|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Last weekend's U.S.-Russia summit was closely monitored by overseas media, despite the fact that in the view of many it lacked the import of the Cold War meetings and the "warmth" of those held during the Yeltsin-Clinton years. "Never have visits of U.S. presidents to Moscow been so dull and routine," observed Moscow's reformist Izvestiya, which, nevertheless, shared a general sense of relief--found in much of the Russian and European press--that U.S.-Russian relations in the post-Yeltsin years would be "more businesslike" and less based on "interpersonal" relations. Several cited as evidence of a new, more "pragmatic" relationship, Presidents Clinton and Putin's "agreeing to disagree" on what was seen as the "trickiest" and most contentious issue on the table: U.S. plans for a national missile defense (NMD). Some analysts averred that failure to find common ground on ABM had rendered the summit "useless" and "little more than an exchange of pleasantries." Many more argued, however, that the success of the summit should be measured not in terms of groundbreaking arms control accords--which had, in any event, not been expected--but by the fact that the two leaders had stressed their "willingness to cooperate" and avoid the risk of "confrontation" over NMD. London's conservative Times, e.g., concluded that "the good news out of Moscow is that both presidents understand this danger and appear determined to avoid it." Moscow's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta seconded this view, arguing that while the "chief problem, ABM, remains unresolved...the presidents have shown that they can do without confrontation and want to promote good relations." Others pointed to "important," albeit "secondary," accords on plutonium disposition and a missile detection center as further proof of the summit's "positive" outcome. Additional highlights follow:
NEW ROUND OF CRITICISM ON NMD: The summit gave NMD opponents--hailing from media outlets in Europe, East and South Asia and Canada--an opportunity to lambaste once again U.S. NMD plans, and to worry anew about the "threat" to global stability should the U.S. proceed on missile defense "without first persuading Russia" to modify the ABM Treaty. A Belgian writer reiterated the concern voiced by many that "the American desire for invulnerability cannot but increase the world's insecurity and trigger a new arms spiral."
PUTIN'S 'CLEVER COUNTERMOVE': The Russian leader's "counter-proposal" on joint missile defense received wide media play. Some Moscow papers dismissed it as "politics pure and simple," which the Europeans "can't be expected to consider seriously." In other European capitals, while the proposal was viewed skeptically by some as an obvious effort to drive a wedge in transatlantic ties, many also expressed some sympathy for Russia's "well founded" opposition to U.S. NMD plans. Several noted too that the U.S. is now in the "unfortunate" position of being forced to respond to Putin's "sleek bit of footwork." According to a Frankfurt paper, "It is not likely that the U.S. Congress will show much understanding for Putin's initiative. The European partners of the U.S., however, will have a different opinion. After all, they are mostly opposed to NMD anyway." Canada's leading Globe and Mail, for its part, urged the U.S. "to keep the door open to the possibility of different, multilateral approaches" to missile defense.
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 70 reports from 28 countries, June 3-8. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
RUSSIA: "What Does The U.S. Want?"
Under this headline, nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (6/8) published a commentary by L.Nikolayev: "A lot of what the U.S. president said was correct and useful. Hardly anyone in the room objected when he wished that both countries should keep building relations of mutual respect and cooperation. At the same time, the Clinton speech contained absolutely unacceptable statements on Kosovo, Chechnya, NATO's role, ABM.... What remains unclear, though, is fundamental to our relations: Does the United States want Russia to be strong? 'Strong' means independent, implying Russia pursuing a policy in keeping with its interests and traditions, one that will not only not coincide with America's but will conflict with it."
"Strategic Partnership Unlikely"
Yuri Sigov filed from Washington for reformist Noviye Izvestiya (6/8): "Back home, Clinton was neither scolded nor praised for his visit to Moscow and talks with the Russian leadership. The reaction by the media, politicians, and even his fellow Democrats was restrained and predictable--America will cooperate with Russia, based on its interests and desire, but being [Russia's] 'strategic partner'--as in the times of the former Russian president--is unlikely."
"Putin As Traveling Salesman"
Oleg Odnokolenko commented in reformist Segodnya (6/7): "Vladimir Putin, visiting in Rome, pushed the idea of a joint ABM defense system with Europe after suggesting it to the United States when he met with Clinton.... It looks like a traveling salesman trying to palm off old merchandise. Given Russia's economic condition, the Putin initiative, clearly, is politics pure and simple. You can't expect Europe to consider it seriously."
Aleksei Portansky remarked on page one of reformist Vremya MN (6/7): "Though the joint ABM idea has no chance, it seems perfectly justified as a political move. Initiatives like that have a 'long-playing' effect, keeping (us) from getting into a new confrontation with the West."
"Neither Side Could Afford To Fail"
Stanislav Menshikov in Amsterdam said in neo-communist Slovo (6/7): "Putin needed that summit as much as Clinton did, hoping that along with other meetings already held or planned, it will help create his image as a politician of world caliber. Neither he nor his American counterpart could afford to have it fail. Hence the triumphant reports. In real terms, the results are meager. To sum up, we have just had another show to prove that our relations (with the United States) are improving."
Gayaz Alimov commented in reformist Izvestiya (6/6): "Never have visits of U.S. presidents to Moscow been so dull and routine.... Clinton came as just another visitor and left quietly, without a triumphant halo about him.
"Does that mean that a new chill is setting in between the two countries? Probably not. It is just that we are cutting down on excessive emotion in our relations. The United States and Russia may now want to be more businesslike and pragmatic as they deal with each other."
"Clinton's Gone; Problems Still There"
Sergei Guly said on page one of reformist Noviye Izvestiya (6/6): "The Russian-American summit, feared yet eagerly awaited, has ended without breakthroughs and sensations. Clinton has gone, the problems remain. That both sides have easily and seemingly painlessly given up that which has been part and parcel of their diplomatic dialogue for the past decade--the game of 'strategic partnership'--is a real surprise. It has become clear at last that there is a growing lack of understanding between the two countries, a fact that was muffled for a long time due to the first Russian president having the habit of substituting interpersonal relations for top-level bilateral contacts.... Russia is parting with America, without a fight or tears."
"Besides Pie, Nothing Substantive"
Oleg Odnokolenko remarked in reformist Segodnya (6/6): "Besides the nut pie Clinton was treated to at the Yeltsins', he got nothing substantive in Moscow.... There is a statement on strategic stability reaffirming that the ABM treaty remains the cornerstone.... The next U.S. president may well decide to throw the 'cornerstone' away."
Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/6) front-paged a comment by Dmitry Gornostayev: "As expected, the summit produced no epoch-making decisions. The chief problem, ABM, remains unresolved. But the presidents have shown that they can do without confrontation and want to promote normal relations. The summit was not bad at all, but ABM can overshadow anything good. That has not happened yet, but it may happen very soon, a sad situation the latest summit did little to change.... The joint statement on strategic stability is an instructive instance of non-binding compromise, setting forth important principles--some of them conflicting--letting both sides consider it their little victory, and attesting to great trust and splendid relations. This statement basically confirms the provisions of the 1972 treaty."
"As Successful As It Could Be"
Yelena Ovcharenko held in reformist, youth-oriented Komsomolskaya Pravda (6/6): "By and large, the summit was as successful as it could be, with the participants in different phases of there political careers. Diplomats will have to carry on, seeking mutually acceptable solutions on ABM.... The good thing about the coming paralysis of power in the United States is that it gives a break to the Kremlin as it plans to rev up its ties with Western Europe, which is not happy about the NMD idea, either."
"Outcome Has Nothing To Do With Goals"
Leonid Gankin said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (6/6): "The Clinton visit...admittedly, was unproductive. However, both presidents may be pleased with the results of the summit. It is just that those results have nothing to do with the goals they declared."
Reformist Izvestiya (6/5) front-paged this comment by Gayaz Alimov: "This is a farewell visit. It is good for Russia's prestige.
"But to the United States, regrettably, we are no longer the chief partner. For all his love for and sympathy with Russia, Clinton can't do anything extraordinary for it during this visit. He is an outgoing president, a lame duck.... After him, Russia may have new problems. Should Bush take over, he would pursue a tough policy, the kind of which we faced in the 1980s."
"Clinton Finds Himself In A Different Russia"
Natalia Kalashnikova and Valery Sychev remarked on page one of reformist Segodnya (6/5): "Coming over for his last visit, Clinton did not find the Russia he had once discovered for himself and the West. Instead of seeing his predictably unpredictable 'friend Boris,' he met with 'mysterious Putin,' who continues the war in Chechnya, maintains nuclear ties with Iran, winks at 'raids' against the media, speaks about joining NATO, and suggests building a joint nuclear shield against Russia's strategic partners, of all countries.... [Clinton's] visiting radio station Echo of Moscow, which the Kremlin lists as part of the disloyal Media Most, would have been unthinkable during Clinton's previous trips. It may be a sign of support for freedom of the press in Russia, as well as a way to communicate with the Russian public."
"A New Era"
Yevgeny Antonov judged on page one of reformist Vremya Novostei (6/5): "The Clinton visit really marks a new era, though it may not be quite what was expected by both sides.... That this summit is not big on results is only natural. 'Strategic partnership'...is biting the dust."
Mikhail Leontyev contended in reformist, business-oriented Vedomosti (6/5): "The formal part aside, the Moscow summit, so it appears, is Clinton's visit to Echo of Moscow. It may really be so, with Clinton on the way out. Funny, Russia does not seem to care. The Washington Post, learning about the contents of Putin's letter to the American president shortly before the visit, was surprised to find that the Russians showed little interest in disarmament and deterrence. Concentrating on those issues today is a comradely gesture by the Kremlin, which considers U.S. Democrats the best partners. Russia today can't share America's 'global responsibility,' not even the way it did in Soviet times. Its prime concern now is the economy, access to markets, restructured debts, investments, etc. Discussing those things with Clinton now makes no sense. In fact, we could have done without this summit."
"Putin Offers Alternative To U.S. Plan"
Vladimir Yermolin of reformist Izvestiya (6/3) commented on Vladimir Putin's suggestion that Russia and the United States join hands to develop an ABM defense system: "A joint ABM is an alternative to the American plan, which, most Western leaders fear, will draw NATO's Europe into an arms race along with the United States and Russia. It would spare politicians in the Old and New Worlds a lot of headache in the next few decades."
"Just An Effective Political Move"
Oleg Odnokolenko commented on Putin's joint missile defense offer on page one of reformist Segodnya (6/3): "The initiative is just an effective political gesture."
"No Illusions Anymore"
Vladimir Lapsky held in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (6/3): "On the eve of the 21st century, America and Russia, now free of illusions, can take a sober view of their relationship....
"We, on our part, realize that Russian-American relations should rest on certain principles rather than on personal relations between our leaders. Of course, knowing each other personally and liking each other is important, but this is not a determining factor.... The Moscow summit will give a strong positive impetus to Russian-American relations and enhance international stability in general."
BRITAIN: "Russians Turn To Europe To Thwart U.S. Missile Plan"
The liberal Guardian observed (6/8): "Vladimir Putin is poised to broaden his campaign to isolate the United States over its divisive missile shield scheme with a flurry of moves in the next week aimed at enlisting European public opinion in the battle against America's NMD project.... After clashing with President Clinton over the scheme at the Moscow summit, Mr. Putin promptly went to Rome where he called for joint expansion of missile defense to cover all of Europe and Russia, as well as America. And on his first official trip to Berlin next week, he is expected to step up the propaganda war against NMD."
"As Expected, No Real Negotiations"
The centrist Independent observed (6/6): "As expected, President Clinton's three-day summit with Mr. Putin in Moscow produced no real negotiations on the ABM Treaty. Russian leaders know there is no point in opening talks with a lame-duck U.S. president and that meaningful talks will begin with the new U.S. administration.... The only concrete results of the summit are two accords under which each side will destroy 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium over 20 years and also establish an early warning station in Moscow."
"Papering Over The Cracks In Moscow"
The independent Financial Times had this lead editorial (6/5): "No one had come to expect that the Moscow summit would produce Russian acceptance of the controversial U.S. plan for NMD. And it did not. But amid good atmospherics, not even spoiled by their discussion of Chechnya, the U.S. and Russian leaders appeared to narrow their differences, at least over the existence of a missile threat from several states around the world, if not over America's proposed shield against it. To paper over their NMD divide, the two presidents produced a joint statement of principles. Mr. Putin seemed ready to concede the missile threat by rogue states, but cautioned against the United States coming up with 'a cure which is worse than the disease.' That is precisely the warning raised, not just by Russia, but also China and even the United States' European allies. Mr. Clinton must take note. Yet he may also take heart from Mr. Putin's comment that there could be 'ways' to solve even the NMD issue."
"Candor In Moscow"
The conservative Times held in its lead editorial (6/5): "The Russo-American summit in Moscow...has been the trickiest in years.... The bone of contention is America's controversial plan to build a limited nuclear defense shield. The fact remains that the United States would be breaching the letter, even if not the spirit, of the 1972 ABM Treaty if it were to go ahead without first persuading Russia to modify the treaty's provisions.... If this issue is unskillfully handled--and, on the American campaign trail, there is Republican talk of unilaterally abandoning the treaty--it has greater potential to set Washington and Moscow at loggerheads than any of the past decade's disputes over the Balkans, Chechnya or even NATO enlargement. The good news out of Moscow is that both presidents understand this danger and appear determined to avoid it. They put huge effort into this summit, talking long and hard. They signed two arms control agreements that could fairly be described as important....
"The Russian leader's sleekest bit of footwork, however, was his offer to work with the United States on an alternative to NMD that would destroy enemy missiles as they left the launch-pad, rather than high in space. This cleverly places Russia at the center of the debate raging in the American scientific and military community.... Mr. Clinton...should seriously consider a delay [in deciding on NMD' while Russia's readiness to adapt the ABM to a changed strategic environment is put to the test."
"Americans Do Really Want This Dotty Missile Shield"
The liberal Guardian had this op-ed commentary by Peter Preston (6/5): "The demonology that clinches (NMD) is deeply depressing. It makes a mountain out of the Pyongyang molehill. It turns a reviving Iran and a starving Iraq into great Satans again. It is fundamentally dotty.... The NMD dream is dismaying not because it threatens battlefield earth, but because it's an appalling waste of money.... Where there is threat there is no logic."
"Clash Over Missile Shield"
The liberal Guardian had this report from its Moscow correspondent (6/5): "The summit saw the two sides agree that global strategic stability in the 21st century faced a fresh threat from so-called rogue states and the proliferation of ballistic missile technology. But they differed profoundly over how to tackle the dangers."
The liberal Guardian had this op-ed comment by Jonathan Steele (6/2): "It would be easy to dismiss Bill Clinton's visit to Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week as the powerless in pursuit of the faceless. Lame-duck American president with dwindling influence meets new-boy Russian counterpart who has no program. So no agreements of any significance can be expected. Yet this policy vacuum is not just dicated by the electoral calendar. It highlights a much deeper crisis and a need for radical choices. On the Western side, the empty encounter in Moscow epitomizes the failure of Clinton's Russian project in every field--political, economic, strategic."
FRANCE: "A New Strategic Era"
Left-of-center Le Monde opined in its editorial (6/6): "A polite Putin explained that he found U.S. fears [of a missile threat] to be highly exaggerated, but that he was ready to take them into consideration. Putin finds the remedy worse than the illness. Russia is not alone in thinking this. China and Europe see the shield as a dangerous break in today's nuclear architecture.... Europe, like Russia, is against the NMD. If the United States goes ahead, it will find itself in opposition with its NATO Allies and with its Russian 'partner.' Whatever happens, a new strategic era has begun, one more complex than the Cold War's."
"Putin On The International Scene"
Odile Duterque told listeners on government-run France Inter radio (6/6): "Yesterday, in Rome, Putin did not hesitate to offer Europe a counter-proposal as an alternative to the U.S. [NMD] program. The new head of the Kremlin has begun his public relations campaign with the West."
Jean-Jacques Mevel opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/5): "In spite of the sterile dialogue about the future of deterrence, Washington and Moscow reached a concrete agreement on the elimination of plutonium stockpiles.
"The measure is a breakthrough...and translates the U.S. concern about the poor condition of Russia's nuclear arsenal [into action]."
"A Friendly Disagreement"
Veronique Soule commented in left-of-center Liberation (6/5): "Putin has imposed his very personal style on the first Russian-American summit.... Without any signs of excessive enthusiasm, the two heads of state insisted on underscoring the successful nature of their meeting.... But behind the eloquence, there were few results. As predicted, there was little progress made on the NMD project."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/7) judged in an editorial: "Moscow would not be Moscow if it did not try to take advantage of transatlantic disagreements. Washington is forced to respond now that Putin has suggested a defense system for Europe similar to NMD. It is not likely that the U.S. Congress will show much understanding for Putin's initiative. The European partners of the United States, however, will have a different opinion. After all, they are mostly opposed to NMD anyway. And this is precisely what motivated Putin to come up with a suggestion, which sources in Brussels call an 'intelligent counter-move.' However, all of this comes as no surprise, because Putin simply fell back on a plan put forth by Moscow's military leadership more than a year ago. Just a few days ago, Clinton counted it as a diplomatic success that Putin showed understanding for U.S. security needs. But now Washington has to find an appropriate answer to the question of what Europe's role is supposed to be in all of this."
Werner Adam front-paged this editorial in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/6): "Apart from a commitment from both presidents to continue their attempts at arms control and start destroying weapons-grade plutonium, the summit meeting between Presidents Clinton and Putin produced little more than an exchange of pleasantries. More was hardly to be expected, not only because of Russian resistance to American plans for a national missile defense system. Mr. Clinton's period in office is drawing to a close, while Putin's presidency has just begun. Therefore, longer-term agreements were out of the question from the outset.... In the near future, however, relations between the United States and Russia will certainly be dominated by the dispute over missile defense systems. That Putin showed a degree of understanding for U.S. concerns on this issue will not stop him from stirring up opposition to American plans when he makes his formal visits to European capitals, especially since he can expect his views to find resonance here and there."
"More Elegance Than Substance"
Tomas Avenarius judged in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/6): "What does this meeting say about the state of U.S.-Russian relations? Mostly one thing: Change is happening. During the late years of Yeltsin's tenure, relations between the only remaining superpower.... Putin...wants a different Russia and, therefore, different relations with the United States.... With his oath to re-establish the 'greatness of the nation' he is announcing a new kind of Russia."
"Caviar Is Best On Ice"
Christoph von Marschall wrote in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/6): "One should not belittle the summit results. An agreement over NMD was not to be expected....
"Nevertheless, Putin no longer says 'nyet' categorically. He recognizes a potential threat from 'rogue states' and desires a mutual defense. Other progress was made. The world appears a little too pampered by detente if it can think of the agreement to destroy 68 kilos of weapons-grade plutonium as a mere footnote--not to mention the expansion of the early warning system."
"Together Instead Of Apart"
Lothar Loewe observed in an editorial in right-of-center, mass-circulation tabloid Bild Zeitung of Hamburg (6/5): "Despite differences with respect to U.S. plans for NMD, neither Washington nor Moscow seeks confrontation, but cooperation.... Clinton and Putin found surprisingly swift solutions for the mutual destruction of dangerous plutonium stock and a mutual warning center for missile launches. A victory of reason on both sides."
"Putin's Shadow Boxing"
Centrist Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/5) judged in an editorial: "After Putin's proposal, the United States is forced to act, but in light of the upcoming change of power in the White House, the country does not have much room to maneuver. Thus, Putin can be content with his first appearance as a global player."
"Most Important Result"
Right-of-center Osnabruecker Zeitung judged (6/5): "The most important result of the Putin-Clinton meeting is not the agreement on a few steps toward disarmament; they are only of limited significance. The main significance of the meeting is the clearly articulated desire on both sides to cooperate despite all differences of opinion, which helps to dispel worries about a further cooling off of relations between the two large nuclear powers.... With respect to the question of an American NMD, a heightening of tensions was prevented by Moscow's basic acknowledgment that an increasing threat from 'rogue states' does exist. In this context, too, Putin proved himself a realist, a pragmatist, able to judge the shift in power relations correctly."
"Putin Offer Deserving Of Attention"
Centrist Suedwest Presse of Ulm noted (6/3): "Putin's surprising offer to talk with the outgoing U.S. president about a joint anti-missile defense system deserves great attention."
Christoph von Marschall judged in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/3): "With his offer to develop a joint anti-missile defense system against rogue states, Putin landed a coup.... For the time being, Clinton cannot reject Putin's proposal. It was Clinton in Aachen who called upon Europe to integrate Russia. How will he then exclude Moscow from the peace project of an anti-missile defense system?"
"Putin's Missile Plan"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (6/3) carried an editorial by Karl Grobe: "Vladimir Putin took up the ball that the Clinton government has tried to kick into his camp for months: Why not a joint missile defense against 'rogue states' such as North Korea? As a propaganda coup, it is understandable what Putin told the U.S. audience via NBC before it appeared at home in the media."
ITALY: "In The Bag Of Remedies"
Lucia Annunziata wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/7): "Our first surprise was (Putin's) reiterated proposal to create an anti-missile shield with NATO and Europe.... Is it realistic for Russia to build a common defense against its own allied countries? And, on the other end, is it realistic for Europe to build its own defense...through a NATO Alliance that is two-thirds American and a shield that is two-thirds Russian?"
"Considering Moscow's Proposal On The 'Shield'"
Umberto De Giovannangeli noted in pro-DS (leading government party) L'Unità (6/7): "Italy does not fail to consider Vladimir Putin's proposal about an anti-missile space shield...including the United States, Europe and Russia.... Italy intends to share with France the role of mediator between Moscow and Washington.... Coinciding points of view between Rome and Paris are not at all by accident.... They also share a common fear that the U.S. 'space shield' might resume the race toward rearmament."
"Important Results For Russia"
Frabrizio Dragosei led from Moscow in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/6): "Russia has brought home important results [from the summit]...[including] international recognition for its 'wise' position of great caution toward the U.S. [NMD]. In conclusion, (there was) a Putin almost leading Europe in its battle against the reckless ones on the other side of the ocean (the Americans)."
"A Clever Proposal From Putin"
In a front-page commentary, Boris Biancheri opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (6/6): "Putin knows that the [U.S. NMD] project is also seen with perplexity in Europe. The idea of a space shield that joins together the United States, Europe and Russia has now come up in Rome. Putin's proposal is clever and generates interest. However, it also raises some questions. First of all, what does the United States think about it? Another question concerns China, which would be totally isolated. A third question is, who is going to pay for it?"
"A New Formula Was Born: Cooperation Amid Differences"
Antonella Scott filed from Moscow in leading, business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (6/6): "Presidents Clinton...and Putin...have left the balance of their summit...over the most difficult issue on the table open to the future: the construction of a U.S. anti-missile defense system.... For the time being, Putin's goal is to reinforce his strong image of credibility.... Maybe [the two accords signed] are less sensational but, as Clinton said, '(they are) terribly important.'"
"The Summit's Real Success"
A front-page commentary by Franco Venturini in centrist, top-circulation Corriere Della Sera held (6/5): "The meeting with Bill Clinton in Moscow allows us to measure the determination of the new czar in defending his strategic interests. It has also made clear Putin's willingness to cooperate with the West in order to integrate Russia more solidly into the international community. There was not, and it could not have been the case, a 'Bill and Vladimir show' as occurred during the time of Yeltsin.... But paradoxically, it was just this lack of public warmth that highlighted, in their disagreement, their willingness to cooperate. Putin and Clinton decided to agree on the elimination of 34 tons each of military plutonium....
"Indeed, if the miracle of an agreement on the space shield did not take place, it is important to note the recurring stress on cooperation.... Indeed, Italy...and the whole of Europe feared that the missile contrast would become a global dispute, that a new freeze between Washington and Moscow would affect the management of regional crises...that economic relations would be damaged and Russian political stabilization hampered. And the real success of the summit was to have avoided--at least temporarily--these outcomes."
BELGIUM: "Bill Clinton Left The Russians Puzzled"
Moscow correspondent Boris Toumanov judged in independent La Libre Belgique (6/6): "Vladimir Putin's proposal to create an anti-missile defense system which would also protect Europe and Russia is likely to put the future U.S. administration...in a very embarrassing position.... If Washington refuses to exploit this possibility in the framework of a common defense system, it would mean that it is not against these [rogue] countries that Washington intends to protect itself, but first and foremost, against Russia and China. In this case, the selfish connotation of [NMD] would become even more obvious."
Ludwig De Vocht held in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (6/6): "The time of cozy chats between Clinton and former President Yeltsin is over. Vladimir Putin, who is trying to restore the greatness of Russia, will sell any concessions at a high price. Clinton wants to decide later this year whether the construction of the NMD system should be started.... By abandoning the mutual vulnerability stemming from the ABM Treaty, the strategic balance...is in jeopardy. The American desire for invulnerability cannot but increase insecurity in the world and trigger a new arms race spiral."
BULGARIA: "Putin Activated His 'Missile' Diplomacy"
Top-circulation Trud commented (6/8): "Vladimir Putin announced that he's in favor of developing a joint anti-missile defense system with the EU and NATO.... The good news is that Putin is making a bid for continuing the arms control negotiations with the next resident of the White House as well.... The new Russian government's desire for cooperation with the West...is obvious."
"Clinton and Putin Search For A Sensible Balance Of Power"
Left-leaning, stridently anti-U.S. Monitor commented (6/3): "The time of American-style moralizing of international relations...has passed.... Washington must act and talk to Russia as with a serious power, which stands by its interests.... It's true, the current nuclear balance based on mutual destruction is a legacy of the Cold War and could be replaced with a more sensible...balance of power.... This could include an anti-missile defense system. But...it needs to be accomplished by the cooperative effort of all nuclear states and without the unilateral dictate of the hyperpower."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Traditional Warmth Gone"
Dmitrij Belosevsky and Milan Mostyn noted in economic Hospodarske noviny (6/6): "The Putin presidency has changed the traditionally warm relationship between Clinton and Yeltsin.... By his uncompromising positions and cold polite smiles, Putin demonstrated Russia's determination to get over the chronic humiliation."
"A Cardinal Question Left Unanswered"
Jiri Roskot judged in left-of-center Pravo (6/6): "Despite a non-confrontational exchange of opinion on the problem of strategic balance, the U.S.-Russian summit in Moscow left a cardinal question unanswered: What will happen if the foundation of this balance is destroyed--i.e., the ABM Treaty? On the one hand, the White House and Kremlin chiefs agreed that there exists a threat of attack from incalculable countries but despite that...Clinton said America did not want to waste time with the development of a common anti-missile system as proposed by Putin.... The problem is that the U.S. anti-missile defense system leaves too many back doors open to another...arms race. Russia now has no analogous defense system and it would not idly watch the U.S. system devalue [Russia's] strategic potential."
FINLAND: "Clinton's Visit"
Leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat's editorial read (6/6): "The visit of Bill Clinton...to meet his colleague Vladimir Putin, was very matter-of-fact and there were no big problems, but the atmosphere was not particularly warm.... Because Clinton's status...is already weakened, and it is difficult for Putin to make long-term plans with him.... Moscow rejected a compromise [on ABM], partly because Clinton's successor could back out and demand new negotiations.... It seems that the human rights situation in the area was just discussed in passing. Bilateral relations, strategic weapons, ABM and the world economy were the issues that kept the leaders occupied and gave the summit its cool, businesslike atmosphere."
Foreign affairs editor Gabor Stier suggested in center-right Magyar Nemzet (6/6): "The United States, in the practice, invalidates the ABM Treaty...even at the cost that the ghost of the Cold War sneaks back.... That is what Russia, and somehow Europe, is afraid of.... Putin's door opening has served well to slow down the unfavorable trend in the U.S.-Russia relations, and, at the same time to enhance, via a diplomatic shortcut, the weak position of Moscow."
LITHUANIA: "'Star Wars' Toys"
Independent Respublika featured this piece by Grazina Asembergiene (6/6): "Taking care of his image at home and abroad, [Putin] tries not to promise anything specific.... At first he declares that Russia might become a member of NATO. Now he suggests...the creation of a joint anti-missile defense.... In short, if you want to play with me in one sandbox, share your toys.... Putin has time to play political games until the new U.S. president is elected."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Cure Worse Than The Disease"
Centrist Haagsche Courant's editorial read (6/7): "Even though quite different from the old Star Wars plans, the current [NMD] plan has the same disadvantage: It disrupts the strategic nuclear balance.... It seems to reflect a revival of American isolationism.... Chancellor Schroeder and President Putin are right when they say that an American missile shield is a cure worse than the disease."
"Not A Success, But At Least Businesslike"
Influential, liberal De Volkskrant asserted (6/5): "Clinton's meeting with Putin was not a success. Clinton continues to support and Putin continues to oppose the NMD plan...and the two parties have not come any closer on this issue.... The arms control conflict brings back memories of the Cold War. However, there are some important differences....
"One...is that the U.S.' European allies are supporting the Russians on this issue.... However, there is now a significant school of American politicians who do not shy away from unilateral actions...and rigid rejection of NMD could encourage U.S. unilateralism.... It is therefore a good sign that the meeting in Moscow was conducted in a businesslike manner and that it did not result in slamming doors on each other."
NORWAY: "Hard Fronts On Missile Defense"
Social democratic Dagsavisen commented (6/6): "Putin was firm in his opinion that the U.S. [NMD] plans...will undermine strategic stability.... The Russian skepticism is well founded. George W. Bush...has already spoken for such an increase of rocket defense. For Russia this is a good battle issue. The U.S. allies in Europe share much of the Russian skepticism of U.S. plans.... For NATO unity, this is an even more difficult case than the battle over the double decision in the beginning of the 1980's."
POLAND: "Sharing Missile Defense"
Radoslaw Rybinski wrote in rightist weekly Nowe Panstwo (6/7): "In an effort to break Russia's objection [to NMD], Clinton suggested...that the United States would be ready to 'share this system with other countries.'... Putin was quick to take advantage of the proposal and he suggested a joint 'U.S.-Russian defense missile shield.' It was only then that the Americans realized how unfortunate their president's offer was and they began to back out of it.... By presenting the proposal of a 'common shield,' not only did Putin launch a diplomatic offensive but he also managed to create the impression that America and Russia are equal partners."
"The Presidents Played For A Tie"
Wieslaw S. Debski wrote in leftist Trybuna (6/6): "The Moscow summit resulted in a draw: two agreements of little significance were signed, with the fundamental matters left for consideration by...the new president of Russia and the new president of the United States."
SLOVENIA: "No Spectacular Results"
Left-of-center, independent Vecer commented (6/5): "No spectacular results can be expected from yesterday's [meeting].... The Russians did not give their consent to modify the ABM Treaty...and the Americans turned down Putin's initiative to build a missile defense system together. So, the presidents chose to devote themselves to solvable secondary problems and discussed them with a great deal of benevolent pragmatism."
SPAIN: "Clinton-Putin, A Positive Summit"
Independent El Mundo commented (6/5): "If evaluated on the basis of the Star Wars dialogue between the two leaders, the summit could be labeled a failure.... However, the economic content of the summit was significant."
TURKEY: "A New Star Wars"
Hadi Uluengin held in mass-appeal Hurriyet (6/7): "During his meeting with Clinton, Putin rightfully pointed out that NMD and TMD violated the [ABM]. Therefore, one of the risks will be that nobody will have the right to object if Russia expresses its desire to produce missiles in order to overwhelm this shield. Another risk is if China adopts a similar policy.... Lastly...the danger posed if countries like Japan, Taiwan, India or Pakistan start building nuclear arms, with the excuse that the United States is protecting itself and leaving other countries abandoned."
CHINA: "Arduous Task Of Nuclear Disarmament"
Sha Zukang wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 6/8): "The deployment of the American NMD system will seriously damage the integrity and vitality of the ABM system, threaten global strategic balance and stability, and impede the process of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. As a reflection of hegemonism and power politics, the NMD system goes against the will of the world's people."
"Visit Has More Symbolic Significance Than Actual Meaning"
Yang Zheng and Li Yongquan commented in intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 6/6): "Though Russia and the United States have tried to create a friendly and cooperative atmosphere, the summit in Moscow has failed to achieve any substantive results.... Predictably, in the future, any U.S. president, no matter who he is, will hardly get away from a sense of superiority in dealing with Russia. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect U.S.-Russian relations to improve through a single summit."
HONG KONG: "Interdependence"
Pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao had this editorial (6/6): "On the one hand, the United States and Russia have differences. On the other hand, they are interdependent.... The United States wants to weaken Russia. However, it does not want to see upheavals in this nuclear state.... For Russia...its economy is strongly reliant on the West.... All these factors have determined that the differences between the United States and Russia will not worsen."
INDONESIA: "U.S., Russia Urged To Show Commitment To Disarmament"
Leading, independent Kompas held (6/5): "We hope the United States and Russia are able to serve as good international models, demonstrating a strong commitment to nuclear disarmament."
JAPAN: "NMD Will Determine Future U.S.-Russian Relations"
An editorial in business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (6/6): "It appears that the Clinton-Putin summit eased, if not sufficiently, U.S.-Russian relations that have become frigid...in recent years. But the two leaders failed to close the gap over [NMD].... It is certain that the NMD dispute, if unresolved, will strain U.S.-Russian relations more than the NATO expansion."
"Cool-Headed Rookie Vs. Lonely Lame-Duck"
Liberal Mainichi's Moscow correspondents Ishigooka and Fuse observed (6/5): "Mr. Putin, who aims to burnish his strong leader image in Russia, stopped short of settling sensitive issues with the lame-duck U.S. president. Mr. Clinton...wore the lonely look of an outgoing president."
"U.S.-Russian Summit Becomes More Businesslike"
Liberal Asahi's Moscow correspondents Nishmura and Ono opined (6/5): "This time around...Presidents Clinton and Putin gave top priority to reaching an unobtrusive but more business-like accord on the joint disposal of 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium. The United States is clearly backing off from its previous 'excessive commitment' to Yeltsin's Russia, while Putin is also promoting his 'national interest first' diplomacy in dealing with the United States."
SOUTH KOREA: "America In Dilemma"
Washington correspondent Kook Ki-yun wrote in conservative Segye Ilbo (6/6): "The biggest danger of the system is, as everybody already knows, that it would set off an arms race, particularly by China and Russia.... Besides, the theory that the United States needs such a system to defend itself against 'rogue nations' like North Korea is not winning any support."
INDIA: "Putin Calls Clinton's Bluff On Missile Defense"
The centrist Times of India (6/8) ran this piece by senior editor M.D. Nalapat: "By offering to collaborate with the United States in building a joint missile defense shield, Putin has called Clinton's bluff."
"Cold War Revisited"
The nationalist Hindustan Times featured this editorial (6/7): "The United States says it wants the NMD to deter 'rogue' states...but it is not agreeable to a Russian counter-proposal for joint defense against mavericks. This gives rise to the suspicion that the NMD is nothing if not a thinly veiled proposal to secure overwhelming world dominance in...nuclear armaments."
"Putin Has Arrived"
The centrist Hindu ran this editorial (6/7): "The signals from Moscow point to a departure from the Yeltsin era. By signing two agreements and agreeing to disagree over a highly controversial issue, Mr. Putin has let it be known that he has arrived on the international scene."
PAKISTAN: "U.S.-Russian Summit"
The center-right Nation had this editorial (6/7): "On a wider plane, the U.S.-Russian summit failed to achieve the American objective of securing the Kremlin's consent to the NMD project.... Though accepting the possibility of such an attack in the future, Putin refused to budge from his stand that AMB amendment...would unravel the whole structure of nuclear disarmament."
SYRIA: "Clinton-Putin Summit"
Riad Zein, commented in the government-owned Syria Times (6/4): "While America is keen on imposing military domination through the so-called deterrence force, Russia is trying to engage Washington in a constructive dialogue, imperative for...for easing tensions and ensuring world peace and security."
TUNISIA: "Double Standards On Summit's Margins"
Senior editor Kamel Ben Younes said in Arabic-language As-Sabah (6/7): "The summit made it clear that...the preeminent factor in U.S. foreign policy is its national interests.... In the recent past, U.S. media launched campaigns against China and Russia for their failure to respect human rights.... Today, the United States is trying to seduce both of these countries because it believes that to do so is in its national interest."
ARGENTINA: "Putin's Skillful Maneuver"
Telma Luzzani, leading Clarin's international columnist, opined (6/3): "Yesterday, President Putin redoubled Bill Clinton's nuclear bet and left his U.S. colleague in a very uncomfortable situation, especially vis-a-vis his European allies.... In order to calm Europe, Clinton said on Thursday that it would be' against ethics not sharing' the defensive technology with 'civilized countries.' To Europe's relief, Putin picked up the glove and proposed the creation of a joint defensive system to protect Russia, the United States and the continent.... Now, Clinton has to answer: If the U.S. goal is not solidarity one, his position will be clearly obvious and he will be left in an uncomfortable situation vis-a-vis his European partners."
CANADA: "If Missiles Are Fired"
Under the sub-heading, "Bill Clinton asks for Russia's acceptance of the proposed U.S. defense system. Is there a better path?" the leading Globe and Mail opined (6/6): "The United States plans to press on with tests of its Baby Star Wars. In concentrating on its unilateral rogues, it should keep the door open to the possibility of different, multilateral approaches."
"Why Do U.S. Allies Take Putin's Side?"
David Frum commented in the conservative National Post (6/6): "Why would any country that thinks of itself as a friend of the United States object to an American missile defence? How is it in Germany's interest, for example, or France's for Russia and China to retain the ability to kill millions of American civilians--or for North Korea or Iran to gain it? The question for Canadians is even sharper, since the defenses that protect Seattle and Rochester will necessarily also protect Vancouver and Toronto."
"Useful Moscow Summit"
The liberal Toronto Star held (6/6): "Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin bought themselves some time this week. Clinton is under pressure from Congress and the Pentagon to give the go-ahead [on NMD].... Putin isn't convinced there's a dire threat. He's right. North Korea is reaching out to the rest of the world as never before. Iran soon may. Iraq has been contained.... On other issues the leaders were genuinely forward-looking. They agreed to destroy plutonium stockpiles, and to share data on missile launches. This will boost confidence on both sides. Missile defenses would not."
MEXICO: "Destroying The Balance"
Nationalist Milenio (6/5) ran this piece by Mireya Olivas: "Were the United States to deploy a nuclear missile defense system without having worked out an agreement with Russia, it would destroy the carefully crafted balance provided by current disarmament treaties."