The President will attempt to restore U.S. stature by launching negotiations toward a hemisphere-wide free trade agreement during the weekend’s Summit of the Americas. That could be the easy part. Persuading Congress to restore his fast-track authority in time to conclude that agreement two years from now may seem a little like trying to get those leftist students to sing “America the Beautiful.”
Leftist students doing the traditional Yankee-go-home hustle greeted President Clinton as he arrived in Chile, but it was their government that was more concerned about Washington. “Ever since last year’s fast-track vote, the White House has been energetically trying to alter the Latin American perception that the United States has become a weak partner in the region,” says TIME correspondent Douglas Waller. Clinton’s defeat on fast-track left him without the authority to expedite Chile’s admission into NAFTA.