October 18, 1999
CTBT: SENATE VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY CONDEMNED; U.S. LEADERSHIP QUESTIONED
Last week's U.S. Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) touched off a firestorm of criticism from all corners of the globe. In a near universal consensus, foreign media resoundingly condemned the "lamentable" and "dangerous" vote as no more than "reckless partisanship" by a Republican Senate majority intent on dealing President Clinton a "humiliating blow." The outcome, it was argued, has "severely undermined" international security and "called into question the U.S.' claim to moral authority and global leadership." Even the small fraction of voices which conceded that "there are serious arguments against ratification" was quick to add that they "played only a background role in the treaty's death" and joined others in stressing that the vote was misguided, "undermining the credibility and confidence in the U.S. on the part of friends" and "sending the worst of signals to all its adversaries." Many saw the vote as a "serious setback" to global arms control efforts and further maintained that it reflects a "double standard," whereby "America, so often the moralizer to the rest of the world, wants to keep its own [nuclear] options open." Concern that the vote points to a "creeping isolationism" and go-it-alone "unilateralism" on the part of the U.S. was a recurrent theme in much of the comment. The message sent by U.S. treaty opponents, according to one, is that "U.S. nuclear policy will now rest on American interests and power, not waffly and unenforceable treaties." London's conservative Times summed up the predominant view in asserting, "The Senate Republicans, by exploiting the opportunity to inflict a very public defeat on a lame duck president, have done their country and their allies a grave disservice." Regional views follow:
EUROPE: Papers throughout the continent and across the political spectrum expressed profound dismay at the Senate action. A Paris analyst intoned, "History will remember that the fate of nuclear weapons was gambled...by a handful of politicians who had a score to settle with a tired president." Several warned that the U.S.' "abandonment" of its leadership role on nonproliferation may spark a new round of nuclear arms racing. A Rome daily worried, "U.S. strategy is at the mercy of its president who...at this point has no authority and of a Congress full of demagogues.... Every dictator...will be free to pursue his...foolish atomic dream with the official permission of the U.S. Senate." Others expressed concern about the reliability of the U.S. as an ally, as did a Frankfurt writer: "The Senate has driven a wedge between the U.S. and its NATO Allies [and] provided support for wanna-be nuclear powers."
EAST/SOUTH ASIA: Editorialists minced no words in denouncing the U.S. Senate for placing "long-term security behind shallow political point showing." Papers from Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere judged that "Clinton's credibility on foreign policy issues" has suffered "a major blow," and expressed regret that, in the words of a Tokyo paper, the U.S. "has turned inward and surrendered its global leadership." Arguing that the Senate vote proves that the U.S. is unwilling to "curb at all its own weapons program," a New Delhi pundit contended, "This vindicates India's...argument that the nuclear regime is discriminatory."
ELSEWHERE: Commentators from the Middle East, South Africa, Latin America and Canada also inveighed against the U.S. Senate action. Reflecting a common view, the centrist Pretoria News held, "The U.S. Senate has gravely abdicated its leadership on arms control...and squandered its leverage in convincing other countries to refrain from testing."
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 77 reports from 45 countries, October 14 - 18. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
The independent weekly Economist ran this editorial (10/16): "The Senate's defeat of the CTBT is a humiliation for the Clinton administration, a pyrrhic victory for the Senate and a disaster for America's foreign policymaking process.... In the Senate, victory revealed many senators to be more interested in their partisan fight with the president than the consequences of their actions in the world. And foreign policy has been damaged because it is no longer possible to trust the president's signature even on a nuclear treaty.... Others said the treaty was pointless because it would do nothing to stop the most dangerous nuclear states...[and] would damage America's ability to keep its warheads safe.... Yet reasonable though such reservations may sound, they played only a background role in the treaty's death.... A small number of senators...wanted to kill the CTBT at any cost.... In the aftermath of impeachment, the minimum level of amity needed to work the system was lacking. For this, Mr Clinton was as much to blame as the Senate.... He did virtually nothing to lobby for the treaty between the time he signed it...and last weekend.... Worryingly, the Senate vote is also the culmination of a pattern of actions which point to creeping isolationism.... The leaders of Britain, France and Germany appealed to the Senate...saying failure would show that the United States is not serious about arms control. American opponents of the CTBT reply that U.S. nuclear policy will now rest on American interests and power, not waffly and unenforceable treaties. The fall-out from this particular nuclear test is already spreading."
"The Senate's No"
The conservative Times opined (10/15): "All know that the vote [against the CTBT] is a serious blow to America's political and moral authority and is deeply, perhaps fatally, damaging...to the treaty.... It is not only the CTBT that is now imperiled. The Non-Proliferation Treaty comes up for a five-year review in New York in April. Resentment of the nuclear haves by the nuclear have-nots is hardening, and not only in the Third World. Mr. Clinton has made no secret of his dismay at this unraveling. It will be hard for this administration to represent this treaty, and harder still for the world to keep check on a new nuclear race. The Senate Republicans, by exploiting the opportunity to inflict a very public defeat on a lame-duck president, have done their country, and their allies, a grave disservice."
"American Isolationism Put To The Test"
Gerard Baker and David Buchan in the independent Financial Times commented (10/15): "There can be little doubt that [the CTBT vote] does represent, at least, the clearest indication yet of the radical change in U.S. politics and the country's view of its role in the world. Thumbing its nose at the rest of the world was not an option open to the U.S. during its struggle with communism.... Was the vote the latest step towards U.S. isolationism?... In short, the optimistic view among supporters of the treaty is that a combination of partisan rancor and maladroit handling were to blame, rather than any fundamental shift in America's willingness to engage with the world. But the reality is probably different. It underlines again the extent to which international considerations have been pushed to the fringes of American politics."
The conservative Daily Telegraph judged (10/15): "The rejection by the U.S. Senate of the CTBT has provoked worldwide condemnation.
"Yet political calculations aside, it is worth examining the grounds on which 51 of the 100 senators rejected the treaty. There were fears that cheating could not be detected. Washington's allies should take note.... It is such questions that the Senate vote has rightly raised."
FRANCE: "The Senate's Bomb"
Left-of-center Le Monde said in its editorial (10/15): "Unable to impeach Clinton over the Lewinsky affair, the Senate's Republican majority has humiliated the U.S. president as never before.... In the area of nonproliferation, the United States is setting the worst possible example...and giving nations such as China, Pakistan or India a good argument to proceed with new tests.... Thanks to Trent Lott's and Jesse Helms's irresponsibility, the world is a little less sure than it could have been.... For nations like France and Great Britain, which have ratified the treaty, security depends more on nonproliferation than deterrence. This is not so for the Senate's Republican majority. As it did during the coldest hours of the Cold War era, the Republicans are in favor of maintaining U.S. nuclear weapons. The lesson will not go unnoticed in Pakistan...or in India.... Unfortunately, Republican Senators do not see beyond their borders.... They are keeping Clinton from keeping his promises.... They are pushing the United States to back out of its international obligations. The world's number one power is today a little less believable on the international scene."
"Settling The Score"
Pierre Marie Christin told listeners on privately-funded RTL radio (10/15): "History will remember that the fate of nuclear weapons was gambled with the throw of the dice by a handful of politicians who had a score to settle with a tired president."
Pierre Rousselin asserted in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/15): "As the only superpower, the United States is no longer in a position to face up to its responsibilities.... Beyond the president who has been targeted, it is U.S. leadership which is being undermined.... Behind Jesse Helms and his followers, the image of a different America can be seen: An America turned inwards and which ignores the rest of the world.... It would be extremely dangerous if the Republican party became the only representative of that other America."
"Nuclear Weapons Are Back"
Dominique Bromberger asked on government-funded France Inter radio (10/14): "What authority will the United States have to keep countries like India and Pakistan from reverting to nuclear testing?"
GERMANY: "A Dangerous Path"
Lothar Loewe commented in mass-circulation, right-of-center Bild Zeitung of Hamburg (10/15): "It's incomprehensible! With its uncaring dismissal of the CTBT, the Republic majority in the Senate has brought the unpartisan disarmament policy pursued by presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton to an abrupt end. Clinton and Albright were too weak to prevent the disaster. Now the way is clear for countries like Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, and others to test new atomic weapons in secret. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the leader of the Western world...has shirked its international responsibility. A dangerous portent for the rest of the world and for the Europeans."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/15) front-paged this commentary: "Politicians are never squeamish when they are in the midst of an election campaign. But it takes the very special consciousness for the last remaining superpower to make the most important international arms control agreement since the end of the Cold War an instrument of domestic policy conflict. The Republicans have succeeded in portraying the most prominent proponent of the CTBT, President Clinton, as totally lacking in power.... The damage caused in the area of foreign and security policy...is tremendous, and efforts...to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons have suffered a grave setback. How will one now be able to persuade the so-called threshold states...to ratify a treaty that is dead. Washington's willingness to accept such damage cannot be explained solely in terms of the election campaign's narrow focus. Underlying this is the fundamental conviction--made visible again with the re-emergence of the subject of a missile defense--that America can be secure only if it is able to provide for its own security.... That is what should give the Europeans most food for thought."
"Defeat For Arms Control"
Foreign editor Jochen Siemons had this to say in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (10/15): "The Senate has opened the door to all those who suspect that the only remaining superpower plans not only to strengthen its defense potential, but also to modernize and strengthen its strategic nuclear capability. The U.S. government wants to continue the ban on testing. But that is no substitute for an internationally binding treaty.... With its rejection of such a treaty, the Senate has driven a wedge between the United States and its NATO Allies, provided supporting arguments for wanna-be nuclear powers and damaged the reputation of the United States."
ITALY: "Nuclear Tests: Clinton Defeated"
Vittorio Zucconi wrote from Washington in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (10/15) "The United States has committed political hara-kiri by killing its moral and strategic leadership.... The CTBT...was certainly not perfect and the White House strategy...was poorly conceived and superficial, (the White House) discovering too late that they had fallen into a domestic policy trap.... The Republican opposition used that vote to entrap President Clinton and humiliate him before the world and his own nation.... The world is then right to be 'dismayed' when it realizes that a problem which involves international nuclear security becomes a game between the U.S. faction of the Right and President Clinton.... The facts...are telling us that U.S. international strategy is at the mercy of its president who, at this point, has no authority and of a Congress full of demagogues.... Every...dictator, every Russian recidivist will be free to pursue his foolish atomic...dream, with the official permission of the Senate of the United States."
Washington correspondent Siegmund Ginzberg judged in pro-DS (leading government party) L'Unita (10/14): "The U.S. Senate has rejected in the strongest and most definitive way--through a formal vote--President Clinton's approval of the treaty.... This outcome adds to the risk that countries like India and Pakistan, instead of ratifying the treaty, may not only decide to postpone ratification indefinitely, but be tempted to resume nuclear tests in order to improve their arsenals and reduce the gap with America as far as nuclear military technology is concerned. And this notwithstanding the reassurance, reiterated yesterday by Secretary Albright, that the United States does not plan to conduct nuclear tests and will continue to 'discourage' others from doing so."
"Farewell To Internationalism; Victory By Isolationist Right"
Pro-DS (leading government party) L'Unita had this analysis by Washington correspondent Siegmund Ginzberg (10/14): "The whole issue seems to be only the top of a huge iceberg whose mass has made its weight felt throughout the entire century--between the two world wars, during the Cold War era, and in the debate over a new, post-Communist world order. The submerged mass is the clash between isolationism and internationalism, the debate...on whether the invincible America 'helix,' the strongest superpower of all, should independently take care of its own defense or should, instead, seek its security in a world with several protagonists, with all the 'complications' that this may involve."
"A Defeat For Clinton"
Centrist, influential La Stampa (10/14) offered this comment by Andrea di Robilant: "The split between Republicans and Democrats which emerged from the vote seems to foreshadow a new phase in U.S. nuclear policy, characterized by a return of 'hawks.' The Senate's decision risks having a devastating impact on the international movement against nuclear tests."
RUSSIA: "Now Russia Is Off the Hook"
Dmitry Zharnikov argued in reformist Noviye Izvestiya (10/15): "Most experts...agree that by thwarting the key treaty, the U.S. Senate has damaged the U.S.' prestige and set a bad example for other nuclear and near-nuclear countries. Russia can cool its heels. Our MPs, who are staunchly resisting START II ratification, will hardly ratify the CTBT now. They certainly will not do it before the Americans."
"Disarmament Not In U.S.' Interest"
Dmitry Gornostayev commented on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (10/15): "Probably for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the American elite has shown that moving toward disarmament and greater trust in the world is not in the U.S.' strategic interest. The American senators, in fact, are trying to convey to the world that nuclear tests are acceptable. They are the very senators who, in May of last year, demanded that India and Pakistan be punished for conducting nuclear blasts.... Also, [the Senate's non-ratification of CTBT] will lead to a new spiral in the arms race."
"Blow To U.S. Foreign Policy"
Leonid Panin asserted in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (10/15): "The Republican majority...has dealt a crushing blow to the administration's foreign policy. By giving up the commitment not to conduct (nuclear) tests, the United States has lost its moral right to combat nuclear proliferation. For the first time in the history of arms control, America is finding itself among its opponents. The CTBT is dead now."
AUSTRIA: "It Was All About Humiliating The President"
Josef Kirchengast commented in liberal Der Standard (10/15): "The Republican majority used phony arguments to oppose the ratification.... With what moral justification will the West demand renunciation by nuclear powers of the future?... Apparently, such questions were not important enough to the Republicans in the Senate. For most of them, it was all about humiliating the president after having failed to impeach him.... Clinton, of course, shares the responsibility for his own defeat. The Great Communicator, who is so brilliant when it comes to defending his own interests, has fought much too late and only half-heartedly for a goal he has declared a priority."
BELGIUM: "Compromised U.S. Leadership"
Philippe Paquet analyzed in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (10/15): "By trying to preserve its military superiority, the United States has compromised its political leadership. How can it hope to convince nuclear countries as well as countries which would like to acquire nuclear weapons of the validity of a treaty which it does not want to ratify itself? Beyond the incoherence of the U.S. attitude, the message sent by the U.S. Senate is a renewed plea in favor of nuclear weapons, not in favor of nonproliferation."
"A Severe Blow For Disarmament And Non-Proliferation"
Diplomatic correspondent Pierre Lefevre commented in independent Le Soir (10/15): "The vote of the Senate is a hard blow not only for Clinton and U.S. leadership, but also for the fight against nuclear proliferation in the world and for disarmament efforts in general.... But the consequences of this historic vote go further than that. President Clinton and the U.S.' credibility: it is the first time in decades that the U.S. Senate refuses to approve a treaty of this importance. A major international issue has been the victim of an electoral debate and of U.S. partisan conflict. For Bill Clinton and U.S. diplomacy, this is a major snub.... Another consequence is the Allies' embarrassment. This failure puts the U.S. Allies...in a more than embarrassing situation.... The United States has just shown its contempt for a global security project.... For the world, this is a reason to worry and to be suspicious."
"Nuclear Testing: The Bad American Example"
Diplomatic correspondent Pierre Lefevre opined in independent Le Soir (10/14): "The U.S.' allies will also see [in this vote] another sign of American isolationism. In the name of political quarrels, the American superpower rejects a major act of collective security in favor of an individualist and selfish defense policy."
BULGARIA: "The Wind Of Isolationism Blows In The U.S."
Largest-circulation Trud (10/16) commented: "The U.S. Senate gave the world a typical example of partisanship.... This vote may be interpreted as a green light by all the countries with possible nuclear capabilities to try and gain entrance to the nuclear club.... Russia, too, may interpret this sign as a license for...nuclear tests."
CROATIA: "Republican Slap In Clinton's Face"
Military analyst Fran Visnar commented in government-controlled Vjesnik (10/16), "Bill Clinton is certainly right when he asserts that the refusal to ratify the treaty will have negative effects on America's tactics vis-à-vis those countries and regimes that still have not signed it, or are reluctant to ratify it.... America's opponents all over the world...will interpret the Senate's rejection as Clinton's weakness, and will attempt to take as much advantage as possible from this situation before the U. S. elections."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "A Slap To The World As Well As To Clinton"
Kveta Buschova commented in right-of-center HN (10/15): "The United States sets a very bad example to all the states.... After the Senate vote the world will be less secure.... It is clear that the decision of most GOP Senators was above all influenced by domestic politics."
"U.S.' Moral Right As Defender Of Disarmament Shaken"
Milan Vodicka commented in right-of-center Mlada Fronta Dnes (10/15): "To wound Clinton, the Republicans shot down a global treaty....
"The world is losing an important [nonproliferation] tool.... The U.S.' moral right to act as a defender of disarmament has been shaken."
DENMARK: "Good News For Some; Tragedy For Most"
Center-right Berlingske Tidende (10/15): "The Senate's rejection of the nuclear test ban treaty was good news for North Korea, Pakistan and Iraq. For the rest of the international community, it was a tragedy. The villain of the piece is Jesse Helms.... The consequences [of the Senate's action] are not hard to imagine. China will most likely exploit the situation. This will put pressure on India to follow suit and it will not take long before Pakistan's new military regime responds in kind. Unfortunately, Clinton cannot be said to have played the role of hero. He said in 1996 that treaty ratification would be given top priority; since then, silence has reigned. As is often the case, U.S. domestic concerns have taken priority and the nations of the world have been left in confusion wondering who will take the lead."
GREECE: "Nuclear Insecurity"
Writing in pro-government, influential To Vima, foreign news editor Stathis Efstathiadis opined (10/14): "The Republicans in the U.S. Senate are playing a very ugly game which, unfortunately, concerns us.... A rejection of the treaty may mean that China and Russia...will be free [to test again]. In other words, we will have a return to Cold War practices. India and Pakistan...will definitely join the game. The continued escalation is not difficult to predict. New nuclear powers will emerge, and the dangers of 'random' or 'unpredictable' attacks will multiply."
HUNGARY: "Setting An Example"
Eva Elekes commented in independent Nepszava (10/15): "Political benefits expected from the domestic affairs wrangling over CTBT can hardly be compared to the international consequences of the final nay to it. The Senate Republicans have given a devastating hit to the 'lame-duck' U.S. president. And if the world's number one nuclear power does not set the good example of self-restriction (in nuclear tests), how can it expect that from other countries?"
FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA: "Arms Race"
In independent, liberal Makedonija Denes, Saso Mitrov argued (10/16): "[With] the Senate's vote...the U.S. attempts to control and discipline the existing (China's neutron bomb) and potential (North Korea, Iran, Iraq) nuclear states can only fail, and that means that the U.S. position is weakened.... We will enter the new millennium with another arms race. This time, it will be nuclear."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Dangerous Turning"
Influential, liberal De Volkskrant held (10/15): "In the first place narrow-minded partisan political considerations are at the bottom of this. Conservative Republicans at last saw their chance of giving the hated Clinton a humiliating blow.... However, the opponents are also led by indifference and suspicion of the outside world.... America can only defend itself by means of an overwhelming military force.... The Senate's decision is ominous; it gnaws at the legitimacy of America's leading role in the world."
"U.S. Places Itself Out Of The Game"
Centrist Het Parool offered this view (10/14): "It goes further than a defeat for Clinton. It disqualifies the United States as the leading nation in the world.... The heedless representatives in Washington have made a frightening contribution to the insecurity of the world."
NORWAY: "Senate's Poor No"
The independent VG held (10/18): "What we see here is a disquieting sign of a new isolationism in American politics.... The Senate has with its decision indirectly encouraged the countries that...want to get their own nuclear weapons."
"A Discouraging Decision"
Leading, conservative Aftenposten held (10/15): "The damage has already occurred. With their decision, the Senate sent out a signal to nuclear powers, potential nuclear powers, and to U.S. NATO Allies that the United States sets its own interests over all other countries' interests."
POLAND: "Disarmament Later"
Grzegorz Jankowski wrote in right-of-center Zycie (10/16-17): "Why...should America be an example to the world and resign from nuclear tests before other partners, who are far less credible and predictable, do so?... Why should it become defenseless of its own will and appeal to Moscow and Beijing to do the same?... All this should make us applaud the U.S. Senate. For the past several decades, peace was possible because Americans possessed a military capacity at least equal to that of the Soviet Union."
"It's A Mistake"
Leopold Unger wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (10/15): "The Republican majority not only shot itself in the foot, but also Clinton, America and the rest of the world.... Truly, there are serious arguments against the ratification.... But even taking all this into consideration, there is a suspicion that the causes behind Congress's rejection are not so noble.... From the point of view of U.S. interests and the interests of the rest of the world, they are wrong. They undermine the credibility and confidence in the United States on the part of its friends, and they are sending the worst of signals to all its adversaries."
SLOVENIA: "U.S. Senate's Bad Day"
Left-of-center Delo had this commentary (10/18): "It is really hard to understand the shortsightedness of U.S. (Republican) Senators. It can only be explained with self-satisfaction of people who simply do not care about the world...and who have lost the only outside enemy they used to be afraid of--the Soviet Union.... The vote...will add wind to the sails of [the countries which wish to possess] nuclear weapons and aggravate the work of the Clinton administration and lessen its reputation."
SPAIN: "U.S. Abandons Its Nonproliferation Leadership"
Independent El Mundo commented (10/15): "The U.S. Senate's decision...demonstrates that the United States is more preoccupied with its internal political battles than with the influence that the world's principal nuclear power can bring to bear on other countries that may be developing a nuclear capability.... Clinton's failure to win approval...demonstrates his weakness domestically. But it also manifests the peculiar nature of American leadership in the post-Cold War era: that of a military, economic, and technological giant with moral feet of clay."
"Giant Step Backwards"
Liberal El Pais judged (10/15): "The Senate's rejection...is bad news for humanity. The irresponsible attitude of the Senate's Republican majority weakens global efforts to combat proliferation...and raises questions about the capacity for leadership of the world's only superpower....
"With what moral authority can the United States now demand that such perennial rivals as India and Pakistan comply with the CTBT? And who can now predict what China or even Russia will do in light of what could be interpreted as a license to continue testing?"
SWEDEN: "A Dangerous Senate Decision"
Independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter argued (10/15): "We have now seen evidence of the worst kind of a narrow Republican outlook. The perspective (of the senators) was strictly an American one and negative international consequences were disregarded. The likelihood that Russia, China, India and Pakistan now will ratify the treaty is diminished.... For Clinton...the vote was a great political setback.... The vote might result in a dangerous armament spiral, to the detriment of narrow-minded Americans, too."
SWITZERLAND: "A Disastrous Signal"
Washington correspondent Ignaz Staub front-paged this comment in left-leaning, largest-circulation Tages-Anzeiger (10/15): "The Republicans wanted to inflict a painful defeat on Clinton and they succeeded. The signal, however, is disastrous.... Rather than helping the United States maintain its important advantage, [the rejection] could allow other countries to test nuclear bombs and reduce the gap."
"Flawed Tactics And Clinton's Exaggerated Rhetoric"
Deputy editor-in-chief Daniel Kamer stated in Switzerland's most influential center-right Neue Zuercher Zeitung (10/15): "As a consequence of flawed tactics and exaggerated rhetoric, President Clinton and the Democrats failed in the Senate with the CTBT. The immediate effects of this defeat will remain limited. The world has neither become more dangerous over night--it remained dangerous."
ISRAEL: "Washington Does Not Trust The Treaty"
Meir Shteiglitz wrote in mass-appeal, pluralist Yediot (10/14): "The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate turned down Clinton's appeal to ratify the CTBT, thus badly hurting other nonproliferation treaties. The nuclear arms race is going to raise its ugly head--which this time may turn out to be even uglier than during the Cold War.... U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, a treaty opponent, argued that 'our enemies should be made to realize that our weapons work.'... If nations such as Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan take the cue from the senator, the whole world may soon find out the hard way that nuclear weapons do indeed do their jobs."
LEBANON: "The Slap"
Awni al-Kaki penned this front-page editorial in pro-Syrian Bath paper Ash-Sharq (10/18): "The Senate's decision not to ratify the CTBT is the biggest slap an American president has ever suffered.... We simply believe that the Senate does not want to give President Clinton a chance to boost his candidate's (Al Gore) election campaign. What really matters to us is whether the Senate will limit the ability of the American administration to continue its role in the peace process.... The Senate's decision is dangerous because this means that it has the ability to cripple the peace process any time it wants."
MOROCCO: "U.S. Entertains Nuclear Danger"
Mohamed Benarbia front-paged this commentary in government-coalition, French-language Liberation (10/15): "The world will presently become more dangerous thanks to the Senate....
"The rejection is a major defeat for President Clinton. The best example was supposed to be set by the United States, which takes immense pleasure in teaching lessons to other countries every time the nuclear issue is mentioned.... The United States double-standard policy is well known.... The U.S. administration is in complete contradiction of moral values."
SAUDI ARABIA: "World Left To Bear The Consequences"
London-based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat ran this editorial (10/17): "Rejection of a compromise agreement was due to domestic strife between the two parties on the threshold of a presidential election campaign which has started early.... The entire world is left with no choice except to carry the burden of its (Senate failure to ratify the CTBT) consequences. These consequences are no less than the motivation for a new nuclear arms race."
SYRIA: "The Only Superpower"
Hanan Hamad wrote in government-owned Tishreen (10/18): "The U.S. Congress refusal to ratify the [CTBT] demonstrates that the United States priority is to maintain its supremacy by continuing to develop its military capabilities."
AUSTRALIA: "U.S. Politics Undermines Test Treaty"
Syndey's conservative Australian (10/18) had this editorial: "The Republican Party placed long-term security behind shallow political point scoring last week.... The timing of the move, amid fears of a nuclear arms race breaking out on the Asian sub-continent, makes it especially lamentable.... Even in the wake of the Clinton impeachment case, it is surprising that Republicans would take political partisanship to such a low. They have diminished Clinton's foreign policy legacy...but they have done so at unacceptable cost. That cost will be borne by people around the world..... A blow to world safety: The U.S. Senate's rejection of the test ban treaty is a setback to world disarmament."
"The Republicans Have Extracted Their Revenge At Last"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald had this analysis by Gay Alcorn (10/15): "What Clinton has called the 'longest sought, hardest fought prize in the history of arms control' is dead in the water and Clinton...is looking like a lame-duck president.... While there are some real issues here, what was on display this week in Washington was mostly raw politics.... Not that the White House didn't bungle the politics: It did nothing about the treaty for two years and was unprepared when the Senate Republican leader brought it up for a vote.... The world community does not see the political brinkmanship in the U.S. Senate. It sees America, so often the moralizer to the rest of the world, as wanting to keep its own options open while denying other nations theirs."
CHINA: "Stop Double Standard Trick"
Xin Bei said in the official English-language China Daily (10/16): "It is not a surprise at all that in a country like the United States, which has always put its own interests above that of all other members of the international community, there could be so many politicians who were not hesitant to put their political interests above the country's utmost interests, not to mention mankind's common interests.... The United States not only has vigorously developed and proliferated advanced missile defense systems, breeding risks for an arm race at a higher level, but even went so far to be the first country legislating against the CTBT.... The United States should stop playing its double standard trick on arms control and fulfill its obligation to the world."
"What Example Will U.S. Show The Rest Of The World?"
Ma Shikun and Zhang Yong judged in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 10/15): "Despite the fact that the United States depicts itself as the world's leader in the prevention of nuclear proliferation, it actually attaches no importance to the world's security. Very often, the United States adopts a dual standard in international affairs, for which the Senate's rejection of CTBT is another example."
HONG KONG: "Harmful Behavior"
The independent South China Morning Post's editorial remarked (10/15): "If senators have really been motivated by concern that a test ban would jeopardize U.S. security by making it hard to maintain a reliable nuclear arsenal, they could have accepted the White House offer to defer a decision on the issue. Instead, they insisted on pushing for a vote mainly to inflict a defeat on Clinton. Such short-sighted behavior has harmed the interests of not only the United States, but also the whole world."
JAPAN: "U.S. Must Be Responsible For Disarmament, Nonproliferation"
Liberal Asahi's editorial insisted (10/15): "It is very regrettable to say that the United States, the only superpower in the post-Cold War era, has turned inward and surrendered its global leadership. Russia and China had postponed ratifying the treaty, while keeping a close watch on political moves in the United States. Following the Senate's rejection, the two nuclear powers will evidently become more reluctant to ratify the accord. To make matters worse, the rejection will also prompt India and Pakistan to become even more unwilling to sign the treaty. Moreover, international calls urging North Korea to sign the CTBT will also become less persuasive. What we are most concerned with is the fact that without the ratification of the CTBT, there will be no legal means to check future nuclear tests.... We strongly hope that other nuclear powers will not take advantage of the U.S. Senate rejection to resume their own nuclear experiments. In the meantime, Mr. Clinton will have to redouble his efforts...to have the Senate ratify the treaty."
MALAYSIA: "Paving The Road To Doomsday"
The government-influenced New Straits Times commented (10/16): "The vote against the ratification...reveals the bellicosity and underlying hypocrisy of American diplomacy.... It punched a large hole in the global nonproliferation effort and will, undoubtedly, encourage other nation-states to break out of a regime of nuclear restraint. It is likely that the same fate awaits the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.... The world can only wonder how much longer it will be held in thrall by a nation that seems totally devoid of an ethical impulse to guide its technological prowess."
"U.S. Senate Acts Against Wishes Of The World"
Chinese-language Sin Chew Jit Poh emphasized (10/15): "The rejection of the CTBT...is a setback for Clinton's foreign policy as well as the United States' international image.... The Senate's...decision will...endanger the world.... It is sheer rubbish for the Republican senators to state that the treaty is not advantageous to the United States.... The world's sole superpower has set a bad example.... Surely this will give every excuse for countries like Iraq and Iran to develop their nuclear capability."
PHILIPPINES: "U.S. Behaving Like Third-Rate Banana Republic"
Columnist Jose Guevara insisted in the conservative, top-circulation Manila Bulletin
(10/18): "Many think the United States is behaving like a third rate banana republic. A pity."
"No High Motives For Rejecting CTBT"
Former presidential spokesperson Horacio Paredes judged in the independent Malaya (10/18): "The rejection did not come from any superior understanding of country and the world and their needs.... What made the U.S. Senate reject the treaty was--pure and simple--that the Republican majority...hated the guts of Bill Clinton.... If Clinton wants something, they automatically, mindlessly oppose it."
SINGAPORE: "Dicing With The Bomb"
The pro-government Straits Times' (10/18) editorial said: "The nuclear test ban treaty is dead. The Republicans...killed it. Clinton has suffered one of his biggest foreign policy defeats. The Senate's refusal to ratify the global pact has not only undermined America's leadership role to prevent nuclear nonproliferation, it has also sent a wrong signal to the rest of the world. Other nuclear powers and aspiring ones may now be tempted to think the de facto worldwide test ban is off. This is dangerous, but did the Republican senators care? Obviously not.... [They] are living in a world of their own if they think they think their rejection...has no international repercussions.... The danger now is that without U.S. support...the treaty could unravel.... America's rejection of the pact could, ironically, erode its lead in nuclear weaponry, because it may encourage low-yield testing by Russia and other countries.... To be sure, Mr. Clinton himself bears some responsibility for the debacle.... He did little to build support for the treaty until the Republicans caught his administration flat-footed."
SOUTH KOREA: "U.S. Loses Moral Authority"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo opined (10/16): "Now that the U.S. Senate has rejected the CTBT, our greatest fear is that nations will move toward unilateral development of nuclear weapons.... The international community has warned in unison of the serious ramifications the treaty's rejection...and Senate Republicans must heed those warnings..... The United States well deserves criticism for acting so selfishly...and it is no wonder that the defeat of the treaty dealt a blow to Clinton's leadership both at home and on the international stage."
"A Fatal Blow To America's Nuclear Diplomacy"
Washington correspondent Yoon Sung-yong of moderate Hankook Ilbo argued (10/15): "The vote struck a critical blow to U.S. leadership...on global nuclear nonproliferation.... The very notion of global efforts to contain nuclear weapons is now endangered.... The United States has now lost moral authority to contain nuclear aspirations.... The Senate vote is the first obvious case to indicate that Clinton has become a lame duck."
THAILAND: "Isolating America"
The lead editorial of the independent, English-language Nation stressed (10/18): "The [Senate] decision...is just the latest in a series of issues which appear to be isolating America.... A weak president coupled with deep and damaging partisan politics...have become the order of the day in Washington.... The reality of international relations is that with a sole superpower, when its roles are not properly defined or justified, a vacuum will emerge.... [For this reason], countries in Asia are, by and large, at a threshold, wanting greater involvement by China and Japan."
VIETNAM: "About The U.S. Senate's Rejection Of The CTBT"
Viet Trung commented in Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon-the mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Party, 10/15): "This event has dealt Clinton a severe foreign policy defeat and paralyzed global efforts to curtail the spread of nuclear arms.... The United States wants to maintain its nuclear superiority.... This defeat has reduced the U.S.' prestige."
BANGLADESH: "Sowing Doubts About U.S. Leadership"
An op-ed page article in the independent Daily Star held (10/17): "The defeat of the CTBT...would definitely weaken arms control efforts...and sow doubts about the state of American leadership. Whatever the critics might say, the treaty makes it much harder for the countries with advanced nuclear weapons to produce new and more threatening types of nuclear warheads. And it also helps to prevent nations with smaller arsenals...from making nuclear warheads which are more easily deliverable by missiles.... The failure to ratify will definitely set back efforts to control the spread of weapons.... First, it would weaken the effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.... Second, the U.S. failure to honor its commitment to the test ban treaty would undercut its status as a world leader."
INDIA: "Senate Dumps Arms Control?"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan penned this analysis (10/17) in the centrist Hindu which said in part: "This is the surest recipe for unravelling the existing fabric of global arms control. The approach being adopted by the Senate is also likely to exacerbate the current tension in the United States' relations with both Moscow and Beijing and destabilize the the global security environment.... Looking beyond the CTBT, India must begin to think through the new challenges to global arms control from the unilateralist policies being adopted by sections of the U.S. establishment."
An editorial in the right-of-center Indian Express indicated (10/15): "The treaty must be saved without waiting for America to take the lead...because there is no better deal on the table for slowing down...the development of new nuclear weapons and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by more states."
"CTBT Fails The Test"
In the editorial view of the centrist Times of India (10/15): "The U.S. Senate's rejection...will make it absolutely certain that the treaty will not be ratified by Russia and China.... While Clinton blames the Repubicans for the CTBT debacle, the responsibility for the treaty's defeat must largely be borne by himself and his administration.... Clinton's credibility on foreign policy issues has suffered a very serious setback."
"Setback For CTBT"
The right-of-center Pioneer contended (10/15): "Whatever the reasons, the refusal of the U.S. Senate to ratify the CTBT all but kills a multilateral arrangement that was designed to halt...nuclear proliferation.... Theoretically, the Senate vote reopens the door for any country to resume testing.... There is little doubt that the world would have taken note of the fact that the United States, an evangelist when it comes to preaching nuclear celibacy to others, wants no curbs at all on its own weapons program. This vindicates India's...argument that the nuclear regime is discriminatory."
PAKISTAN: "Sealing The CTBT's Fate"
An editorial in Karachi-based, independent Dawn maintained (10/18): "The Senate's refusal to ratify the CTBT comes as a serious blow to the future prospects of this major treaty.... The Senate's move is blatantly a political one which does not take into consideration the strategic and nonproliferation implications of non-ratification....
"President Clinton has made it clear that the Senate's rejection...does not mean that his administration will be testing.... No one would doubt the credentials of the Clinton administration with respect to the CTBT.... What is, however, not so convincing is America's commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons from the arsenals of all powers, including its own. Without a firm commitment to this goal, the credibility of the United States' stance on nonproliferation will always remain suspect."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Reckless Senators"
The independent, influential Business Day ran this editorial (10/16): "The result has not only left egg on Clinton's face but, more significantly, has called into question the United States' claim to moral authority and global leadership. If the worlds only superpower is willing to turn its back on nuclear containment, what hope is there that more volatile nations will exercise restraint?... The U.S. vote does nothing to discourage countries like Pakistan, India and China from exporting their know-how to other would-be nuclear powers."
"America's Double Standards"
The centrist Pretoria News offered this view (10/16): "The U.S. Senate has gravely abdicated its leadership on arms control in the post-Cold War era and has squandered its leverage in convincing other countries to refrain from testing nuclear weapons.... This [vote] leaves us with the impression that America is by implication asking the world for its trust, but showing it none in return. Nuclear weapons, it seems to be arguing by its actions, are safe in its hands only--and no other nations. It is nothing less than a double standard. By dumping the treaty in the dustbin, U.S. lawmakers have veered away from a noble global arms control effort.... It also erodes confidence in Washington's leadership."
ARGENTINA: "U.S. Credibility Damaged"
Ana Baron, leading Clarin's Washington-based correspondent, commented (10/15): "Undoubtedly, U.S. credibility has been damaged on an international level."
BRAZIL: "The Senate Farce"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo ran this piece (10/15): "[The vote] shows how much the great nation's Senate can be frivolous, irresponsible, irascible and dangerous. No one doubts that...the Senate wanted first of all to humiliate Clinton.... The dangers opened up by the Senate's decision are infinite: Permission was given to all nations...to continue their experiments with tranquility, because the strongest of all...may go on with its tests. The fact that this Senate's farce has occurred at the moment when Pakistan is being given over to a general adds a pinch of irony and of terror to this situation."
An analysis in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (10/15) by Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva held: "The humiliating defeat suffered by Clinton proves that since the beginning of the Lewinsky scandal he has been unable to govern..... The vote is also significant because it reaffirms the increasing feeling of isolationism in U.S. society.... It certainly raises serious doubts about the U.S. capacity to honor its international commitments.... Clinton's incompetence and the Republicans' opportunism nurture isolationism."
CANADA: "An Inexcusable Failure"
Quebec's English-language Gazette remarked (10/16): "The U.S. Senate made the world a more dangerous place this week when it rejected...the treaty.... It seemed clear that domestic politics, and not policy arguments, influenced how senators voted.... The U.S. Senate had a chance to show real global leadership this week. Inexcusably, it chose to act on partisan considerations."
"U.S. Nuclear Folly"
The liberal Toronto Star (10/15) commented: "In a world where countries like India and Pakistan are busy arming themselves with nuclear weapons, complacency invites catastrophe. But the blinkered Republicans...are unconcerned. In their partisan frenzy to embarrass Clinton and the Democrats...they have just abdicated American leadership, ignored the wishes of 8 in 10 voters, and scuttled the best chance yet to make nuclear weapons obsolete and the world safer.... Had the Senate ratified, other holdout countries would have had no credible excuse to refuse. That would have increased the chances of 'freezing' nuclear bomb technology at current levels, boosting arms control."
COSTA RICA: "U.S. Congress Bears Responsibility"
San Jose's top-rated news radio station "Radio Reloj" told listeners (10/15): "It is really hard to understand the rejection...by the U.S. Senate.... The United States cannot and must not fail in its commitment as the world leader for peace.... The Republican Party and the Senate should be told that the fate of humanity is in their hands. There are times in history when the U.S. Congress must address the future of peace and not the petty interests of party politics."
MEXICO: "Nuclear Risks Again Present"
Nationalist La Cronica ran this editorial (10/15): "The Senate refusal to ratify the treaty...is not only [Clinton's] own defeat but a defeat for the whole world because the irresponsible and senseless vote will encourage the nuclear arms race.... It seems as if they felt that pouring more money into manufacturing weapons as opposed to spending more on diplomacy would yield better results.... The United States is the spearhead of nuclear power in the world, and it should set an example for other nations.... The radical stand of the Republicans...has turned the world into a more dangerous place."
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