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April 23, 1996 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-23

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 23, 1996


Navy scandals result in
re-evaluation of academy

Los Angeles Times
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -April is a time
of excitement here. The spring sun has
brightened the gray-brown buildings

on the U.S. Naval.


Academy campus,
and the midship-
men are eagerly
getting ready for
ceremonies next
month. As it has
for 150 years, the
school is prepar-
ing to send an-
other crop of na-

val officers - some of them future
admirals - into the fleet.
But this past weekend, the mood was
somber and unsettled. On orders from
the top brass, the middies are in the
middle of a weeklong "stand-down" -
restricted to the campus and relieved of
all duties, except to ponder how to end a
spate of humiliating scandals that have
tarnished the institution's prestige.
"It's an SOS call of sorts," one Navy
insider explained.
The academy may not be foundering,
but it certainly is in troubled waters.
Over the past 3 1/2 years, it has suffered
a series of embarrassing incidents, rang-
ing from a cheating episode involving
133 midshipmen to a string of sexual
assaults and drug busts, the latter sug-
gestingno small acquaintance with LSD.
In the past three weeks, one midship-
man was arrested for alleged sexual as-
sault on four female students, and a sec-
ond was charged with molesting a tod-
dler; two seniors were accused of break-
ing and entering and another was indicted
(along with four former middies) on
charges of running a car-theft ring.
The incidents have fueled a debate,

not only about the academy and how it
is run, but over whether the troubles
now reflect a wider sickness that has
permeated much of the Navy'stop lead-
ership as well.
"It's very difficult to teach ethics in an
environment when ... you see the top
leaders in your service engage in
doublespeak, when you know that what
they're saying is not the truth," said James
Webb, the former Navy secretary and a
Naval Academy graduate, citing the
Tailhook debacle
as only one ex-
"The problemS
with the academy du"fbuff6
is partly a prob-
lem with the Navy etics in d
writ large," he
said. envronm
Painfully, the
latest barrage of you Se
incidents comes
just as the
academy's own
rescue effort - 8f VI 6
led by Superinten-
dent Charles UO nb
Larson, the four-_
star admiral whoF
was called in af- Former
terthe 1992cheat-
ing scandal to help get the badly bat-
tered institution back on course - is
beginning to take hold.
Under a mandate to restore the
institution's once iron-clad ethical stan-
dards, Larson has appointed a "charac-
ter-development officer" and instituted
a spate of new programs, from manda-
tory ethics classes and group seminars
to anew leadership curriculum designed
to imbue midshipmen with a height-

ened sense of morality and-integrity.
He also has tightened academy disci-
pline, revoking some student privileges
- particularly for younger midship-
men - that critics had regarded as too
permissive. Weekend leave time has
been reduced. Sophomores no longer
may drive cars or wear civilian clothes.
And all midshipmen are required to
return to the academy early on Sunday

evenings so they

b teach
rent when
ethe tops
I your
rigage in

can eat dinner to-
Further, en-
forcement of the
academy's long-
time honor system
has been returned
to the student
honor boards,
whose expulsion
for cheating had
sometimes in re-
cent years been
overruled by the
Even some of
the academy's se-
verest critics
praise Larson's
efforts. Richard
Armitage, a
former assistant


Earth Day around the world
Members of an environmentalist group wear clusters of wasted cans as they attend a rally observing the 26th annual
Earth Day in Seoul, Korea, yesterday.
Sinio-Russian ties blosso0M ina

- James Webb
Navy secretary

secretary ofdefense who headedablue-
ribbon commission that issued a nega-
tive report about the school's previous
administration, says the admiral "has
done a pretty good job."
But the changes appear to be short of
the mark or slow in taking hold. Indeed,
the parade oftransgressions has been so
stunning this spring that Larson and his
top aides have had to spend much of
their time defending the institution.

mniage of convenience



Dissatisfaction with
U.S. brings powers
closer together
Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - Earlier this month, 20
eminent Kremlinologists - steeped in
years of intrigue between China and the
former Soviet Union - assembled se-
cretly here in the Chinese capital to
ponder and discuss the upcoming Rus-
sian presidential election.
According to some of the scholars
who attended the meeting at the Chi-
nese Academy of Social Sciences April
8, about half the group favored the
chances of Communist Party candi-
date Gennady Zyuganov to defeat in-
cumbent free-marketeer Boris Yeltsin
in the Russian vote. The other half
favored Yeltsin, who begins a three-
day, high-profile visit to China tomor-
But while the scholars' political prog-
nostications differed, the consensus on
the importance of Russia's election for

China was far more revealing. No mat-
ter who wins the June 16 presidential
vote, the scholars concluded, China's
basic interests will not be affected
"In principle, whoever wins won't
matter much for Sino-Russian rela-
tions," said Pan Deli, an expert who
participated in the closed-door meeting
at China's leading think tank.
The "What-me-worry?" consensus
reflects the atmosphere ofpolitical prag-
matism that now characterizes Sino-
Russian relations. Not since the Com-
munist solidarity era of the 1950s have
the two giant neighbors been less openly
suspicious of the other.
And even in the halcyon 1950s, when
the two worker states were cooperat-
ing on a broad range of industrial
projects and the Chinese Communists
called their Soviet counterparts "older
brother," the friendship may have been
more cosmetic than it is today. Soviet
leader Josef Stalin made no attempt to
mask his dislike for Mao Tse-tung.
Mao, in turn, despised Nikita

66 99



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Moreover, today China and Russia
are increasingly motivated by another
common interest - their growing dis-
affection with U.S. international lead-
"It's the Americans who are bring-
ing them closer," a European diplo-
mat here said. "The Russians feel
shunted aside by the U.S. The C1g
nese feel persecuted, particularly o'
human rights, and need partners. For
both of them it is useful to denton-
strate to the outside world that they
can get along."
Most diplomats here doubt that the
marriage of convenience will result
in a true love fest, with China and
Russia ganging up against the United
States in the broader geopolitical
arena. Serious problems continue.
particularly in Russia's sparsely pop-
lated Far East, where an estimated
200,000 illegal Chinese immigrants
have spooked the local population
into a panic about being swamped by
a tide of people from neighboring
"It's overstepping to say that the
Chinese are playing the Russian card
against the U.S.," another Western dip-
lomat here said. "In both countri
there is still a healthy degree of m'
But Western military experts will be
watching closely what kind of arms
contracts Yeltsin and Chinese Presi-
dent Jiang Zemin announce after their
fourth summit in four years. To boost
his presidential campaign, Yeltsin needs
to go back home with some fat con-
The Chinese are expected to announce
the purchase of another batch of
vanced SU-27 fighteraircraftworthmot
than $2.5 billion and conclude an agree-
ment that would allow the Chines to
assemble their own aircraft underRs-
sian license. Other rumoredmilitarysales
involve missile frigates and Kilo-lass
attack submarines.
Bilateral trade, which last year
reached $5.5 billion, is more important
to the Russians than the Chinese. China
is Russia's second-largest trading p4
ner, behind Germany. China does more
trade with eight other countries, in-
cluding the tiny city-state of Singapore.
But the numbers could change radi-
cally after next week's visit. Th two
countries are likely to unveil ahugeipe-
line project to transport natural gas from
Siberia to the Yellow Sea. And thekus-
sians lust after a bigger piece of the Three
Gorges DamprojectontheYangtze River
China's biggest undertaking since
construction of the Great Wall.
In historic terms, the high point of
Yeltsin's visit is likely to come next
Thursday in Shanghai when Yeltsin,
Jiang and the leaders of three northern
borderstates-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan - sign a far-reaching
border demarcation treaty that in prin-
ciple solves many of the outstanding
issues along the long northern frontier.
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