"It's going to be a protracted struggle on both sides," predicts TIME correspondent Bill Dowell. Just as the U.S. found bombing Saddam was pointless and unappetizing, he says, "the IMF has no willingness to withhold the money, and Suharto knows it. The fund won't abandon him."
A brief suspension of funds in February got Suharto back to the table. But the president continues to coddle his family and cronies with sweet business deals and top government economic posts, making real reform almost impossible. "Suharto sincerely wants to avoid a disaster," says Dowell. "But he's not willing to damage his family's businesses." The new compromise is signed and sealed, but far from delivered. And the waiting continues. Sound familiar?