Clearly, caution was the watchword of the week. A suspiciously high number of plane crashes
, train smashes
and the odd tourist-bus explosion
seemed to give everyone the collywobbles. There was William Cohen
grounding every military training plane in sight (just in case), Congressional committees trying to keep our boys off the Mir
(in case any more satellites decided to fly into it
) — and Ted Turner pumping Kofi Annan with a billion-dollar handshake
(in case the U.N. should collapse for want of Time-Warner shares). Even the Pentagon got jittery when the Oslo accord
tried to prise a pile of landmines from its stiff little fingers: We're the world's policemen, sulked the top brass, and if we can't play with our exploding toys, we're going home.
But U.S. military high-ups weren't the only ones to lose their stomach for a fight. William Weld got a severe case of inner-Beltway butterflies, causing him to throw in the towel against Jesse Helms. The President himself got an attack of parental nerves as Chelsea left for Stanford; so distraught was her dad that he had to lean on something extremely soft — like the tobacco settlement.
Then of course there was Janet Reno, now officially the most cautious human being on the planet. Perhaps fearful that the sky would fall on her head, Ms. Reno notched up a couple more missed opportunities to appoint an independent counsel in the campaign finance conundrum. What could the Justice chief be waiting for — judgment day?