|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Monday's opening of the NPT Review Conference, coupled with the Russian Duma's back-to-back ratification of START II and the CTBT, put the world press spotlight squarely on the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plan, capping a spate of criticism of U.S. arms control and defense policy not seen since last fall's Senate defeat of the CTBT. Leading papers in NATO countries (including Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Canada) as well as others in Russia, China, Japan, India, Israel and Mexico judged that the U.S. will--rightly in the view of many--be singled out for strong rebuke at the NPT meeting for pursuing what was characterized as a "dangerous" and "destabilizing" anti-missile system. With few exceptions, the consensus view was that NMD, expensive and technologically unproven, threatens "to jeopardize the whole system of nuclear disarmament" and "unleash a new arms race, scuppering international treaties on the way." Meanwhile, editorialists from nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states alike--while applauding Russian approval of START II and the CTBT--deplored the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament since the 1995 Extension Conference. As the "leading nuclear power," the U.S.--argued London's liberal Guardian in a typical view--"bears grave responsibility for this apparent impasse." Commentary highlights follow:
DUMA VOTES PUT ONUS ON U.S.; WHITHER ABM: A range of Russian papers stressed that the recent Duma votes would bear fruit at the NPT meeting by demonstrating to other treaty parties Moscow's bona fides on nuclear security, and strengthen the Kremlin's hand in talks with the U.S. on START III and ABM. "Russia leads the way in reducing the global nuclear threat, whereas the U.S. suggests changes that undermine the foundation of strategic stability," insisted one writer, referring to NMD. Reformist dailies Izvestiya and Kommersant have argued in recent days that compromise on the ABM Treaty is possible if Washington makes concessions on other agreements, i.e. START III. But Foreign Minister Ivanov's April 25 statement reiterating Russia's steadfast opposition to treaty changes led centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta to conclude that it should "put an end...to speculation..that Moscow may give in to Washington." The paper further warned, "For the U.S. to withdraw from ABM would be a unilateral move fraught with negative consequences."
'PESSIMISTIC OUTLOOK' ON NPT: Variously citing the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, the U.S. Senate's rejection of the test ban, ongoing deadlock at the UN's Conference on Disarmament, and "NATO and Russia's reaffirmation" of their respective nuclear doctrines, opinionmakers from Europe to East and South Asia and the Middle East held that the "nuclear threat" persists and that the NPT is "in trouble." Echoing the view in other capitals, Jakarta's independent Kompas emphasized that the U.S., in particular, "had best begin manifesting true action toward its ultimate aim: international security without nuclear weapons." The paper added, "At this point there are no reassuring U.S. signals to the world."
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 69 reports from 32 countries, February 28 - April 27. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
RUSSIA: "Russia Right To Reject Modified ABM"
Dmitry Gornostayev said on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/27): "Based on the current dialogue, Moscow, according to Russian negotiators, is sure, first, that it is right to reject a modified ABM Treaty, and second, that the Americans are lying about NMD serving to shield them not from Russia's nuclear potential, but from the perceived danger of a nuclear attack by North Korea and Iran."
"Russia Dead Set Against Altering ABM"
Dmitry Gornostayev stated on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/26): "Russia will not accept any changes in the ABM Treaty. This statement, made by Foreign Minister Ivanov...in New York yesterday, will probably put an end to some experts' speculation in Russia and abroad that Moscow may give in to Washington. For the United States to withdraw from ABM would be a unilateral move fraught with negative consequences, including for security of the United States itself."
Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (4/25) front-paged this by Sergei Merinov in New York: "New elements of the Russian defense doctrine related to nuclear weapons may not appeal to non-nuclear participants at the [NPT] conference, but our delegation must feel good, with the Duma having endorsed START II and CTBT."
"Moscow Immune To Criticism"
Leonid Gankin said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (4/25): "Moscow is thoroughly prepared: In the last two weeks the Duma has ratified START II and the CTBT. This has not only made it immune to criticism by nuclear disarmament enthusiasts, but will help Foreign Minister Ivanov in his chief mission to prepare for the Russian-American summit.... Moscow may agree to a modified ABM Treaty if Washington makes concessions on other agreements on arms control (primarily START III) and offers support for the Russian economy."
"True Alternative To NMD"
Dmitry Gornostayev held on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/25): "The New York conference may be a good chance for Russia to make use of the advantages it has gained by ratifying a package of international accords.... Also, it can tell many countries about its grave concern over the United States' NMD plans, taking this key issue of global security outside of the context of bilateral relations.... This can only do Moscow good, since its position looks more logical and honest.... Russia's idea of a global system to control the proliferation of rocket technologies is a real alternative to NMD. Unlike the American idea, it does not conflict with the existing international and bilateral agreements or threaten anybody's interests. Washington can't say 'no,' since it considers the proliferation of rockets and rocket technology a major security problem.... Russia leads the way in reducing the global nuclear threat, whereas the United States suggests changes that undermine the foundation of strategic stability."
"Russia Hopes To Beat U.S. In Disarmament Race"
Reformist Vremya Novostei (4/24) front-paged this by Yury Golotyuk: "Moscow hopes to regain its status as a 'global peacemaker' by coming up with a few peace initiatives, in addition to ratifying START II and CTBT. This is vital, since Russia can't ensure its security otherwise. Given the state of its economy, it can't afford a new arms race. So our only hope is to wear down the Americans in a 'disarmament race.' Only by enlisting international support can Moscow try to make Washington...review its own commitments.""
Russia Has Edge Over U.S."
Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (4/24) featured this comment by Leonid Gankin, Boris Volkhonsky and Syuzanna Farizova: "With CTBT ratified by the Duma, Russia has a certain moral edge over the United States on ABM. It has demonstrated that it really cares about international nuclear security.... Moscow is strongly opposed to the United States building up its ABM capability, with an overwhelming majority of nations, including the U.S.' allies, inclined to support the Russian stand. But standing its ground will not do Moscow much good--it needs the United States as a partner. So it will probably have to give in.... But Washington, too, will have to make concessions on START III and other arms control accords."
"Moscow's Hand Strengthened"
Dmitry Gornostayev stated on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/22): "In terms of strategic stability, CTBT ratification by the State Duma is a grand move, second in importance only to the endorsement of START II. Both strengthen Moscow's hand in its talks with the Americans. This will show as soon as next week at [the NPT] conference in New York."
"Russia Has An Edge Over U.S."
Dmitry Gornostayev stated in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/21): "Now is the time for manifest political steps toward strategic stability in the world. With START II and the related protocols ratified by the Duma, Russia is better placed than the United States as far as further talks on nuclear arms are concerned."
"Compromise On ABM Possible"
Georgy Bovt and Vladimir Yermolin said in reformist Izvestiya (4/19): "Agreement on the Clinton visit to Moscow is possibly due to new prospects for a compromise on ABM. ABM has become a serious test for Putin. Evidently, there is a chance for NMD. START III may provide for joint commitments regarding the development of, and control over, [missile defense systems]. Russia can build an effective NMD system quickly. So a bargain would be in order."
"ABM's Future Uncertain"
Reformist Segodnya (4/19) ran this by Nikolai Zimin in Washington and Andrei Smirnov: "It is unclear whether the sides will agree on ABM. Clinton would like a modified ABM Treaty to crown his presidency. As for Putin, it would be wrong for him to start out by making a concession to America on such an important matter."
"Russia Takes The Initiative"
Neo-communist Slovo (4/19-20) front-paged this piece by Stanislav Menshikov in Amsterdam: "By having START II ratified and urging talks on START III, Putin has taken the initiative."
"Way To START III Cleared"
Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (4/15) carried this by Vladimir Lapsky: "START II ratification has cleared the way to...START III. It is stark testimony that Russia, with a new president and Duma, seeks to enhance the entire system of international accords on arms control. There is also a strong link between START II ratification and ABM protocols, making it possible to keep the United States from withdrawing from the 1972 treaty."
BRITAIN: "The Peril Persists"
The liberal Guardian had this lead editorial (4/26): "The NPT Review Conference...deserves very serious attention. The treaty...is in trouble. In preparatory meetings, participants could not agree on the pace of the disarmament...new negotiations to curb the production of...fissile material; or how to speed [CTBT] ratification.... What this disarray means in practice, for example, is that countries like India and Pakistan are less likely to feel obliged to end the rival nuclear tests...that countries...suspected of seeking...nuclear capability, like Iran and Iraq, may face no new obstacles to their ambitions; that Israel...will be encouraged to continue its defiance of the NPT regime; and that countries which have forsworn the bomb...may come to reconsider their positions. The United States, the leading nuclear power, bears grave responsibility for this apparent impasse. It has failed to ratify the CTBT.... It is developing a treaty-busting national anti-ballistic missile defense.... It retains the right to 'first use' of nuclear weapons. And it is reportedly upgrading and stockpiling warheads which it was expected to destroy under START negotiations.... In vain does the United States insist that NMD is merely a defense against 'rogue' states. Russia and China, to name but two opponents, simply do not believe it and would no doubt take counter-measures if it were deployed. Worse still, NMD undermines the concept of deterrence, substituting for it the dangerously foolish idea of 'absolute security.' The advent of NMD brings the prospect of a 'limited' nuclear war closer."
The independent weekly Economist offered this view (4/22): "To many governments and lobby groups arriving in New York...for a month-long review of the [NPT]...last week's ratification by Russia's Duma of START II...rates barely a single cheer. They have some reason to feel gloomy. Since they last met...five years ago, India and Pakistan have blasted their way unofficially into the nuclear club. And the nuclear test ban still languishes unratified by most signatories, notably the United States.... Indeed, may governments...are losing patience with the slow progress of arms control. They are right to argue that America, Russia and the other world's nuclear powers should be doing more.... They are wrong, however, to disdain the achievement of the START talks.... Getting re-STARTed does several useful things at once. It signals that Putin's Russia is once again...open for arms-cutting business...[and] clears the way for a possible deal to prevent...a real bust-up over America's demand for modifications to the [ABM] Treaty.... Deeper cuts [than the original START III limits provide for] could...help persuade Russia to drop its reservations about America's plans for modest missile defenses.... If START III numbers dropped closer 1,000, Russia's problem in keeping up...would diminish, yet it would still have more than enough to overwhelm U.S. defenses. Hence, an obvious trade: deeper cuts to reassure Russia, combined with modest ABM twiddles to reassure America."
"Son Of Star Wars"
The liberal Guardian had this analysis by security affairs editor Richard Norton Taylor (4/19): "The U.S. plan, the 'son of Star Wars,' threatens to unleash a new arms race, scuppering international treaties on the way.... If North Korea, or any other 'rogue' state, wanted to attack U.S. interests, there are cheaper and easier ways of going about it.
"And there are other ways of bringing so-called rogue states into the fold...than constructing expensive and destabilizing...shields which threaten to unravel arms control agreements."
"An Umbrella Against The World"
Philip Stephens wrote in the independent Financial Times (4/14): "Seen from Europe's side of the Atlantic, making America safe will inevitably make the world more dangerous for its allies. Abrogating the 1972 ABM Treaty would make Russia feel more threatened. It would remove too, the remaining, flimsy restraints on nuclear proliferation. In Beijing's eyes, NMD has sinister implications. It might embolden a U.S.-defended Taiwan to declare independence. Safe behind its shield, the United States could threaten a first strike in the confidence it could neutralize any retaliation. NMD also decouples the United States from European security. For decades, the NATO Allies sheltered under the same umbrella.... Washington was as much at risk as Bonn or Paris. A shield around the United States upends that balance. If there is a significant threat from so-called rogue states, Europe becomes the obvious target--and its own strategic defenses are undermined."
"We Have Much To Fear From American Military Might"
The liberal Guardian had this op-ed essay by columnist Hugo Young (3/21): "A U.S. national missile defense (NMD)...is likely to become the greatest source of stress in the Western alliance.... NMD could become a new and fateful twist in an arms race which many people thought had subsided with the Cold War. For it will certainly destabilize the balance, and might well escalate the risk, under which every part of Europe lives. Why should Flyingdales be made available for a U.S. defensive shield which is not intended to cover Britain or anywhere else in Europe? It is America's answer to the threat it now sees from 'rogue states' which aspire to nuclear capacity and may acquire the means to deliver it. A system of missile interceptors will supposedly be ready for any attack from anywhere. This may or may not be achievable (but) a decision to deploy some kind of NMD has moved from hawkish fantasy to political imperative.... The program is so far-fetched, so upsetting to both Russia and China, and so destabilizing to the architecture of nuclear deterrence that there could come a time when Washington seizes on reasons not to proceed with it. But that time is not now.... In the end, Europe would be unwise to believe that, in the present mood of the Great Hegemon, its concerns will matter much."
FRANCE: "Clinton On The Launching Pad"
Jean-Jacques Mevel opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/27): "Major maneuvers in the nuclear sector are underway. Not at the UN...but between the Kremlin and the White House.... There is no doubt that something is up. First, because Madeleine Albright is back on all fronts of international diplomacy.... Also because of the high number of Russian-American meetings, organized for the most part at the last minute.... While the American people are absorbed with the Elian case, Bill Clinton has added an unscheduled stop in Moscow to his European tour.... Why all this movement? The answer lies in three simple letters: NMD.... America's intention to deploy a nuclear shield is a major challenge.... The other 'nuclear' partners need to be convinced, starting with Russia. If Clinton does not succeed, the Republicans have already made it clear they will not bother with so much politeness and go ahead anyway."
"A Pessimistic Outlook"
Patrick Sabatier held in left-of-center Liberation (4/26): "The nuclear threat has never been so serious.... Kofi Annan reminded everyone that 'rogue' states were not the only ones to be among the accused. The five nations which signed the NPT have not really respected their commitments....
"Madeleine Albright, who insisted that none of the five is in a position 'alone, to create the necessary conditions for total nuclear disarmament,' is nevertheless one of the accused. Essentially because of the NMD shield.... According to experts, this shield would be in total contradiction with what is generally considered to be the corner stone of the ABM Treaty.... Few are those who expect any concrete progress to emerge from the New York conference."
GERMANY: "Utopian Star Wars"
Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich held (4/27): "Plenty of technological reasons speak against a missile defense system. Apart from the estimated costs, which [the CBO] just increased by $4 billion to a total of $30 billion for the simple version of the system, scientists fear that the missile defense system will simply not work. Their arguments are convincing: Even defense against short- and mid-range missiles is more difficult than the military is willing to admit.... Long-range missiles fly faster and are therefore harder to intercept. Any enemy able to build intercontinental missiles should also be able to camouflage such weapons. The tricks are simple and range from the use of aluminum foil to balloon-decoys. In addition, the failed NMD test also points to a technology that is difficult to control. If Bill Clinton, nevertheless, decides in favor of NMD this fall, one consolation remains: Once before a U.S. president dreamed of a protective shield over the United States. A few years later the 'Star Wars' project was buried. The reasons: The price was too high, the technology too utopian."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger opined in a front-page editorial in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (4/26): "Madeleine Albright...unequivocally confirms that the United States is sticking to plans to deploy a NMD system.... Taken together with the refusal of the U.S. Senate to ratify the [CTBT], one could get the impression that the United States is not interested in pursuing further arms control efforts.... But it may be possible that a U.S.-Russian accord on amending the ABM Treaty could open the way for far-reaching strategic disarmament agreements. Something that is certainly in the general interest."
"Renaissance Of The Nuclear"
Stefan Kornelius wrote in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/26): "A specter is haunting the world--the specter of a new nuclear threat.... The U.S. NMD system will destroy the balance between the nuclear weapons states.... China, Russia and...Britain and France find themselves...in a second class of nuclear powers.... Strategic superiority will not exist for too long but only cause another arms spiral.... There are increasing voices in Western Europe--mainly in France--which are trying to get support for a 'strategic dialogue' between the Europeans and the Russians with the exclusion of the United States. The missile defense system thus nurtures forces who try to drive a wedge between the United States and its European allies."
"Putin's Nuclear Tactic"
Right-of-center, business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland argued (4/20): "Within a few weeks, Moscow has turned into a star of the disarmament scene, while the United States is considered a waverer.... Why then, is there all of a sudden so much Russian enthusiasm for the treaties? We should look to New York where the NPT Review Conference.... This is an outstanding international stage to tackle what is currently Russia's biggest security problem: U.S. [NMD] plans.... Putin is now looking for a deal with the United States which safeguards the nuclear strategic balance. With the ratification of START II and the CTBT, Putin has now made unilateral serious concessions....
"Washington should not hesitate for too long [to reward Russia].... A few holes in the protective shield should be up for negotiation to guarantee a nuclear balance between Russia and the United States."
ITALY: "Squabbles Over Space Shield Increasing"
Marco Valsania filed from New York for leading, business Il Sole-24 Ore (4/26): "Squabbles are increasing over the U.S. 'space shield.' Yesterday...Kofi Annan warned...that the U.S. project 'might cause the resumption of the arms race,' Secretary Albright replied by defending the U.S. effort...stating that the risks represented by countries like North Korea and Iran cannot be underestimated. All nuclear weapon states could be criticized during the [NPT] conference...[and] Washington is in the forefront...with...the new anti-missile system."
"Moscow Bans Nuclear Testing"
Renzo Cianfanelli filed from Moscow in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/22): "Just on the eve of the NPT conference...the Russian leader...put the Americans in a difficult situation. Moscow, in fact, outlines the 'flexibility' shown by Putin in contrast to the United States'...intention to reconsider nonproliferation accords.... But what Moscow is keeping silent about is that its ratifications...have been accompanied by its request that Washington give up its anti-missile project: a condition Washington is unlikely to accept."
"Signal From Putin"
Aldo Rizzo maintained in centrist, influential La Stampa (4/15): "From Putin's statements and the Duma resolution on START II, one can conclude that this new, stable Russia also intends to impose conditions on the U.S. superpower, mainly the renunciation of ABM revisions and of installation of anti-missile defense systems.... Washington should be very cautious in its strategic approach to Moscow in order not to compromise yesterday's important result."
AUSTRIA: "Putin Smells A Rat"
Burkhard Bischof held in prestigious Die Presse (4/27): "Putin...seems to have smelled a rat. If Washington wants to implement its missile defense plans in accordance with the [ABM], it will need Moscow's consent.... Moscow, on the other hand, demonstrated a lot of good will by ratifying [START II and the CTBT].... The United States threatens to isolate itself internationally with its missile defense program. Because not only Russia and China, 'threshold countries,' and 'rogue states' are watching the United States striving for absolute security with suspicion, but also the European allies; even neighboring Canada and Mexico, which would profit from the protective shield, do not feel at ease with Washington's plans.... The Americans are maneuvering themselves off-side; the transatlantic relations will deteriorate; and the embittered Europeans will pay tribute to the good 'disarmer' Putin and court him even more than before."
BELGIUM: "U.S. Target Of Bitter Criticism"
Pierre Lefevre wrote in independent Le Soir (4/27): "These last years, no progress has been made in nuclear disarmament.... Since last Monday, the nuclear powers--and the United States in particular--are the target of bitter criticism. NATO and Russia are still keeping nuclear weapons as the central element of their respective military doctrines. Since START II was signed in 1993, no other important agreement on arms reduction has been signed.... Madeleine Albright pointed out that the United States destroys about one hundred nuclear weapons each month, that it has dismantled about 60 percent of its nuclear arsenal since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that it has financed Russia's nuclear disarmament for $5 billion.
"But this is more about reducing disproportionate and costly arsenals than about abiding by the spirit of the NPT. [Despite] the arrival of Vladimir Putin and the prospect of START III...some fear that...a new arms race will be taking place, a race for anti-missile defense systems."
Bart Beirlant maintained in independent Catholic De Standaard (4/26): "Do not ask any longer for the time being: How do we make the world nuclear-free? Ask instead how do we avoid a new arms race? That shift is very much related to the U.S. plan to build a new anti-missile shield.... In Moscow, the Duma approved START II only on April 14, 2000. The three other official nuclear powers--France, Great Britain, and China--should expect criticism in New York for doing little all the time to achieve a nuclear-free world.... On top of that, the United States now threatens to jeopardize the whole system of nuclear disarmament with its NMD plans."
"World Strategic Balance Threatened By Americans"
In conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (4/22), Pascal Sac and Sabine Verhest observed: "If it is implemented, it is the entire world strategic balance...which is likely to be challenged. What are we talking about? About NMD.... The Allies have doubts about the system's efficiency and they choke when they hear about its cost. But, first and foremost, they are afraid that it challenges several agreements which were painfully negotiated. Indeed, to be allowed to deploy its umbrella, the United States must convince the Russians to modify the ABM Treaty, which would be a dangerous precedent. Not to mention that the NMD...is only aimed at protecting American territory, and that its implementation is likely to threaten one of NATO's ground rules, i.e., that an attack against one NATO member country must be considered an attack against all of them. Besides, the American project could have a consequence which would be opposed to the one expected: the resumption of the nuclear arms race..... No doubt a large part of the NPT conference...will be devoted to the U.S. project."
BULGARIA: "Farewell To Missiles"
Influential weekly Kapital commented (4/22-28): "Even if START II is fulfilled, the United States and Russia will have enough missiles at their disposal to destroy each other, along with the rest of the world, several times over. The ratification of the treaty...should be regarded as a demonstration of not only goodwill, but also of the pragmatism of Russia's foreign policy: Moscow cannot afford to build enough missiles to sustain parity with the United States, but it will at least try to keep it close."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "START II Sets A Good Example"
Kveta Buschova judged in economic Hospodarske Noviny (4/17): "START II is an impulse for more intensive Russian-American negotiations over next disarmament steps. By implementing START II, Moscow and Washington set a good example for other nuclear states to accelerate their disarmament efforts."
DENMARK: "START II And ABM Compromises"
Center-left Politiken opined (4/12): "Some of the Duma's members would like to have seen Russia use the ratification issue to force the United States to abandon its missile defense plans.... But, Putin appears to be of the opinion that START II ratification will enable Russia to reach a compromise on ABM."
FINLAND: "Is Jeopardizing Disarmament A Reasonable Trade-Off?"
Leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat's editorial read (4/15): "Putin got himself a weapon in talks with the Americans. He can now argue more convincingly that the NMD--which requires the scrapping of the ABM Treaty--is unnecessary and dangerous..... The NMD is causing jitters in U.S. relations with its European allies who fear that their own security will be diminished if the United States withdraws behind the shield of the missile defense. They fear that Russia may take countermeasures. Furthermore, China warns that NMD and U.S. plans to build a missile defense against short-range missiles in southeast Asia will endanger nonproliferation efforts.... Such broad opposition inevitably prompts the question if jeopardizing overall disarmament for the sake of the unproven NMD is reasonable."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Without Russian Consent"
Influential, liberal De Volkskrant held (4/17): "Finally. Seven years after the United States and Russia signed START II, that agreement can now be executed.... The Russian threat to stop cooperation on the reduction of nuclear weapons is not of major military importance. But from a political point of view...ignoring their objections will make the Russians feel humiliated and hostile..... The United States would do the right thing by not installing an anti-nuclear weapons shield without Russian consent."
NORWAY "Knee-Jerk Reaction Against U.S.?"
In moderately conservative, newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (4/18), freelance journalist and former staff member in the office of the NATO Secretary General, Leif Klette commented: "It is clear that NMD will be in conflict with the ABM Treaty.... [But] it is totally absurd to claim that it undermines the deterrent concept between the superpowers..... While some international reaction against NMD has been pure rhetoric, the United States must consider other states' genuine security policy concerns.... [Yet] while some see NMD as an expression of American defense policy paranoia, the question can also be asked whether European skepticism represents an ostrich-like policy in the face of a security challenge only a few years ahead."
SPAIN: "U.S. Bears Responsibility For What Is Happening In Russia"
Hermann Tertsch commented in center-left El Pais (4/27): "Washington--and especially the Senate--bears much responsibility for what is happening in Russia as regards arms control. The opposition Republicans' obsession with humiliating President Clinton contributed to their refusing to ratify the CTBT. This has impelled the Russians to...announce a new military strategy based on the country's nuclear deterrent."
SWEDEN: "Low Expectations"
Independent, liberal tabloid Expressen commented on the NPT meeting (4/25): "Expectations are low because the nuclear disarmament process in recent years has been slow.... It is true that Russia recently has taken a few symbolic steps towards nuclear disarmament...but...Russia's reduced military capability has resulted in a new...military doctrine in which the country reserves itself the right of a first strike.... President Clinton is expected to make a final NMD decision this summer, but the common understanding is that those in favor of the system have already won the debate. The United States' desire to have a defense against missiles from rogue states like Iraq and North Korea is quite understandable. But in practice the NMD might trigger a new arms race."
TURKEY: "Russia's Dilemma"
Mensur Akgun wrote in intellectual/liberal Yeni Binyil (4/19): "Russia is experiencing a dilemma: when and if...the ABM agreement becomes void, that will be a kind of death sentence for Russia. Russia then will have either to compete with the United States on nuclear missile technology...or accept U.S supremacy."
AUSTRALIA: "Crisis Over Nuclear Treaty Revives Security Fears"
In the national business Australian Financial Review (2/28), defense commentator Geoffrey Barker gave this op-ed view: "At present, the NPT is in danger of slowly eroding unless the Big Five...comply with their commitments. There are no easy answers, but there is merit in Labor's call for an urgent review of Australia's disarmament policies, and in former President Carter's demand for maximum public pressure to ensure that the NPT is...honored by all nations."
CHINA: "Nuclear Threat Still A Danger"
Xin Bei commented in the official, English-language China Daily (4/20): "Russia's ratification of START II is commendable.... Ignoring other countries' security concerns, the United States blatantly threatened the ongoing arms control process with a series of aggressive moves. Buoyed by superior national strength, Cold War diehards in the United States have gone far to pull the world back into another dangerous arms race.... All peace-loving people...should stand against any U.S. intention to undermine the world's strategic balance."
"Russian-U.S. Nuclear Disarmament Differences"
Tang Jinxiu wrote in the official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 4/12): "The genuine differences between the United States and Russia over arms control are whether to maintain the current nuclear balance or break it.... It is known to all that the United States' NMD system is not in any way solely for defense use. Once the NMD system is completed, the entire U.S. weapon arsenal will be upgraded to a new level."
INDONESIA: "Naturally U.S. On Defensive At UN Nuclear Conference"
Leading, independent Kompas maintained (4/27): "The United States has had numerous explanations for its tardiness in undertaking initiatives to control [its] nuclear capabilities.... The United States' apparent lack of conviction raises doubts among other nuclear powers considering unilateral efforts. In addition, it detracts from the United States' moral legitimacy, causing others...like India, Pakistan and Israel to consider it appropriate to argue on behalf of their national interests.... Secretary Albright seemingly wishes to give the impression that transforming the long-standing system...will not be easy. She has warned the world to avoid radical change.... Even if that argument has some truth, the United States had best begin manifesting true action toward the ultimate aim: international security without nuclear weapons. At this point, there are no reassuring U.S. signals to the world."
JAPAN: "U.S. On Defensive At NPT Review Meeting"
Liberal Mainichi's Washington correspondent Fuse observed (4/25): "Having failed to convince the Senate to ratify the CTBT last fall, the U.S. government is being subjected to Russia's 'nuclear disarmament' diplomatic offensive. Although Secretary Albright is to speak...at the opening-day session of the NPT review...U.S. leadership on NPT seems to be declining....
"The United States is trying to revise the ABM Treaty.... Having failed to block the Senate's CTBT rejection or to curb the congressional call for NMD deployment, it is not certain whether the United States will take the initiative in promoting nonproliferation and disarmament."
"Danger Of Installing NMD System"
Liberal Asahi's senior writer Funabashi observed (3/2): "Should the United States go ahead with the NMD system by scrapping the ABM Treaty, it would not only upset the U.S.-Russia nuclear balance, but would also prompt the Russians to strengthen their nuclear capability again. Considering the American NMD system a 'plot' against China, the Chinese will also most likely try to strengthen their 'second' (retaliatory) nuclear strike capability. The scrapping of the ABM Treaty would trigger a nuclear arms race, crumbling the NPT regime from the ground up. That would be a very serious matter to Japan, too.... A strong [Sino-Russian] backlash is also expected over the joint U.S. and Japanese development of a theater missile defense (TMD) system. Should the United States' NMD system...take shape, it would adversely affect and even weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance, since, as a rule, an alliance remains close and strong based on the partners' shared concern over a possible threat."
PHILIPPINES: "NMD Deflates Hope For Nuclear-Free World"
Geopolitics expert Ben Lim of the University of the Philippines wrote in the independent Philippine Post (4/5): "With...NMD as well as TMD's in other countries, once again the measure of military superiority and national security will depend on the numbers and types of nuclear warheads and the nuclear defense system a country possesses. The optimism of those who believe that a nuclear-free world can be achieved early in the next century is now deflated by President Clinton's NMD.... The gains from 50 years of negotiations that started with ABM, INF, SALT I and II and the NPT...will be relegated once more to the dustbin of history."
NORTH KOREA: "U.S. Moves To Establish 'Missile Defense System'"
Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency ran this piece (2/28): "The United States is working hard to justify its moves to create a [NMD] system under the pretext of the 'DPRK's missile threat.'... It is quite natural for various countries around the world, including EU member states, to have opposed those moves of the United States.... The United States' development of the 'missile defense' system...marks an occasion of escalating a global arms race."
SOUTH KOREA: "Criticism Of America's NMD"
Tokyo correspondent Han Sung-dong observed in independent Hankyoreh Shinmun (4/27): "With America promoting the NMD system, the course of debate suddenly appears to be changing.... Russia, China and even traditional U.S. allies are already outraged, opposing the U.S. plan.... The United States insists the NMD is only for defense against such rogue nations."
VIETNAM: "U.S. Threatens New Global Arms Race"
Tuong Van wrote in Sai Gon Giai Phong, mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Party (4/26): "Thirty years after signing the NPT, the world now faces a reality that the United States is using the NPT as a tool to dispossess the nuclear weapons of other countries while giving itself the right to go against the NPT. If this remains unchanged, a new global arms race with an unbridled development of weapons of mass destruction is likely."
BANGLADESH: "On Ratification Of START II"
Conservative, Bangla-language Ittefaq commented (4/19): "It is true that the world will not be free of the threat of nuclear weapons even after the full implementation of the START II.... However, we welcome the ratification of the agreement by the Russian parliament.... We hope all nations will sign and ratify the CTBT immediately."
INDIA: "Nuclear India And The NPT"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan penned this analysis (4/27) in the centrist Hindu: "India...must communicate the significance of its impeccable nonproliferation credentials to the NPT Review Conference.... India's proclaimed policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, its proposal at the UN urging all nuclear weapon states to review their nuclear doctrines...and its support for nuclear-free zones in various regions...aligns it with the majority sentiment at the conference.... As a new nuclear weapon state, India has a credible message to offer.... India must now begin a serious engagement of the NPT system."
The centrist Times of India ran this editorial (4/24): "In ratifying the CTBT...Russia has focused attention on the biggest violator of international nuclear norms--the United States.... Russia has also clearly warned that it would quit START II if the United States proceeded with its NMD...[which] has the potential of unleashing a new arms race.... Therefore, the first and foremost task of the [NPT] conference is to come out with a strong declaration against the upcoming arms race and warn the United States not to go against international nuclear norms.... Five years after the legitimization of nuclear weapons through an indefinite extension of the NPT, the promised CTBT and fissile materials production cutoff are still to materialize. Instead...the United States has launched its NMD program, the United States and Russia have refurbished and upgraded thousands of new nuclear warheads, China continues to violate article I of the NPT, and NATO and Russia have reaffirmed the offensive 'first strike' doctrine."
The centrist Times of India held (4/19): "The Duma's ratification of START II...comes...with a rider attached: Russia would quit the treaty if the United States were to go ahead with its NMD program.... Simultaneously, the Chinese have indicated that they would review their arms control...policies.... Under these circumstances, the U.S. attempt to unleash a new arms race in defiance of all international norms could become the main focus of the NPT conference."
"NMD's Benefits And Casualties"
The nationalist Hindustan Times (4/19) had this piece by security analyst Brahma Chellaney: "For Washington, missile defenses carry both benefits and risks.... If NMD is seen to work, the United States could extend a 'missile umbrella' to its allies.... India could seek strategic cooperation with Washington to derive...missile defense benefits to help reduce its burden of developing appropriate countermeasures against the burgeoning Chinese missile might.... NMD's biggest casualty, however, will be international arms control. China is already holding up all work in Geneva, including negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, by linking everything to missile defenses. Putin has already indicated he will not brook a more ambitious NMD system.... On balance, India needs to take an unruffled, non-judgmental view of any U.S. decision to go ahead with NMD deployment....
"It is the sovereign right of every nation to defend its security by appropriate means. U.S. missile defenses will not threaten India's security. In fact, India could potentially seek to derive, in partnership with Washington, some benefits."
"Non-Nuclear Weapon States' Disillusionment"
The pre-economic reform Economic Times had this analysis on the upcoming NPT Review Conference by K. Subrahmanyam (4/4): "The situation today is one of total disillusionment to non-nuclear weapon states. The CTBT has been rejected by the U.S. Senate and has not been ratified by China and Russia.... The newly released Russian security doctrine asserts the role of nuclear weapons and as did the NATO doctrine...in 1999. The United States is unleashing a new arms race with unforeseeable consequences by initiating...its [NMD] program. That has led to increased resources commitment by China to counter it. The continuing Chinese nuclear proliferation to Pakistan is no longer a secret.... The NPT has not been taken seriously by the nuclear hegemonic powers."
EGYPT: "Should Israel Remain Outside Regime"
An unsigned editorial in pro-government Al-Ahram read (4/27): "For Israel to remain outside the [NPT]...could lead to...radical questions concerning the validity of the agreement itself. Certainly it is in the interests of all the parties that there be support for the agreement, because nuclear proliferation is a danger that threatens everybody. But...the nuclear situation in some areas cannot remain in a state of stalemate forever."
ISRAEL: "Back To The Cold War"
Analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in independent Haaretz (4/27): "The continuing efforts of the Republicans to force the administration to approve deployment of the [NMD] system may lead to the total collapse of global strategic stability.... Republican presidential candidate George Bush Jr. already announced that if elected, he will go ahead and deploy the system 'as soon as possible.' President Clinton's...fears of the Republican majority on the Hill, coupled with his concern over Al Gore's presidential prospects, may prompt him to decided in favor of this very expensive and ineffective NMD system.... Just when the Russian parliament is moving toward reconciliation, American politics are bowing to partisan and election pressures and making the world a less secure place to live in--in the best tradition of the Cold War."
JORDAN: "Israel's Nuclear Mystery, Until When?"
Urayb Rintawi wrote on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Al-Dustur (4/26): "Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not yet signed the NPT.... The Arab campaign led by Egypt against Israel's nuclear program may not succeed.... Yet with the peace process and the continuous Arab pressure in this regard, it will become difficult for Israel to keep up its nuclear mystery policy."
SYRIA: "NPT On Scales"
Riad Zein put forth this view in the government-owned Syria Times (4/27): "The dream [of dismantling nuclear arms] will not come true unless the superpowers, mainly the United States, abide by provisions of the international treaties calling for curbing the horrible nuclear weapons."
CANADA: "Risky Drift"
The liberal Toronto Star (4/26) wrote: "The U.S. Senate remains hostile to the CTBT.... And Bill Clinton's unilateral missile-defense scheme, which has deservedly come under fierce attack at the UN, threatens to wreck the...ABM Treaty [which] needs shoring up, not gutting."
"Russia Is Back On World Stage"
The left-of-center Edmonton Journal (4/26) stressed: "From the Russian point of view, approving START II is a no-brainer.... More importantly, it puts the international public relations problem on nuclear weapons and disarmament more unequivocally on American shoulders. The Jesse Helms Senate must now pass certain enabling resolutions or expose itself on the world stage as the real impediment. Further, Russian willingness to implement START II, and proposals for even more drastic reductions in [START III]...will make it far more painful for the Americans to proceed with their current 'Star Wars' anti-missile scheme.... Russian approval of the test-ban treaty is an even better-aimed diplomatic blow at Washington."
"A Nice Start"
The conservative Halifax Herald held (4/17): "The United States must ask itself whether its current nuclear policy truly serves its best interest. Is it better to continue negotiations to reduce the thousands of warheads already pointed at it? Or should it build a slingshot that might knock out a handful of rockets that no one has deployed yet? If the United States proceeds with NMD, on the heels of last year's embarrassing rejection of the CTBT...it is the one the rest of the world will view as a nuclear 'rogue' state."
"Russia's Welcome Move To Curb Nuclear Folly"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (4/16): "Putin deserves credit for getting parliament to ratify [START II].... Putin deserves a sympathetic hearing as well when he urges Clinton to defer his expected decision...to build a missile defense.... Why court a crisis when the Russians are busy scrapping weapons?"
"A Missile Defense System That Offers Little Defense"
Under the subhead, "Canada should resist U.S. attempts to secure its support for the baby Star Wars project," the leading Globe and Mail queried (4/10): "The two most important questions about the proposed U.S. NMD system are: Would it work, and would it strengthen or weaken global security? Since the United States is pressing Canada for support, the answers matter a great deal to us.... Canada has a dilemma: It can deny support to a major ally, or embrace a project that will weaken or destroy the ABM Treaty and outrage the other nuclear powers while doing little if anything to counter a rogue threat. If pushed into a corner, Ottawa should deny support."
"Saying No To The U.S. Won't Kill Us"
Foreign affairs columnist Gordon Barthos observed in the liberal Toronto Star (4/7): "The nervous nellies are skittish as Bill Clinton flicks the riding crop at us to fall in behind his missile defense program.... Indeed, the NORAD pact may crumble if we balk. It's a scary scenario. But that's all it is: a scenario. The reality is, saying no won't kill us.... The Pentagon and U.S. industry may want us to believe that missile defense is inevitable, but that's just their view....
"But [it] still hasn't got a missile that can shoot down another.... Why on Earth should Canadians rush to sign on?"
"Canada Should Support U.S. Missile Plan"
Nigel Hannaford judged in the right-of-center Calgary Herald (4/5): "The Americans would like Canada's enthusiastic support, partly to sell the idea [of NMD] to reluctant European allies.... The project faces technical hurdles.... The greater hurdle is a diplomatic one, which is where Canada's assistance would be valuable.... One suspects that decades of watching Canada underfund its military and lag in its treaty obligations has left U.S. planners thinking this is the least we could do. They would be right."
"The Anti-Missile Dilemma"
Frédéric Wagnière opined in centrist, French-language La Presse (4/3): "The question of Canada's participation [in NMD] will...come up in concrete terms and Ottawa will have a very difficult choice to make. The important thing is to see how Canada can contribute constructively to the American initiative.... Canada does not however have to submit to a policy it deems dangerous or inopportune.... In spite of the ABM Treaty, anti-missile defense is not intrinsically destabilizing. It could be included in future disarmament efforts and help diffuse local conflicts, like the Middle East. In that case, Canada should be an active participant, something it could not do if it totally rejected the U.S. policy, while passively benefiting from it."
MEXICO: "Reviving The Arms Race"
Mireya Olivas held in nationalist Milenio (4/6): "There are increasing signals that the Clinton administration will be remembered as the one that revived the arms race after the end of the Cold War. A clear example of this is Clinton's obsession over a protective umbrella of radar and missiles to protect the United States from a nuclear attack."