The past week saw a new twist in the national missile defense (NMD) debate, as overseas media focused on Russian President Putin's taking his "crusade against the U.S. NMD project" to Beijing and Pyongyang. In line with his trip last month to Europe--during which he tried to build on skepticism there by offering a counterproposal to the U.S. plan--Mr. Putin's current efforts to shore up resistance to NMD on the East Asian flank were greeted cynically by many. Editorialists from Europe and Asia questioned the viability of a "Moscow-Beijing axis" bound together "only by their respective opposition to NMD," and expressed doubt about the DPRK's apparent promise to abandon its missile program if other states provide it with technology for "peaceful space research." A fewer number of papers in Russia and elsewhere cheered his diplomatic forays, hailing Russian-Chinese "unity on the ABM issue" and judging the Pyongyang visit a "victory" and a "breakthrough." Pointing to a Sino-Russian declaration denouncing NMD, many writers noted that NMD has, in effect, become a lightning rod for Moscow and Beijing's concerns about U.S. military superiority and, more broadly, U.S. hegemony. Meanwhile, President Clinton's trip to the G-8 summit in Okinawa and Defense Secretary Cohen's recent visit to East Asia--with NMD figuring high on the agenda for both men--also kept editorial interest in the issue alive. While critics of the plan continued to far outnumber supporters, there was an emerging chorus of voices--emanating from conservative and independent outlets in Europe/Canada and Asia--either expressing support for the plan, or, at the least, advising against "knee-jerk hostility" to NMD. Themes follow:
PUTIN'S ANTI-NMD DIPLOMACY: Analysts gauged whether Mr. Putin's enlisting Beijing and Pyongyang more directly in his efforts "to torpedo U.S. NMD plans" and further isolate the U.S. on the issue would meet with success. Some asserted that "a loud reaffirmation of Russo-Chinese objections to Washington's controversial plans" would resonate in some capitals, and that his winning DPRK concessions would deprive the U.S of one of "its favorite enemies" as well as "an excuse to pull out of the ABM Treaty." Many more, however, agreed that as much as Moscow and Beijing oppose NMD, their economic interests dictate cooperation, not confrontation, with the U.S. A Munich daily averred, moreover, that Mr. Putin's energy would be better directed at "cooperating with the skeptical Europeans," since "they have good arguments against [NMD] and more influence on the Americans" than North Korea.
DEBATING THE PROS AND CONS OF NMD: Amid ongoing, heavy criticism of NMD from papers in nearly all regions, a spate of editorials in Britain, Germany, Norway, Australia, Japan and Canada steered away from the oft-heard condemnations of the U.S. plan. Insisting that "just saying 'no' is no longer enough," a Frankfurt daily maintained that "the old continent" needs to "take seriously" U.S. concerns about missile proliferation. Commentators in London, Oslo and Sydney, meanwhile, suggested that their governments should be "open to cooperation" with the U.S. on missile defense, and consider carefully the consequences for their "critical" security alliances with the U.S. of not doing so.
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 72 reports from 33 countries July 15-21. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
RUSSIA: "U.S. May Wreck Security System"
Mikhail Timofeyev held in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/21): "The deployment of a full-scale ABM system in the United States may cause arms control to stop altogether, not to mention other irreversible consequences. The United States, were it to pull out of the 1972 treaty, would surely ruin the very fragile security system in Asia and strategic stability the world over. The Russian president's visit to China and his talks with Chinese leaders might give a qualitatively new impetus to military cooperation between the two countries in the decades ahead."
Aleksandr Chudodeyev said in reformist Segodnya (7/20): "The meeting between the Russian and North Korean leaders was largely due to the coming G-8 summit. Okinawa is the last chance for Putin to talk the White House into giving up its NMD plans. He wants to present Kim Jong Il as a sincere peacemaker.... According to Putin, countries fearing North Korean rockets may help solve the problem by offering North Korea their own space vehicles. In other words, the Americans should pay for rearming Kim Jong Il's rocket fleet.... The trouble is that Bill Clinton may not accept that kind of logic."
"A Major Breakthrough"
Reformist, business-oriented Vedomosti (7/20) printed a piece by Aleksei Germanovich: "Putin's visit to the [DPRK] ended with a major breakthrough.... Kim Jong Il, virtually promised to renounce his country's nuclear and missile plans. The leaders of the two countries signed a joint declaration which is 'without precedent,' according to Russian diplomats.... Yesterday's accords, even if they are just scraps of paper, will make Putin more confident as he fights against the United States' NMD."
"Russia's Policy Justified"
Dmitry Gornostayev filed from Pyongyang for centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/20): "ABM appears to be key to this tour. Putin's interlocutors in both China and North Korea are concerned about America's plans just as much as he is. A strictly bilateral dispute between Russia and the United States has become an international issue affecting a great many countries. That makes Russia's activity on the Korean Peninsula and China justified.... We can avoid the worst scenarios by depriving the Americans of their chief argument, a perceived nuclear threat from North Korea."
"U.S. Loses Excuse To Pull Out Of Treaty"
Reformist Izvestiya (7/20) noted editorially: "Kim Jong Il's statement that his country could use foreign missile technology means that the United States may lose another excuse to pull out of the 1972 treaty."
"The Final Russian-Chinese Warning"
Alexander Chudodeyev wrote in reformist Segodnya (7/19): "[According to Russian and Chinese leaders], stronger friendship between the [two] peoples...'contributes to the formation of a multipolar world and a new just and rational international order.' The real measures the 'strategic partners' intend to take to establish such an 'order'...are not specified. And observers believe things won't go beyond declarations. No practical actions will follow because a real confrontation with the West is not at all in the interests of Beijing and Moscow due to economic considerations."
"Russia And China United On ABM Issue"
Dmitry Gornostayev filed from Beijing for centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/19): "For all its predictable difficulties, the Russia-China tandem can be a significant counterweight to the U.S. quest for hegemony. As Putin said, 'Our common position on preserving the balance of forces in the world is one of principle and we intend not only to confirm it, but to strengthen it.'"
"Russia, China To Expand Military Ties"
Sergei Merinov filed from Beijing in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (7/18): "Many politicians compare the United States' NMD plans to a bomb which threatens stability in the world. Both Moscow and Beijing are worried. Experts point out that the two countries are considering wider military and technical ties with each other."
"Feeling Stronger In Okinawa"
Nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (7/18) front-paged this by Vasily Safronchuk: "Coming to terms with China on joint measures to oppose the United States' NMD and securing North Korea's promise not to develop missile and nuclear technology would make Putin feel much stronger in Okinawa. The reverse may be true of Clinton, who may find himself isolated on NMD at the summit."
BRITAIN: "Safe Behind America's Shield"
The conservative Daily Telegraph had this op-ed byliner (7/20) by former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher: "I believe we should all be extremely concerned about unpleasant regimes such as those in North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction affords them new opportunities to threaten us and our allies.... The possibilities for achieving nonproliferation by diplomatic means were always much slimmer than the optimists admitted. Now they are all but a dead letter, and a new approach is needed.... But a nuclear weapons-free world is an infantile fantasy.... The proper response by its allies to the American superpower's dominance is gratitude and relief and a desire to improve our own performance. Instead, the response is all too often resentment and rivalry."
"Putin And Jiang Send Arms Race Warning To U.S."
The conservative Times observed (7/19): "The new warmer relations on the security front are matched in Beijing by a feeling that, in the new Russian leader, they have a man they can do business with on a broader front than his predecessor.... The symbolism mixed with communist comradeship was meant to seal a new Sino-Russian partnership against their perceived opponent, America."
"China And Russia Play Unity Gambit"
The liberal Guardian noted (7/19): "Jiang and Putin put their names to a statement warning the United States that if Washington persists with its plans for a 'mini Star Wars' missile defense, it could set off a new nuclear arms race.... Enough time has elapsed since the enmity of the 1960s and 1970s for these declarations to carry some meaning, though Beijing's foreign policy planners insist that China seeks equally good relations with the United States."
"Putin's G-8 Debut: Showmanship On The Road To Okinawa"
The conservative Times opined (7/18): "Vladimir Putin heads for his first G-8 summit in Okinawa declaring that Russia joins the party 'on an equal footing,' neither expecting nor asking for 'any sort of favor.'... His visits to China and North Korea en route should be understood in this political context; it is important to Mr. Putin to have goods of his own to put in the Okinawa shop window. Few things are better guaranteed to secure attention in the United States to Russia as a global player than some skillful juggling of the 'China card,' and few topics are more calculated to win the ear of Europeans (and thaw the heart of France) than a loud reaffirmation of Russo-Chinese objections to Washington's controversial plans to build a limited NMD system."
"Shooting Down The Anti-Missile Defense Myths"
In the independent Financial Times held (7/18): "Security arrangements are only worth preserving as long as they protect their partners' vital interests. The U.S. enthusiasm for missile defense tells us we have arrived at a moment when one party--America--feels its interests cannot be protected by merely buttressing an edifice designed to defend Western Europe from assault by a communist force that no longer exists. Missile defense may prove a catalyst to a more appropriate security arrangement. It may also be that the fealty of Europeans or Russians to the status quo is more about sustaining self-esteem than about diverting military attack. Hubert Vedrine, the French foreign minister, has accused the United States of acting like a hyperpuissance--something more arrogant than a superpower. This week Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, trumpeted the Russia 'was, is, and will always be, a superpower.' Perpetuating Russia's vision of itself may be important to Russia, but should not be a central goal of U.S. policy. Hence the opportunity of NMD. In pioneering the system, the United States will attract the criticisms it has always done. But when missile defense is made to work, it will have an enduring value both for America and its unhappy allies."
FRANCE: "Americans On The Defensive"
Pierre Beylau in weekly Le Point (7/21): "If North Korea truly renounces its plans, the White House's arguments for the NMD project will become seriously weak."
"The American Shield Up Against The G-8"
Adrien Jaulmes held in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/21): "The American antimissile shield project, which might just topple the G-8 summit program, is a new challenge for Clinton's diplomatic skills.... One of the United States' worries is that, as in the good old days of the Cold War, its allies will fear the return of American isolation.... While abroad, criticisms center around the disruption of the strategical balance, Republicans at home are accusing Clinton of not doing enough. Clinton risks leaving his successor the embarrassing task of putting the NMD project in order."
"Putin Announces A North Korea Without Missiles"
Right-of-center Le Figaro opined (7/20): "Putin has just scored points in his crusade against the American NMD project. The Russian president has just knocked the wind out of U.S. foreign policy by taking away one its 'favorite enemies.' Alluding directly to the United States, Putin twisted the knife by inviting other countries to respond to Pyongyang's proposal [that it would not develop missiles]. Even if it is unlikely that the United States will respond...this action has given Putin's argument against the NMD project more weight in Washington.... Putin has some serious cards to play when he meets Clinton tomorrow in Okinawa. This does not help Clinton out at all, and he finds himself more and more isolated on this controversial issue."
"The Sword And The Shield"
Right-of-center Les Echos said in its editorial (7/20): "Today chaos reigns...and the planet finds itself at odds with the American nation, which wants to bring to fruition its NMD project. Paradoxically, this defensive weapon, which could also be potentially offensive, risks destabilizing the entire global system by rendering nuclear deterrence strategy obsolete.... Don't be surprised that Russia, China and North Korea have joined forces against NMD. Even if the Sino-Russian coalition seems superficial today, the combined criticism of the U.S. geopolitical strategy will provide fodder for discussion at the G-8 summit."
"Putin And Jiang Replay Anti-Imperialism"
Right-of-center Le Figaro judged (7/19): "Yesterday from Beijing, Vladimir Putin promised a Russian response if the United States 'destroys the world's strategic balance' with...its NMD project.... 'The Beijing Statement' signed by Putin and Jiang is obviously aimed at the United States, whose denunciation becomes the visible cement of the Chinese-Russian strategic partnership.... But all cement, no matter how solid it may be, will inevitably crumble some day if it does not have a solid base. And the condemnation of the United States is founded on different bases for China and Russia, even though it may seem consensual."
"Putin Makes Headway In The East"
In the editorial view of right-of-center Les Echos (7/18): "Putin has set his cap for the East and wants Russia to play a major role in the Asia-Pacific region in a multipolar world.... It is a new occasion for Putin to renew his attacks against the U.S. NMD project, especially if he manages to get Kim Jong Il to declare null and void his intentions to develop ballistic missiles. It's a difficult bet to win, but it would put Putin in a position of power by depriving Clinton of one of his favorite arguments for the necessity of the NMD on the eve of the G-8 summit--the danger posed by North Korea."
GERMANY: "Putin's Trip To The Moon"
Tomas Avenarius filed the following editorial for centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/21): "Kim Jong Il, Vladimir Putin announced something sensational: North Korea would give up its missile program, if, in return, Pyongyang would be allowed to use aerospace technology of other nations. The great Putin and the small Kim said that North Korea is interested in missile technology only as a space explorer nation.... Putin knows this. But he wants to torpedo the U.S. NMD plans. Since Washington considers Kim's missiles a threat, Putin is taking away the U.S. arguments: Without Kim's missiles, there will be no missile defense. But this old wives' tale of North Korean space exploration is too cheap. If Putin wants to prevent...NMD, he should cooperate with the skeptical Europeans. They have good arguments against the missile defense system, and more influence on the Americans than astronaut Kim."
"Missile Defense And Arms Control"
Nikolaus Busse noted on the front page of right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (7/20): "Only a few scientists and members of Congress still question the project in principle. The rest of the United States fully agrees on the project.... The Europeans need to take this national mood of determination much more into consideration than in the past. Just saying 'no' is no longer enough. The Americans do not understand why European politicians reject the notion of possible danger from missiles.... But Europe is also not speaking with one voice. Britain, for example, has declared its support for the U.S. project. These European differences could be as damaging to the cohesiveness of NATO as U.S. tendencies pursue its own security interests irrespective of the position of its allies or other parties. One possible way out of the controversy could be a compromise over the size and nature of the system. Allied protests appear to have prompted Washington to think about technical modifications that would be easier for the NATO partners, Russia, and China to accept.... In return for their approval the Europeans could demand new political initiatives from the Americans.... But the United States will listen to all these objections only if it gets the impression that the old continent takes seriously the dangers emanating from the proliferation of missile technology in particular."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/19) noted in a front-page editorial: "European concerns about U.S. plans for NMD may have served as additional encouragement for Putin and Jiang Zemin to call on the entire world to resist the American project.... However, substantial economic interests serve as a natural obstacle to a new hardening of fronts. As much as Russia and China are opposing U.S. missile defense plans, both countries remain highly interested in close cooperation with the United States. While Russia remains attractive to China as a provider of energy and arms, the annual exchange of goods between the two countries...is 15 times smaller than the exchange taking place between China and the United States. And, in the end, that counts more than even the finest strategic partnership."
"An Alliance Of Weaklings"
Centrist Tagesspiegel of Berlin opined (7/19): "In reality, Russia and China are two lame giants who support each other when they want to oppose the only world power.... And when the two countries practice partnership--as they are doing now in opposition to NMD--experience shows that it is usually an ad-hoc alliance that does not last too long.... Nobody has to be afraid of a Chinese-Russian alliance, [but] both the United States and Europe should take seriously their complaints about global U.S. hegemony.... Both countries are economically dependent on Western know-how and capital, including U.S. support. And both countries know this."
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau suggested (7/19): "If the United States pushes ahead with its NMD plans, conflict with Moscow and Beijing is guaranteed.... [They] fear that a functioning defense shield above North America would make them lose their last trump card--nuclear deterrence. Washington has the choice: The more the United States endangers the current balance of power, the closer together Beijing and Moscow will move."
"Playing With The Yellow Card"
Kai Strittmatter opined in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/18): "China and Russia have again joint interests. The greatest one is to find a counterweight to the United States....
"In Beijing and in Moscow as well, the United States is considered arrogant and disliked because of its know-all attitude...and current criticism focuses on the NMD project.... Arms trading is a sound pillar of Sino-Russian friendship. The problem is that it is the only pillar.... And all the nicely-sounding words of cooperation to achieve a multipolar partnership do not have the necessary substructure: Economic relations are weak.... In this situation, the United States can lean back in a relaxed mood and watch Sino-Russian overtures from a distance.... It is the aim of Putin's visit to correct the [global] imbalance.... But...the Chinese leadership is more interested in turning the country into an economically strong nation than asserting geopolitical visions. And in this respect, China needs the United States more than Russia."
ITALY: "A Diplomatic Victory For Putin"
Vladimir Sapozhnikov noted in leading, business Il Sole-24 Ore (7/20): "North Korea is ready to give up its missile program in return for...foreign space technology. Following a two-hour meeting in Pyongyang with leader Kim Jong Il, Vladimir Putin has declared that 'North Korea is ready to utilize missile technology exclusively from third countries, should they be provided with tools useful to space research.'... Putin is then going to attend the G-8 Summit in Okinawa with a...diplomatic victory that might weaken Washington's hand on its space shield."
"In Beijing, Putin Defies U.S."
Alberto Stabile filed from Moscow in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (7/19): "It is not so important that the goal of the U.S. project...is to defend the United States against attacks coming from risky countries. Moscow and Beijing are convinced that the United States is just trying to obtain 'unilateral advantages' to the detriment of world stability.... The political signal (from Beijing) is strong. U.S. obstinacy in carrying out its anti-missile defense project...has finally irritated both Moscow and Beijing.... However, the Beijing summit is based on the paradox...that both China and Russia...for different reasons, are dependent on the United States. Just think about recent negotiations that allowed China inside the WTO, which would have never been possible without Clinton's okay; and Russia's continued request for aid to support its transition."
"Putin And The 'Road Of Silk'"
Franco Venturini argued in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (7/18): "Putin believes that America's hegemonic attitude has re-created the conditions for a long postponed embrace: Russia and China both want a multipolar world.... Among other things, they both criticize the NATO presence in the Balkans and oppose U.S. projects for a 'space shield.'... In his role as a strategic charmer, Vladimir Putin displays optimism, but deep in his heart he realizes that a new Russian-Chinese axis, alone, would risk collapsing. It is, therefore, necessary to expand the game to other Asian protagonists, such as North Korea."
AUSTRIA: "Putin's Temporary Diplomatic Victory"
Foreign affairs editor Livia Klingl filed this piece for mass-circulation Kurier (7/20): "On his trip through Asia, Vladimir Putin is acting like a powerful man, who is soliciting 'strategic partnerships' and standing up against the United States. Mainly because of Washington's Star Wars defense dream.... Russia would have liked to participate in a transatlantic missile defense system. But the Americans prefer to go it alone, which has unhealthy diplomatic side effects.... Putin scored a--temporary--diplomatic victory (while Clinton was struggling...at Camp David). But when it comes to economy, the Sino-Russian-Northern Korean friendship will immediately be shelved. Then money counts and not 'strategic partnership.'"
BELGIUM: "Putin's Crusade"
Edouard Van Velthem opined in left-of-center Le Soir (7/20): "It is a major concession which Mr. Putin obtained from his host.... On the eve of the G-8 summit...Mr. Putin could not have come up with a more thundering introduction at the table of the 'big ones.' This concession, of course, comes with numerous conditions.... But still, at a time when great reconciliation between the two Koreas is shaping up...Mr. Putin's contribution does not go unnoticed. First and foremost, it should be seen in the framework of the crusade which Mr. Putin is leading against the United States' controversial [NMD].... With Putin's hand held out to Pyongyang, Washington is being attacked on solid grounds.... Will it be enough to influence Bill Clinton who has to make a decision this summer? Vladimir Putin will be able to get some idea at the Okinawa summit.... And the Russian president, in the uncomfortable position of the 'eighth man,' did not want to participate without a few trump cards."
CROATIA: "Chess--Or Ping Pong--In Missile Diplomacy"
Tomislav Butorac judged in Zagreb-based Vjesnik (7/19): "The Chinese, and the Russians, still need good relations with the Americans. Hence, in their future competition [with the United States], they will keep finding solutions that will restrain, but not really challenge, the opponent.... The missile-diplomacy games without frontiers is far from being over."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "A Greater Danger To China"
Dmitrij Belosevsky held in economic Hospodarske noviny (7/19): "The U.S. anti-missile shield is a much lesser danger to Russia than to China. If Taiwan managed to hide under the American shield, China would lose the possibility to actively oppose attempts of separation."
GREECE: "Anti-Hegemonic Front"
In top-circulation, pro-government Ta Nea (7/21), foreign affairs scholar Athanasios Platias said: "Putin's recent visit to China was seen as a step toward a Sino-Russian, anti-hegemonic bloc.... There is also talk of a return to an 'arms race' and the Cold War. But the Russian and Chinese views remain far enough apart that even the American NMD will not be enough to create such a bloc. China has nothing to expect from the Russian economy; on the contrary it has every reason to 'flirt' with the West. The interests of the two countries also diverge in central Asia, where they are rivals in the 'great game' for petroleum. A final obstacle is Russia's refusal to transfer defense technology as long as the two countries' border dispute continues."
HUNGARY: "Where Interests Meet"
Beijing correspondent Gyula Ortutay wrote in leading Nepszabadsag (7/20): "The interests of Moscow and Beijing meet at one common point: the questioning of the U.S. superpower role.... Beijing and Moscow fully agree in opposing the U.S. missile shield. It is now up to Washington to decide what the consequences of these converging interests will be."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Reagan's Dream"
Maarten van Rossem commented influential, liberal De Volkskrant (7/18): "Supporters of NMD like to pretend that the United States is totally defenseless against malicious intentions of such rogue states.... Those...who wish to blackmail the United States by threatening to use [NMD] would not do so by firing long range missiles...but instead by smuggling them into the United States or firing them off...cargo ships off the U.S. coast.... The true reason behind developing a missile shield...is not of a strategic nature but rather a political one.
"The Republicans, who created the political momentum for the mini-system, in this way honor their hero Ronald Reagan.... They also hope to blow up the ABM Treaty so as to enable the United States to build a larger strategic defense system. In the eyes of people such as conservative Senator Jesse Helms, American security should not be limited by agreements with other nations. The only true security is unilateral security. The Democrats tolerate these Republican plans because they are scared to death that, in the election campaign, the Republicans will blame them for being soft on defense."
NORWAY: "We Must Be Open To Looking Into Missile Defense Cooperation"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented on Norway's role in a possible future missile defense within NATO (7/19): "When Chief of Defense Sigurd Frisvold...says that if such systems are developed in the future on a joint basis inside NATO, Norway should 'look into participating in such a cooperative effort,' he is saying little more than the obvious. We must be open to 'looking into' a possible missile defense--and the consequences for Norway in NATO should we say no.... That missile defense is a difficult issue is because the United States and Russia have made mutual vulnerability the basis for several disarmament agreements."
POLAND: "Equal Footing According To Putin"
Leopold Unger wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (7/18): "Before hitting the road, Putin has warned that he wants to be...treated on equal footing.... To ensure that Russia will be treated the way Putin wants, he has outlined two new doctrines defining the main themes of Russia's foreign and domestic policy. The first doctrine proclaims that Asia is playing an important role in Russian policy, and that in this context, Moscow is going to push for a 'multipolar' world.... In this strategy China appears to be a logical ally."
SPAIN: "Clinton Is Pulling China And Russia Closer Together"
Independent El Mundo asserted (7/19): "The renewed Star Wars anti-missile shield project brings with it a far from negligible secondary effect: It brings together Jiang 's China and Putin's Russia.... According to the declaration, the initiative 'can end the peace which has followed the Cold War, because the U.S. attempt to achieve invincible military superiority could reignite the arms race.' They are correct."
TURKEY: "We Must Convince U.S. Not To Realize NMD Project"
Mensur Akgun commented in intellectual/liberal Yeni Binyil (7/19): "Although the rapprochement between Russia and China has not yet become an alliance, it is still not very pleasant.... Such a rapprochement will have enough influence to shake the strategic balance in Asia.... In other words, if the NMD project goes forward, it will not only accelerate nuclear armament, but will also heat up regional power struggles... Turkey must do everything it can to convince the United States not to realize the NMD project."
CHINA: "Pentagon's Eagerness To Deploy NMD"
Ma Shikun and Zhang Yong wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 7/21): "Eager to deploy the NMD system, the Pentagon is trying to obtain more war funds to raise its position and to expand the influence of the military in decisionmaking in terms of national security. Some media put it even more straightforwardly: 'NMD makes the U.S. president a mere figurehead'."
"Joint Statement On ABM"
Xinhua wrote in the official, English-language China Daily (7/19): "According to a statement signed by...Jiang Zemin and...Putin, the establishment of the NMD system as planned by the United States makes people 'deeply worried.' China and Russia believe that the nature of NMD 'is to seek unilateral military and security advantages,' which will 'pose grave consequences not only for the national security of Russia, China and other countries, but also for the security and international strategic stability of the United States itself.' China and Russia are 'firmly opposed to such a system.' The damage wrought by NMD will trigger a new arms race and lead to an about-face in the positive trend that appeared in world politics after the end of the Cold War."
"What Effect Is Test Failure Likely To Have?"
Xu Fukang commented in intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 7/19): "The failure of the July 7 missile defense test is not bad news for President Clinton, as it provides sufficient reason for postponing the decision, thus alleviating the pressure on the president. Analysts say that Clinton is most likely to agree to continue developing NMD, but will not make a final decision on full deployment of the system, leaving the hard nut for his successor to crack."
HONG KONG: "Foundation For China-Russian Partnership Is Not Stable"
The independent Hong Kong Economic Journal remarked in its editorial (7/19): "The [NMD] and [TMD] systems, [the latter of] which aims at protecting U.S. troops...and protecting Asian allies like Japan and South Korea, may lead to the elimination of China's strategic nuclear capability.... The fact that China detests this defensive system is completely understandable.... NMD will strengthen the United States' status as the sole superpower.... Russia is therefore eager to draw China over to its side.... Actually though, both Chinese and Russian leaders understand that the so-called strategic cooperative partnership is not the same as the Chinese-Russian military alliance in the 50's. Now, there are only permanent interests among nations. There are no permanent good friends, good neighbors or good partnerships."
MACAU: "China And Russia Contend With U.S. Hegemony"
The Pro-PRC Macau Daily News remarked in its editorial (7/20): "This [NMD] system will...give the United States absolute military superiority. However, it will also upset the [ABM Treaty]...damaging the balance of strategic nuclear weapons. It will also trigger a new round of the arms race. This system will give the United States the back-up to promote its hegemonism, but it will also create a new danger to global security.... Whether or not China and Russia can stop the establishment of NMD and TMD, Sino-Russian cooperation will spur the United States to think twice before acting."
AUSTRALIA: "Why Buy Into This Deadly Fantasy?"
Kenneth Davidson opined in the liberal Age of Melbourne (7/20): "The purpose of the weekend visit to Australia of U.S. Defense Secretary Cohen was to seek Australia's support for development of a $60 billion-plus program of missile defense for the U.S. mainland.... It won't work. And even if by some miracle it did work, it would be irrelevant if a terrorist or rogue state decided to deliver its bombs in a container or a suitcase, or by a low-flying Tomahawk missile fired from a nuclear submarine.... But worst of all, TMD degrades the security environment of us all.... The United States claims that the shield is not directed at China or Russia. But both countries will be forced to respond, setting off another arms race."
"It's Safer Behind The Shield"
An op-ed in the conservative, national Australian (7/19) by Michael O'Connor, Executive Director of the Australian Defense Association, argued: "An air of unreality pervades the knee-jerk hostility to suggestions that Australia might cooperate with the United States in its futuristic [NMD] program.... The argument that it contravenes the [ABM] Treaty is flawed.... If NMD is expanded...to a [TMD] system, there will be substantial benefits for Australia's defense if long-range missile capabilities continue to proliferate.... Any Australian decision to close or limit the use of the [Pine Gap] facilities would legitimately be considered hostile to the United States and therefore an abrogation of an alliance that is critical to our security."
"U.S. Missile Shield A Call To Nuclear Arms"
Former prime minister and political commentator Malcolm Fraser gave this op-ed standpoint in the conservative, national Australian (7/18): "If the United States seeks to use facilities at Pine Gap...Australia should refuse absolutely.... ANZUS would become an impediment to our security rather than a safeguard.... Since the end of the Cold War the United States has become more assertive, more convinced in its own righteousness.... The United States is now putting world stability and world security at risk. It is a policy of selfishness, of shortsightedness and of ignorance."
"Son Of Star Wars--Do We Need It?"
An editorial in the liberal Canberra Times raised the following questions (7/18): "What could Australia expect to gain from allowing Pine Gap to be used in an early-detection system?... What impact, if any, would involvement have on Australia's defense budget, given that, at least in the first phase, the missile shield would seem designed purely to defend the United States.... Perhaps just as important as the physical viability of the shield is the issue of its psychological viability: Would the deterrent value of a vast early-warning be greater than the risk that it might trigger the proliferation of a new generation of warheads? These are questions the United States must ask and answer well before the question of Australian involvement is addressed."
"Flip Side Of Pax Americana"
An editorial in Melbourne's liberal Age held (7/18): "Internationally, this debate is proving disruptive and potentially dangerous. Washington appears to be alone in its enthusiasm for missile defenses. For this reason, Australia should treat with extreme caution Mr. Cohen's suggestion at the weekend that the Australia-U.S. joint facilities at Pine Gap could play a role.... There are powerful reasons for Australia to think twice before joining the Americans in embracing this vision."
JAPAN: "DPRK's Missile Development Must Be Stopped"
Conservative Sankei opined (7/20): "During their meeting in Beijing, Putin and Jiang issued a joint statement opposing U.S. plans to develop a NMD system. But calls for NMD development apparently gained momentum in the United States only after the DPRK test-launched a Taepodong missile over Japan in August 1998. At recent talks with the United States, the DPRK called for a payment of one billion USD in compensation for the suspension of its missile development. Given these circumstances, Putin, who is visiting Pyongyang, and Jiang, who is 'close to' Kim Jong Il, must persuade the North to stop its missile development.... First and foremost, Russia and China must suspend the sale of their modern weapons and missile-related technologies to other countries. They must 'behave themselves' before criticizing the United States' NMD development plan."
"Hardly A Trustworthy Alliance"
Conservative Sankei's Beijing correspondent Takagi observed (7/19): "Visiting President Putin and Jiang 'staged' their burgeoning partnership by denouncing U.S. plans to build anti-missile shields. In reality however, the Russian-Chinese relationship...can hardly be called a strong or trustworthy alliance. The two nuclear powers...are bound together only by their respective opposition to NMD."
NORTH KOREA: "Nothing Can Conceal The U.S.' Sinister Design"
Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency published this piece (7/18): "[Worker's daily] Rodong Sinmun said today in a signed commentary: The United States claims that its 'NMD' is for protecting its 'security' from a 'threat' from the DPRK. This, however, is a sheer lie. The United States is the world's biggest possessor of missiles and nuclear power. The U.S. move to establish 'NMD' is prompted by its aim to have military supremacy over the world. Its main target is big powers around the Korean peninsula...which are challenging its move to build 'unipolar world' and keep Europe under its military control. With nothing can the United States conceal its sinister design and danger of the 'NMD.'"
THE PHILIPPINES: "NMD's Destructive Force"
Former ambassador Armando Manalo wrote in the independent Manila Times (7/19): "The deployment of NMD is expected to revise all the ground rules in nuclear weapons management.... Deployment of NMD is likely to destroy all hopes of [future] agreements on nonproliferation. Its immediate effect is to encourage current nuclear powers to follow suit on a similar claim of security. As for potential nuclear powers, it is certain that NMD gives them the green light to proceed with their own nuclear plan. Worst of all, the U.S. action may start a new era of fear, which will cause the consequent destabilization."
SINGAPORE: "Dragon Hugs Polar Bear"
The pro-government Straits Times asserted (7/19): "This is all about Russia wanting to reclaim a role in North Asia...and China having concluded that the U.S.' post-Cold War mission has been to delay its development to its full potential.... America has all but made a China-Russia axis inevitable. The grouse-list is long: U.S. plans to build anti-missile systems which Moscow and Beijing regard as imperialist over-reach; crusades about human rights...disguised support for secessionist movements...[and] bypassing the UNSC in controversial actions like the bombing of Yugoslavia.... The joint statement on missile defenses signed yesterday, among a clutch of agreements, puts the United States on notice not to proceed with provocative acts. American policy-makers should reflect deeply on what has transpired in Beijing. The rules are changing."
The pro-government Business Times carried a column by editor Mohan Kuppusamy (7/18): "It seems everyone is agreed that a new U.S. missile defense effort will trigger the domino effect. All who feel threatened by Washington will turn to missiles and other arms delivery systems to neutralize U.S. power. In turn, this will trigger yet other nations to build up their arsenals. If the Chinese decide on an arms build-up, India first and, subsequently, Pakistan will go down the same path. It will destabilize Asia with consequences that cannot be foreseen."
SOUTH KOREA: "Looking At Putin's North Korea Visit"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo held (7/21): "In their joint communique, North Korea and Russia declared their shared opposition against the United States' missile defense shield. That is futile.... The recent media report--that the North told Putin it can give up its missile programs in exchange for space technology--offers nothing new either. The North has already done that: asking something--monetary compensation from the United States--in exchange for putting on hold it missile program. Pyongyang, in other words, is repeating itself. In addition, talk about the North's interest in space research and getting rocket boosters simply makes no sense."
Independent Dong-A Ilbo asserted (7/19): "Russia and China, who share strong opposition to the United States' NMD and TMD, have strengthened their strategic partnership in the wake of Putin's Beijing visit. Their shared ground on these important issues served to leave the impression that they have formed something like a joint anti-American front and that they together are challenging America's hegemony in this region. Things are becoming quite complicated in this region."
"Why Is Putin Running Around Eurasia?"
Senior columnist Kim Young-hee wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (7/19): "Why is Putin running around Eurasia? The answer is obvious: He is trying to build an anti-American front in Europe and Asia. With the U.S. NMD aggravating things for Washington, Putin is having a golden opportunity to bring together nations that are critical of the United States."
Tokyo correspondent Park Chung-hoon wrote in conservative Chosun Ilbo (7/15): "It looks as if Russia will launch a major offensive against the United States on NMD, with European leaders most likely getting on the side of the Russian president. Even such traditionally pro-U.S. nations like Canada and England are said to have their reservations about NMD. At this point, Japan remains the only U.S. supporter, a clear indication that the United States is quite isolated on this issue."
VIETNAM: "Chinese-Russian Strategic Partnership"
Thanh Tam wrote in Sai Gon Giai Phong, mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Party (7/19): "Washington is now distressed by the closer relations between Beijing and Moscow. This strategic Russian-Chinese partnership will be a firm barrier to prevent the crazy ambitions of Uncle Sam."
"NMD And The U.S.' Diplomatic Advantage"
Tuong Van wrote in Sai Gon Giai Phong, mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Party (7/18): "Western Europe, Third World states, Russia and China all denounce the U.S. [NMD] plan.... If [it] continues to deploy an NMD plan, Washington will lose its diplomatic advantages with hostile countries such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea and suffer diminished confidence from its allies.... The NMD plan also...will contribute to the formation of a Beijing-Moscow axis.... Mr. Clinton must be present at the G-8 meeting where he will definitely have to face Putin's questions on NMD. Apparently, this NMD plan is distressing for U.S. diplomacy."
INDIA: "Missile Misses, Mission On Course"
The centrist Hindu (7/16) had this piece by Washington correspondent Sridhar Krishnaswami: "The expectation is that Mr. Clinton will move forward on the $60-billion project. Politically this will give some cover to the vice president and save him from the accusation of being associated with an administration 'soft' on defense issues.... Beijing--and Pyongyang--have told Washington that if it proceeds with the NMD, it should not expect any cooperation or restraint on missile and nuclear exports to countries such as Pakistan.... And perhaps to some others in West Asia."
The centrist Times of India's editorial read (7/15): "[Secretary Cohen's visit to China] and the anodyne pronouncements of both sides highlight their unwillingness and inability to come to grips with the real conflict of security interests between the two.... The United States hopes that NMD will enable it to intimidate China with its technological superiority. The consequent degradation of China's deterrent capabilities would then freeze the present status quo, enveloping the Taiwan issue. To achieve that, the United States is prepared to accept risks of some more proliferation by China.... [This situation] may not immediately upset the U.S.-China balance of power but it is likely to increase the risks of proliferation by China. The United States is obsessed with the NMD program to protect itself and that is a clear indication that it is resigned to further proliferation by China."
EGYPT: "U.S. Drives China And Russia Together"
Pro-government Al Ahram held (7/20): "There is a gap in Chinese-American relations because of Washington's insistence on playing the role of the sole superpower.... These developments drove China and Russia to seek mutual cooperation.... If Washington has ignored the individual protests of China and Russia against the anti-missile shield program, it cannot ignore their joint statement confirming their intention to cooperate to respond to American measures. In fact, Beijing and Moscow are seriously seeking to blot the image of a unipolar world...and this summit came as an important step on this long road."
CANADA: "Flying Madly Off In All Directions"
Adjunct lecturer at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Thomas S. Axworthy wrote in the leading Globe and Mail (7/21): "If Washington carries out its program, China's solution would likely be to expand its rocket force. The impact would not stop there. Any expansion of Chinese missile forces would raise fears in India and, if India built up its missile forces to match China's, then Pakistan probably would expand its forces to match India's. Missile defense in Alaska--seemingly so far from any conflict--has the potential to destabilize the existing nuclear balance and promote a new nuclear arms race in Asia. It doesn't have to happen. The United States is no longer a superpower. It is a hyperpower with no real economic, military or technological competitors.... Let us pray that, in the discussions on nuclear strategy at the G8 summit, the United States will demonstrate wisdom as well as power."
The conservative National Post commented (7/15): "The 'technological unfeasibility' of [NMD] is becoming a popular mantra among critics of the program, many of whom are veterans of the anti-Reagan campaign to eradicate 'Star Wars.'... They did not succeed then, and they should not succeed now.... Seizing the moment, U.S. Senate Democrats managed to tack on an amendment to a defense authorization bill requiring the Pentagon henceforth to test the system against all conceivable enemy countermeasures. The amendment had less to do with ensuring NMD was invulnerable than with attempting to impose impossibly high standards on a system in the very early stages of its development. When, inevitably, the system fell short of these premature expectations, critics could claim it was 'scientifically unfeasible.'... There is no doubt that NMD requires rigorous testing. But politicizing these experiments now, just before a presidential election, is gambling with international security."
ARGENTINA: "Could U.S. Itself Become A 'State Of Concern?'"
Nicolas Meyer commented in the liberal, English-language Buenos Aires Herald (7/18): "The United States is giving serious thought to erecting a kind of Maginot Line in the sky--officially, a NMD system.... Pious protestations to the contrary, NMD would appear to be designed to reopen the kind of mega-arms race that the world thought had...ended.... For the United States to get itself some protection--with a technically dubious value to boot, at the cost of foisting resurgent nuclear nightmares on the rest of the world, doesn't track with the United States' self-image as the main force for good in the world.... Breaking ABM now, or even just bending it out of shape, willfully destroys one of the most successful of all disarmament measures.... The dismal failure of the NMD test on July 8 is only a temporary setback for the project.... Any technical difficulty can be dismissed by NMD partisans as temporary. Only farsighted statesmanship can put an end to this dreadful mistake before it's too late."
BRAZIL: "Sino-Russian Rapprochement Hampered"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo commented (7/18): "Putin's visit to China has a clear goal: to strengthen the 'strategic partnership' conceived to confront U.S. hegemony.... The Russian-Chinese initiative is now aimed at protesting against U.S. plans to install new anti-missile defense systems. But the Moscow-Beijing rapprochement...is hampered by the two nations' economic models.... Their economies depend on foreign capital, and a more acute confrontation with the United States would mean the cutting off of vital investment flows."
CHILE: "Putin's Goals"
Conservative, influential, newspaper-of-record El Mercurio (7/20) ran this editorial: "Putin wants to restore Russia's influence...and is therefore seeking alliances to establish a multipolarity in a world ruled by U.S. hegemony.... It is possible that Russia and China will manage to lure India into taking a similar position."
MEXICO: "No Counterbalancing U.S. Hegemony"
Nationalist Milenio (7/19) carried a column by Mireya Olivas: "As had been anticipated, both [Russia and China] rejected [NMD].... They then go on to list a series of threats to stability.... What were they thinking of? They have more than enough to be concerned about.... The United States is fully aware of this list of problems, which is why it is not worried when the Russians and Chinese complain about its nuclear missile defense system.... The United States knows that only if [they] had strong economies and truly democratic governments could they be a real counterbalance to U.S. hegemony." ##