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Create Clinton's legacy in 3 easy steps

To the president from James Carville, your greatest loyalist, Ragin'-Cajun author of "Stickin' ":

Who'd a thunk we could top the pope's tour of Israel and the Russian election with your summit in Geneva with Syria's Hafez Assad? He didn't budge, but everyone knows he's a tough nut to crack, and this way you get credit for any future deal.Now here's my three-phase plan to elect Hillary and Al and get you a legacy with legs. As one who helped elect both you and Ehud Barak, I speak from global experience.

Phase I: Late this spring, we close the deal with Syria. That means getting Israel off every blinkin' inch of them Golan hills. In return, Syria hosts an armored brigade of our boys plus the Frenchies on the front lines forever. Israel gets real-time access to our spy satellites and a real warm handshake from ol' Hafez.

I already told Ehud how to sell this to the Israelis in a referendum in the summer. It's gonna be a financial bonanza: a couple of billion bucks from this year's U.S. budget supplemental for starters, and that's double the dough we paid them to go along with Arafat at Wye. His campaign clincher is your promise of $15 billion more from Al after he's elected.

What's the $17 billion for? Deep defense against the Syrians we say are not threatening Israel from up on the Golan, of course. Republican isolationists will say that's a big bundle for moving one division of troops downtown, but we can denounce those skinflints for being pro-Mideast-war.

You may have a problem shaking the first $2 billion out of Congress this summer because Ehud won't scrap his deal to sell China Israel's new AWACs, which are better than ours. Brother Jiang is offering $1 billion for four of those babies, but it kinda rubs Americans the wrong way for Israel to sell China the means to knock out the U.S. Navy in the Taiwan Strait. Tell our defense contractors that Israel will spend a lot of the $17 billion peace payoff on U.S. equipment; the K Street lobbyists will know what arms to twist in Congress.

Phase II starts a couple of weeks after Labor Day. With the U.S. campaign heating up, we bring off the Palestinian deal on the White House lawn. Last year, Ehud set the deadline for final settlement smack in our election time, which was all my idea.

Phase III comes in October, surprise-time. First event: your sudden trip to Jerusalem carrying a golden shovel to turn the earth for the construction of the U.S. Embassy there. You've had the authority from Congress to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital for years, but you didn't want to upset Yasser.

The second event will take some help from Sandy and Madeleine, but it's doable. October is the time that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2000 is announced. If we've bought off the Golan settlers enough to win the referendum, and then sweetened the Palestinian pot enough for one of those comprehensive whoopdedos, how can those libs in Norway deny their prize to you?

Not only could you use the million bucks to pay those legal bills, but the prestige would also back off Starr's replacement, Robert Ray.

That's my plan. Can't miss electing Hillary and Al, ensuring your legacy and saving you from the clink. By the way -- Assad's son, Bashar, wants to be the next dictator. If you need a sweetener to get Syria aboard, you can promise ol' Hafez I'll handle his son's campaign.

New York Times News Service