things around the world."