|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
U.S. plans for a limited national missile defense (NMD) system and related efforts to modify the ABM Treaty continued to meet with sharp criticism overseas, particularly in European, East and South Asian and Canadian media outlets. While few critics drew any distinction between the Clinton administration's proposal for a limited NMD and the more expansive one favored by some Republican politicians, many were quick to decry the infusion of partisan politics into the election year debate over NMD/ABM. Noting Senator Helms' vow to block approval of new arms control accords, some analysts revived their complaints that partisanship was again negatively impacting U.S. leadership on international security issues. A Beijing daily, e.g., coupling NMD with the Senate's CTBT rejection last fall, saw the U.S.' "pullback" from arms control as a threat to "world stability." Moscow papers, for their part, contrasted Mr. Putin's "control of foreign policy," as evinced by the Duma's endorsement of START II and the CTBT, with Washington's "disarray on national security." In many quarters, there appeared to be a growing sense of resignation that--despite warnings from Moscow and Beijing of a "renewed arms race" and worries from NATO capitals about a decoupling of U.S. and European security--"the U.S. will likely go it alone and implement NMD." A few voices countered that--with the go-ahead decision on missile defense still pending--"the battle for the ABM is not lost" and "Europe should to take the lead" in pressuring the U.S. to forego its "reckless" plan. Meanwhile, the NPT meeting served as a lightning rod for criticism of the U.S. and other "nuclear club members." Writers groused about the nuclear powers' reluctance to jettison their arsenals, and, in the U.S. case, its risking the "entire arms control edifice" by insisting on ABM revisions. Highlights follow:
PROTESTS AGAINST NMD: While opinion ranged from scathing denunciations by Pyongyang's official news agency of the U.S.' "criminal" plan to more measured protests emanating from Europe about the "political costs" of "Star Wars lite" in terms of its "damage" to transatlantic relations, the vast majority of editorialists across the political spectrum remained strongly opposed to NMD. "It would cost a bomb. The technology is iffy. The threat is marginal. And bulling ahead invites a crisis with the Russians, plus the unraveling of major arms control agreements," argued the liberal Toronto Star in a typical comment. A few conservative papers in Canada stood out in voicing support for the "principle of NMD," but even among them, there was skepticism that a "limited...land-based" system would be workable.
'BIG FIVE' DRAW FIRE ON NPT: Papers from South Asia and the Middle East joined others in Germany and Japan in expressing frustration at the failure, in their view, of the five recognized nuclear weapon states to "join hands to work toward disarmament." This prospect is made even more remote, said a Tokyo daily, now that "the U.S. and Russia are at odds" over NMD. Indian and Pakistani writers declared the NPT in a "state of limbo." Apparently, a statement by the five reaffirming their commitment to disarm, issued at the NPT meeting, did nothing to dispel the criticism. In fact, leading German papers dismissed it as no more than a "political placebo" intended "to calm down the rebellious nuclear have-nots."
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 59 reports from 25 countries, April 27 - May 10. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
RUSSIA: "NMD--Clinton Open For Other Options"
Andrei Ivanov remarked in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (5/10): "At their meeting in Moscow early next month, Clinton and Putin will discuss ABM.... Their talks may prove fruitless because of the differences Igor Ivanov failed to resolve during his recent visit to the United States. Albright, speaking about NMD over the weekend, said that Clinton is prepared to consider other options to protect American territory from missile attacks by 'rogue states.'"
Centrist, trade union Trud (5/5) remarked in a report by Vissarion Sisnyov in Washington: "The Republicans' taking over the administration will mean the end of ABM. So will the Republicans' retaining their majority in Congress, with a Democratic president."
"U.S. Makes Choice; Confrontation May Be The Best Response"
Dmitry Gornostayev stated in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/4): "A return to the Cold War and an arms race are becoming reality. Sadly, this is what lies ahead of this country as it faces a hard choice. But whatever its decision, it will not make the Americans change their minds. We need to realize once and for all that they will build NMD.... It seems as if confrontation would be the best response. With START/ABM separated from the rest of our bilateral relations, confrontation will not be as bad as it used to be during the past Cold War. Objectively, there is no cause for attacking each other. The United States and Russia are not going to declare each other an outlaw or 'evil empire.' At the same time, both will have an attack potential, with their military industrial complexes fast developing new programs to build up their military, including nuclear, capabilities. Besides, not having a cause to attack now does not mean not having it later."
"Icy Winds Of Mistrust Persist"
Nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (5/4) ran this piece by L. Nikolayev: "For all the illusions of the past decade regarding a 'strategic partnership' and an end to the Cold War...the icy winds of mistrust...persist. Putin badly needs a spectacular international 'victory' to show the Russians that he cares about their security interests and, at the same time, he needs to demonstrate his 'flexibility' to the West by letting those very security interests go down the drain.... [Clinton's] predecessors in the White House were proud of having carved out sizable pieces of the Soviet- American 'nuclear cake.' He would like to be remembered for that, too.... We let ourselves be fooled with stories about undeveloped countries posing a nuclear threat to the United States, as an excuse for the Americans to withdraw from ABM, while it is clear to any expert at whom the American plans are really directed."
"Nobody Can Afford An Arms Race"
Dmitry Babich filed from Washington for reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (5/2): "The United States and Russia simply bluff as they threaten each other with Star Wars and an arms race. Both risk losing face--sooner or later, they will have to admit to, mildly speaking, overstating their capabilities.
"But there is no denying that the 'rogue states' and international terrorism pose a real danger. As a way to meet this challenge, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, speaking at the NPT Review Conference in New York, suggested a non-strategic ABM and a global control system to stop the proliferation of rockets and nuclear technology.... President Clinton, during his visit to Moscow...will try to get Putin to accept a modified ABM. So far, Moscow has been adamant in rejecting ABM modifications. But a compromise is possible. Before START II is implemented, we can trade our consent to NMD for permission to keep our MIRVs."
"Battle For ABM Treaty By No Means Lost"
Dmitry Gornostayev stated in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/29): "On the whole the problem of anti-missile defense, as the final news conference of the Russian foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state showed, is still undecided...but the sides are still sticking to what they were asking for. This gives us reason to believe that the situation will develop in accordance with the worst case scenario: If U.S. NMD is deployed, Russia will withdraw from all disarmament agreements.... Moscow would have no other option."
"ABM Tops Russia-U.S. Agenda"
Aleksei Portansky stated in reformist Vremya MN (4/29): "ABM will stand high on the agenda of the Russian-American summit in Moscow on June 4-5.... The problem is hard because of differences between the Russian and American approaches. But there is something else that makes it even harder. Jesse Helms, calling Clinton a lame duck, asserts that the next president will not feel bound by whatever commitment the incumbent may make."
"Clinton Has To Look Back To Congress"
Yegor Volodin filed this from Washington for reformist weekly VEK (4/28): "At the summit, the Russian leader will have a big advantage over his American colleague. Putin is in control of foreign policy, whereas Clinton has to look to Congress and try to save face.... The [U.S.] administration seems badly hamstrung by having endlessly to fight for its leader's moral cleanliness and political survival."
"Moscow Open For Compromise"
Reformist Izvestiya (4/28) ran this by Yevgeny Artyomov in Washington: "Igor Ivanov has made it amply clear that Moscow, while being opposed to America's NMD, will be 'ready to consider various suggestions' at the June summit. The meeting is going to be unusual. Maybe for the first time in many years, the Americans will face the Russians, feeling disadvantaged. While Moscow is on the offensive, with the START II and CTBT treaties endorsed by the Duma, Washington is in disarray on national security."
BRITAIN: "You Have Sword, I Need Shield"
The independent weekly Economist observed (4/28): "Whatever protection it may offer in the future against missiles fired at America or at America's friends by a North Korea or an Iraq, the anti-missile defense system proposed by the Clinton administration is having a hard job protecting itself from its enemies at home and abroad. The immediate problem is Russia. If construction of the anti-missile system is to start next year, as planned, America needs by this October or November to have either negotiated a deal with the Russians modifying the two countries' ABM Treaty, or announced its withdrawal from the treaty.... Yet Russian officials have been careful to leave the door open to compromise.... Russia would probably rather have a negotiated cap on America's missile defenses than no limits at all.
"The trouble is that, even if Mr. Putin and Mr. Clinton do cut a deal, there is no assurance that some future American president will not seek to build a more powerful system."
FRANCE: "Clinton's Last Salvo"
Pierre Beylau judged in right-of-center weekly Le Point (5/5): "In spite of his good humor, Clinton is paralyzed on several major issues. The most significant is the issue of disarmament.... He is expected in Moscow in June for a complicated and uncertain meeting on an issue which the Russians categorically oppose. In the meantime, Putin has managed to score two major points with the ratification of START II and the [CTBT]. But the Russians are not the only ones to fear America's NMD. Europe is afraid of the repercussions and considers that the threat of rogue states is highly exaggerated by the United States. The Europeans are concerned that such over protection for the U.S. territory might lead to a break up in the common defense of Europe and of the United States."
GERMANY: "Europe's Foreign Policy: Limited Defense Ability"
Washington correspondent Yvonne Esterhazy and Hubert Wetzel contributed to this editorial in business-oriented, right-of-center Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (5/10): "With its protective shield concept, Washington is heading for a serious political wrong decision with global implications.... There are reasons for such a protective shield, but the arguments against it are by far more convincing.... The first problem refers to Russia and its nuclear weapons.... START II, which the Duma only recently ratified, and START III would be dead.... The second problem: an arms race in Asia.... If Beijing really wants to maintain a credible disarmament potential in Asia and toward the United States, it must build up arms.... It may be possible that European protests will be unable to soften the hardliners of the conservative Dr. Strangelove faction in U.S. Congress. Maybe the [U.S.] shares the same view, but the hectic travel activities of high U.S. disarmament officials to Europe show that Europe's view in Washington makes a difference. That is why Europe must speak out and say what it thinks instead of just muttering."
"America's Right To Determine How To Protect Itself"
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine argued (5/10): "During his visit to Washington, Foreign Minister Fischer learned once again that the United States does not like to rely on others whenever it can determine and solve its problems by itself. That is why the Europeans will hardly succeed in convincing the United States that a nuclear threat from 'rogue nations' does not exist and that the idea of a missile defense system is a bad one, no matter what, because it puts pressure on relations with Russia, China, and even the Allies. It would be naive to believe that the current and future leadership in Washington does not consider the political consequences of its project.... The best the Europeans can hope for is to make the Americans realize that it is possible to calculate the necessity and political costs of a defense system in a different manner. However, they cannot deny America the right to determine independently by whom and by what the country feels threatened and how to protect itself."
"The Political Cost"
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin stressed (5/10): "It is important to make Washington understand that NMD, a project that nobody really knows will work at all, does not only cost $60 billion. This 'Star Wars Lite' project also has a political cost--the slow distancing of Europe from the United States."
"Campaigning With Missiles"
Dieter Schroeder noted in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (5/10): "Nuclear arms control may be obsolete in its current form, as many Americans believe. But it would be a fateful mistake in U.S. politics to open wide the pandora's box of a nuclear arms race without real need.... In the end, the United States will not be stopped in its eternal quest for invulnerability. But, like Fischer, the Europeans still need to try everything they can to step on the brakes."
"Cold Warriors Victims Of A Mirage"
Right-of-center Augsburger Allgemeine (5/8) carried an editorial by Washington correspondent Uwe Knuepfer: "America's otherwise stingy politicians seem to be willing to spend $60 billion or more to be possibly able in a few years to destroy ballistic missiles before they reach the United States.... But neither North Korea nor Iraq have ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. And intelligence reports that they could be in the possession of these weapons in a few years are as vague as a horoscope.... But supporters of NMD say that the world is and will remain a dangerous place...fraught with missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. Both things are true, and the majority of these missiles is deployed in silos on U.S. territory and in Russia.... It is in the power of the United States and Russia to eliminate this danger.... It can be in the interest not only of the United States but also of Europe, including Russia, to develop anti-ballistic missile systems. But the United States, the EU and Russia should launch such an enterprise together and only in concordance with a gradual but final destruction of nuclear weapons arsenals."
"The European Card In The Game Of Missiles"
Stefan Kornelius wrote in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/8): "One could also think up a very different scenario [in reaction to America's NMD plans], namely that Russia will not find the idea amusing at all and collapse the complicated structure of disarmament treaties. China and India, too, could view NMD as a challenge and increase their nuclear arsenals.... And the Europeans could fight about the question of whether to get their own missile system or remain second-class partners.... The German government has looked at the situation from all angles and arrived at resignation: The matter cannot be stopped; therefore, we will have to make the best of it. This statement rests on a faulty premise: NMD has not been installed yet, even though the political will to build the system is strong in the United States. But an election campaign is underway in the United States, and...Clinton...has had to make rhetorical and actual concessions to the Republicans--certainly on matters pertaining to the military. After the election a new game will begin, especially if the economy slows down and the technologically uncertain billion-dollar-project puts pressure on the budget."
"Helms And Co."
Right-of-center Stuttgarter Zeitung (5/5) judged in an editorial: "The conservative hardliners around Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate do not want their future options to be limited by the departing president or possibly a Russian government. In this circle, any special treatment of Russia is considered superfluous, and a limited missile defense system is seen as being too small and just good enough for a campaign topic. But...the wonder weapon is still in the experimental phase in terms of technology.... That is not much military security compared to the political risks involved in the NMD plan."
"The U.S. Nuclear Cowboy"
Constanze Stelzenmueller wrote in left-of-center weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (5/4): "Europe is far from finding a consensus vis-a-vis NMD.... The Europeans would do well to come to an agreement with respect to the core questions. After all, America's 'Star Wars lite' is already capable of doing damage: The Russians are distrustful, the Chinese are angry. And at NATO one realizes that the transatlantic alliance will face a trial that might be more serious than tensions over the Kosovo mission or an EU military force.... The Europeans can only hope to influence the decisions being made by agreeing on a common position. The collective European foreign and security policy is facing its greatest challenge to date."
"Nuclear Powers Hand Out Political Placebos"
Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich judged (5/3): "In reality the declaration [by the five official nuclear powers] is nothing more than a placebo to calm down the rebellious nuclear have-nots.... Against such demands the members of the exclusive nuclear club have now pitched a 23-item paper. But they are reluctant to mention numbers or time schedules for their honorable goals. Thus, the only purpose of the paper seems to be to cover up possible points of contention that could cast a shadow over the meeting.... Two worrisome developments are taking place in the shadow of the declaration: the fight between the United States and Russia over a U.S. missile defense system and the threat of a potential nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan in South Asia. The issue in both cases is not disarmament, but an increase of arms. What could be heard in New York was not the gong starting the final round of nuclear disarmament, but simply the sound of empty words."
"Hypocritical Nuclear Powers"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (5/3) wrote in an editorial: "What is bothersome about the declaration by the nuclear powers [at the NPT review conference] is its hypocrisy. It is true that the United States and Russia have reduced the number of nuclear warheads, but they are upgrading the rest. The U.S. plans for a missile defense system would not only break the ABM Treaty, but would also prompt Russia and China to build their own modern offensive missiles."
"The U.S.' Right To Defend Itself"
Christoph von Marschall front-paged this editorial in Berlin's centrist Tagesspiegel (5/2): "One certainly has to ask whether the threat represented by 'rogue nations' is as large [as the United States believes]. And would it not be possible to counter that threat with the help of politics instead of additional arms and the risk they involve? However, the picture that some NMD opponents paint of the United States--an arrogant and isolated superpower unwilling to respond to reasonable criticism--would be more appropriately applied to regimes of fanatic ideologues. After North Korea fired test missiles over Japan, Tokyo and South Korea are very interested in NMD. And some European allies are at least torn.... The German government would be wrong to take the lead in a movement directed against [NMD]. No European objections will keep NMD from becoming a reality. The U.S. government cannot demand of its citizens that they give up an effective protection against nuclear missiles to satisfy Russia or appease European worries. NMD will only fail if the technical obstacles prove too great or costs too high."
ITALY: "Reviving The Nuclear Debate"
Prominent foreign affairs commentator Franco Venturini analyzed Russian-American relations in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (5/7) : "The Kremlin and the White House have revived the strategic nuclear debate that some observers naively believed to be over....
"The United States wants to provide itself with a limited 'space shield'...[and] Moscow opposes that...and announces countermeasures if America proceeds unilaterally. Clinton has his own domestic problems, just like Putin. But the interest of Europe is clear: the anti-missile shield threatens to separate the security of the United States from that of its allies, jeopardizing the future of NATO. The possible creation of such a shield should be the result of compromise with Moscow, if we don't want to risk opening a new race of apocalyptic armaments."
"European Opposition To NMD"
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto filed this piece in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (5/3): "The change in the ABM Treaty threatens to open a divide not just between Presidents Clinton and Putin, but also between the EU and the United States. This is what...Javier Solana...let us understand during his visit in Washington.... This is not the first time that a European leader has expressed his opposition to the Clintonian initiative. French President Chirac and German Chancellor Schroeder already did so through their diplomatic channels. And British PM Blair offered Putin his mediation. But Solana was the most decisive one, and he expressed his hope that Clinton would review his plans."
"The Latest Acronyms"
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto argued in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/29): "The two latest acronyms in the atomic weapons field are NMD...and TMD.... The two differ only in their initial letter. But it is not a semantic difference. It is the difference between the life or death of disarmament. If America and Russia do not solve it, the nuclear rearmament race might be resumed.... Putin does not want to go beyond a compromise, to which the U.S. Congress already said 'no.'... Indeed, the Clinton administration's initiative created widespread disappointment. NATO considers it destabilizing and fears that it might lead to a nuclear arms race in third countries."
AUSTRIA: "Star Wars II"
Helmut L. Müller commented in national Salzburger Nachrichten (4/29): "We are currently experiencing on the global stage the revival of a play, which was already performed back in the times of the Cold War... Today, Bill Clinton's America is looking for protection against the missile terror from 'rogue states'...by means of a smaller-size edition of Reagan's military toy. The Soviet Union has long disappeared in the Hades of history, ruined last but not least by the arms race. The 'military-industrial complex' in the U.S., however, makes sure that he does not run out of work.... [This is] coupled with the new tendency of the world's superpower to act on its own discretion and, if necessary, break international rules... If America goes it alone, the rising superpower China might react by flexing its military muscles even more."
DENMARK: "A Farcical U.S. Threat Scenario"
Left-wing Information opined (5/2): "It appears that European, Russian and Chinese efforts to dissuade the United States from implementing a shield against...inferior North Korean missiles are destined to fail.... It has not been proven that North Korea is in possession of nuclear weapons.... Nonetheless, the world will soon witness a farcical situation [whereby] the U.S. president will, in all seriousness, announce that North Korea poses a grave threat to the United States--a fact that will necessitate using $60 billion. If this was not such a serious matter, it would be laughable.... If [Putin] gives in to U.S. wishes...Russia will find it difficult to oppose the implementation of the second phase of the NMD program. And if so, Putin will have put himself in an unfortunate position. Conservative and nationalist forces within Russia will demand that Russia halts any further nuclear reductions...and we could see the start of a new arms race....
"The United States will likely go it alone [and implement NMD regardless of ABM] while accepting the international community's condemnation."
HUNGARY: "Beginning Of U.S.-European Divorce?"
Washington correspondent Gabor Miklos wrote in top-circulation Nepszabadsag (5/5): "If Europe is not included in the American missile defense, that may lead to a growing separation from the United States.... The U.S. plan leaves Europe defenseless, while provoking a crisis with Russia. It remains to be seen whether the response to NMD will be the distance Solana predicted, or rather the construction of a similar system. Or both. The new Central European NATO member states may find themselves in a complicated situation. Will loyalty and gratitude to the big ally be more important, or rather the sunny EU future?... It is certain that new military demands have emerged that were hardly foreseen at the time of last year's accession."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Republican Isolation"
Influential, independent NRC Handelsblad's (5/1) editorial said: "A new unilateralism is being expressed by the Senate Republicans. Earlier they torpedoed the CTBT.... The Republican Congress appears to be ready to walk a strategic 'Alleingang' (solitary way), if Russia and U.S. allies are not prepared to accept the situation as dictated by the United States.... An isolated America, which has given up its leadership role in its relations with its former opponent, will find that the [European] allies will also distance themselves."
NORWAY: "Troublesome Rocket Defense"
In social democratic Dagsavisen (5/9), foreign affairs editor Erik Sagflaat commented: "If the United States decides to deploy a national rocket defense system now, it is more for political than military reasons. In an election year it is important to advocate a strong defense.... Among U.S. allies in Europe, there is a deep skepticism about the [NMD] plans. There is fear that this might be the beginning of an increased American isolation and a disconnection from Europe. There is good reason to fear the spread of nuclear weapons to new and unstable countries and regimes. But, the problem is not solved by rejecting existing agreements which have heretofore worked well."
"The U.S.' New Six-Shooter"
In independent Dagbladet (5/3), Arne Foss commented: "Bill Clinton will make the decision during the summer on whether or not the defense system will be built. Is it worth the money? Will it work? What kind of impact will this decision have on already ratified [arms control] agreements?... If the United States builds its new rockets, it will mean that international cooperation as such is headed for a difficult future."
SLOVENIA: "Nuclear Weapons Back In Fashion"
Leading, left-of-center Delo had this piece by Ervin Hladnik Milharcic (4/28): "The United States and Russia are solving old problems from the Cold War era while raising the specter of a new, maybe toned down, cold war.... The United States has gotten the image of acting on the logic of the Cold War.... Hence, its strong criticism by the UN."
SPAIN: "Nuclear Pessimism"
Center-left El Pais judged (5/2): "A decade after the end of the Cold War, nuclear issues have resurfaced amidst certain pessimism.
"As the NPT conference takes place in New York, Washington and Moscow find themselves at odds over ballistic missile defenses.... Washington sees a greater threat of missile attacks from rogue states than from Russia or China. This is one reason why Clinton is so concerned with mounting a limited anti-missile defense, despite its questionable effectiveness, and despite the proximity of elections and the end of his term in office."
SWEDEN: "U.S. NMD Plans"
Conservative Svenska Dagbladet opined (4/27): "[Former President] Reagan's refusal [to end his Star Wars program] did not...trigger a new arms race...but, instead resulted in a faster track toward disarmament.... There are reasons to remember this, as criticism of U.S. plans for a mini-star wars system grows. Foreign Minister Lindh [during a speech to the UN] identified the United States as one of the countries whose actions might trigger a new arms race.... This time--just as it was in the 1980s--it is a faulty theory.... The U.S. plans...will become an important pawn in negotiations between the U.S. And Russia.... The result of which might make it more interesting for France, Britain and China to enter into arms reductions talks. Once again the star wars project might result in a safer world."
"U.S. Actions Don't Match Words"
The independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter ran a column by Foreign Editor Per Ahlin (4/27): "Foreign Minister Lindh was rightly critical in her [UN] address when she stated that 'the NMD system might render more difficult the efforts to stop proliferation.' It is obvious that the United States is now on the defensive. Secretary Albright in her address said 'please remember that we are talking about a system capable of defending against, at most, a few tons of incoming missiles.'... She also quoted Clinton's hopes of a world free of nuclear weapons.... These are great words that entail responsibility.... And they would have been much easier to believe had not U.S. actions pointed in another direction."
TURKEY: "NATO And ABM"
Mensur Akgun wrote in intellectual/liberal Yeni Binyil (5/5): "The future of the ABM Treaty will affect the United States' relations not only with Russia, but with Europe as well.... Turkey will experience the negative effects of possible tensions between Russia and the United States. And Turkey is also situated at the center of potential missile threats.... On the other hand, neither Turkey nor any European country has the power to convince the United States to give up its program. Moreover...if the July tests in the Pacific are proven successful, then the United States seems committed to start the NMD project."
CHINA: "Cooperation Required In Arms Control"
Official, English-language China Daily reported (5/10): "The advancements made in arms control after the end of the Cold War are now facing tough challenges from the U.S.' pullback (i.e., the development of NMD and TMD, failure to ratify CTBT). The international community should strive to set up mutual trust mechanisms, said an article in World Affairs magazine. The criteria used by Western countries in whether to obstruct or accelerate an arms control treaty are not conducive to the peace and stability of the world, but only serve their self-interests. The U.S. Senate's vote against the CTBT and its attempt to amend the ABM Treaty have clearly revealed the truth."
"Summit To Bless World Peace?"
Zahir Shan Afridi wrote in the official, English-language China Daily (5/8): "The U.S. craze for a unilateral world can threaten peace in the Asia-Pacific region.... If this summer the United States decides to make NMD a 'national policy' and continues with its TMD cooperation with Japan, it will hurt the national strategic security interests of countries in the region. And most probably these countries will decide to take counter-measures. It could affect the NPT, the CTBT and START III, as well as Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty negotiations."
JAPAN: "NPT System Is On The Brink Of Collapse"
Liberal Asahi front-paged this commentary (5/2): "Nuclear and non-nuclear nations remain at loggerheads at the NPT review meeting.... More and more non-nuclear nations have become skeptical about, or even dissatisfied with, the NPT's effectiveness following nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.... The NPT system is on the brink of collapse. Fed up with the nuclear powers' unwillingness to promote nuclear nonproliferation, seven 'new agenda alliance' non-nuclear nations are applying pressure on the nuclear powers to start nuclear disarmament talks.... But the United States and Russia are at odds over the U. S.' plan to develop and deploy a NMD system.... It is difficult to expect the nuclear powers to join hands to work toward nuclear disarmament."
NORTH KOREA: "U.S. Warmongers' Sheer Sophism"
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency posted this piece on its Internet site (5/7): "[Worker's daily] Rodong Sinmun today in a signed commentary slams the United States for trying hard to justify its NMD system under the pretext of 'threat' from the DPRK.... The commentary says: 'The U.S. described its aggressive NMD as a just' military step to cope with the DPRK's 'military threat and as something for the preservation of peace. This is nothing but a sheer sophism that can be let loose only by those hell-bent on the moves for a war of aggression, it notes.... The 'NMD,' a new powerful missile offensive system...is designed to...put Asia and the rest of the world under [U.S.] military control."
"Sophism To Justify 'Missile Defense' Program"
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency posted this piece on its Internet site (5/2): "U.S. Undersecretary of State John Holum at a news conference on April 25 said that North Korea may make intercontinental ballistic missiles faster than the speed at which the United States establishes the 'missile defense' system, according to a news report from New York. He alleged that North Korea's launch of an artificial satellite in 1998 was a 'missile firing test' and that North Korea today has come very close to the manufacture of more sophisticated weapons. His remarks betray the U.S.' ulterior motive of justifying its criminal 'missile defense' program for global military domination under the pretext of a 'missile threat' from the DPRK."
SINGAPORE: "Dicing With Hot Toys"
The pro-government Straits Times featured this editorial (5/5): "If the United States decides to install a NMD system, the consequences will not be unlike opening Pandora's box: One cannot know in advance what manner of devils will leap out. The world, however, had a foretaste last week of how devilish the devils may turn out to be, when the New York Times published details of the draft proposal that the Clinton administration presented to the Russian government earlier this year, urging it to revise the ABM Treaty.... But what does the fine print say, and, more importantly, what does it not say? To begin with, the U.S. proposal expressly urges Russia to adopt a 'launch on warning' strategy as a means of overcoming a U.S. shield....
"This is an astounding doctrine to advocate, to say the least. It will not only reinstate the hair-trigger situation which prevailed at the height of the Cold War, but will also increase the chances of an accidental nuclear war, for Russian early-warning systems are notoriously defective.... More worrisomely, [the Russians] can also figure that they may need as many multiple-warhead missiles as they can afford.... This means that START II...will probably be consigned to the dustbin, for a protocol to that treaty will require Russia to eliminate all of its land-based multiple-warhead missiles. Russian reluctance to follow through on this undertaking will no doubt be strengthened by the U.S. Senate Republican majority's reluctance to ratify the START II protocols. Their refusal, believe it or not, is based on two contentions. One, the NMD system the Clinton administration is proposing is too limited by half; and two, the ABM Treaty is invalid, for the Soviet Union no longer exists. Unfortunately for the rest of humanity, Russian nuclear weapons still do."
"The Bear's Generosity"
The pro-government Straits Times' (4/28) editorial commented: "The Clinton administration is still intent on amending the ABM Treaty to allow Washington to deploy what it insists is a limited missile defense system; and the Republican congressional leadership wants to up the ante further, and has criticized the NMD plans as limited in scope. At stake in this confusion is not only negotiations on START III...but also the entire arms control edifice. For the moment, only international pressure may divert U.S. politicians from pursuing a reckless and dangerous policy and, hopefully, Europe will take the lead in this regard."
THAILAND: "Future Warfare"
Trairat Soontornprapat insisted in mass-appeal, Thia-language Daily News (5/10): "The world may confront yet another Cold War if major powers don't stop playing games. And the United States is a case in point when Bill Clinton, in a parting shot before leaving office by the year's end, gave the green light to the national missile test program.... The new missile network which would shield the whole of North America from attacks would render existing Russian missile systems ineffective and thereby destroy the equilibrium of the world's missiles. Then Russia would likely renew its research and development programs to counterbalance the United States. And when the two giants start a new race, China is not likely to remain unperturbed."
INDIA: "Critical Mass, Proliferation Ghost"
The centrist Pioneer (5/4) had this analysis by APS Chauhan: "China...is not only actively pursuing its missile program, but also helping other states like Pakistan and North Korea in their missile development efforts.... Both Russia and the United States, as yet, do not want to opt for no-first-use of nuclear weapons principle.... The United States is going ahead with the development of its NMD system that threatens to unravel the 1972 ABM Treaty.... These developments refute any assertion that the N-5 have jettisoned their nuclear plans.... At this juncture, India must assert its moral right as a nuclear power and bring round the N-5 to end their status quoism."
The nationalist Hindustan Times told readers (4/29): "Nearly all the non-nuclear countries have been calling upon the Big Five to work towards disarmament. Indeed, a new bloc of seven countries...has been formed to act as a pressure group in this respect.
"What may have caused some of them to express dissatisfaction with the present patently unfair nuclear regime is the U.S.' insistence both to upgrade its own nuclear weapons through laboratory simulation and to set up a missile defense shield along the lines of the Star Wars program, while lecturing others about the virtues of shunning these very same weapons. It passes comprehension why the United States, with two oceans on either side, should feel the need to have a defense shield to protect it from unnamed rogue states when it cannot see the threat which India faces with two collaborating nuclear powers on its borders..... The U.S...contribution towards legitimizing these doomsday weapons by giving them an aura of power and prestige is enormous."
"Engaging The NPT Crowd"
The centrist Hindu (4/28) had this analysis by Director of the Delhi Policy Group V. R. Raghavan: "The review conference...will find that the outlook on nonproliferation has become worse since the NPT was signed.... On START II there is no forward movement. The Russian government recently made public its stand [that] nuclear weapons...are vital to Russia's security interests. U.S. policies of military intervention and [NATO expansion] have had much to do with it..... The nuclear tests of India and Pakistan...have raised questions on the NPT's viability.... The double standards evident in the nuclear weapons states doing nothing on disarmament while pushing others to abide by the NPT have not been missed by anyone. The U.S. Senate has in the meanwhile refused to ratify the CTBT.... The nonproliferation regime is...in a limbo and...the conference has no clear notion of what initiatives it can take to make nonproliferation and disarmament feasible.... The five major nuclear...states cannot seem to bring themselves to move forward on reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in their security calculus.... The argument that the ABM Treaty should be renegotiated is also a form of proliferation."
PAKISTAN: "NPT's Future"
An editorial in the centrist national News held (4/28): "The nuclear powers, particularly the United States and Russia, have yet to credibly demonstrate that they are willing to part with their nuclear arsenal by committing to a definitive framework of universal and comprehensive disarmament. Mutual suspicions within the nuclear club and the controversy over America's missile defense system cast doubts on the future of the arms control regime. The discrimination inherent in the treaty is reinforced by the Big Five's refusal to accommodate new nuclear powers in their fold, and the issue cannot be set aside merely because the United States and Russia have made vague pledges for a reduction in nuclear warheads. The NPT may not yet be redundant but it is...in a state of limbo, as it has been overtaken by changed realities."
SRI LANKA: "A Mere Talk Shop"
Ameen Izzadeen wrote this op-ed piece in the independent, popular tabloid Daily Mirror (4/28): "Who wants to give up a weapon, the very possession of which will deter even a thought of attack in the mind of the enemy. Nuclear weapons mean power.... So, the [NPT] conference...may end up as a mere talk shop."
EGYPT: "Nuclear Powers Ignore Obligations"
Salama Ahmed Salama declared in pro-government Al-Ahram (5/10): "At the NPT conference, Egypt and non-nuclear countries sought to remind the nuclear superpowers of their commitment to decrease their nuclear arsenals and force the countries that did not sign the NPT--mainly Israel--to join it....
"Realistically speaking, we should admit that these endeavors have not reaped any results.... Noticeably, when they talked about nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East, the five main supwerpowers completely ignored the mention of Israel as the sole nuclear power in the region.... The [N-5's] communique was only useless words, whether about eliminating nuclear arms globally, or about Israel's sole possessions.... The news about an American-Russian missile defensive networks...proves that nuclear powers, big or small, will not concede the source of their power for any reason."
ISRAEL: "NPT Or Nuclear Cynicism?"
Independent Jerusalem Post commented (4/28): "The NPT, though lauded...by Madeleine Albright as 'an indispensable agreement'...is as quirky an agreement as the international community has ever produced.... Iran, Iraq, and North Korea are NPT signatories. No one seriously believes that these states have abandoned dreams of building or acquiring nuclear weapons, yet all have come to the conclusion that joining the NPT does not materially hinder the quest for the bomb.... Given this record, Israel has had ample reason not to trust its security to the effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime."
SYRIA: "Israel's Name Not Mentioned"
Hanan Hamad emphasized in government-owned Tishreen (5/10): "The United States did not mention Israel's name among the countries invited to sign the NPT agreement, as this would lead to exposing Israeli nuclear sites to international inspection.... The United States is keen on giving Israel the opportunity to continue to advance its nuclear program.... This casts suspicion on the intention to rid the region of nuclear arms. It gives Israel's nuclear arsenal legitimacy."
CANADA: "Spaced-Out Missiles"
The liberal Toronto Star said in its editorial (5/5): "Clinton hasn't yet made up his presidential mind [about NMD], and for good reason. There's a spaced-out quality to the scheme. It would cost a bomb. The technology is iffy. The threat is marginal. And bulling ahead invites a crisis with the Russians, plus the unravelling of major arms control agreements. Our NATO Allies are waffling. And U.S. opinion is divided. Clinton was to have given the go-ahead by now. That was pushed off to June. Later there was talk of a fall decision. Now there's speculation that he may hand the mess to his successor. These are good reasons for [Prime Minister] Chrétien to defer any formal Canadian decision on NMD.... Until Clinton or his successor settles on an approach, why should we?... American politicians may be going ballistic over missile defenses in a presidential election year. Canadian policymakers are under no such pressure. We should keep our powder dry, and our feet on terra firma."
"Less Than Our Share"
The right-of-center Calgary Herald averred (5/6): "It is not blackmail...when an American admiral says that the United States would be under no obligation to shoot down a missile aimed at a Canadian city unless it buys into the proposed American missile defense program. It's a simple logical sequence.... Given that something built in North Korea and aimed at Seattle has an even chance of hitting Vancouver, it is very much in Canada's interest to sign on to the program.... The attitude of successive Canadian governments toward defense is a national disgrace. It is a shameful thing that Ottawa should, as a matter of policy depend so completely upon another country.... No doubt America will continue to protect Canada. It's in their interest. We wish that Canada would show a little more enthusiasm. It would be in ours."
"All Secrecy On The Missile Front"
Columnist Jim Travers observed in the liberal Toronto Star (5/4): "Canada's growing concern [over the U.S. NMD system] is directly linked to the importance given the issue in Washington. While the merits of the system are still being hotly debated within the State Department and the Clinton administration, there is a consensus that Canada's willingness to share the burden of continental defense is a litmus test of the broader relationship between the two countries.... Ottawa may seek common ground by accommodating the system within NORAD, while restricting Canada's involvement to its traditional detection and identification role. That would likely satisfy the United States, which is less interested in Canadian cash than the political cover this country's participation would provide. Washington particularly wants Canada's help in convincing Russia and European allies that the system will not compromise the ABM Treaty."
"In Defense Of NMD"
The conservative National Post (5/4) opined: "It is time Ottawa got off the fence and declared Canada's support for the principle of NMD.... Today, when at least 24 states are trying to build a nuclear bomb, the idea that leaving this continent completely open to a nuclear, biological or chemical strike and placing our faith in multilateral arms control agreements is dangerously naive. If Ottawa subscribes to the misapprehensions of the arms control and pacifist lobbies, it should not be surprised if Canada is marginalized still further in foreign, intelligence, counterterrorism and defense affairs. Struggling impotently against NMD is not in Canada's national interest. Our moral, economic, political, scientific and military involvement in NMD should be delayed no longer."
"START Of A Bad Deal"
The conservative National Post (4/29) wrote: "Yesterday...it was revealed that Washington has presented Moscow with a proposal to allow a limited but expensive land-based missile defense system in Alaska in exchange for Mr. Putin assenting to Mr. Clinton's Grand Compromise.... If Russia graciously accepts this 'modification' of the [ABM] Treaty...Mr. Clinton will claim he has 'saved' the ABM from Republican attacks and won a major arms control prize. Unfortunately, the Alaska version of missile defense is flawed compared to the greatly preferable sea-based Aegis system. This is a bad deal and a bad deal is worse--and more dangerous--than no deal. Mr. Clinton must put first things first (national security, in this instance) and promote a comprehensive national missile defense system before indulging in arms control."
"Axworthy Takes On The Real Rogue State"
Lawrence Martin commented in the mid-market Ottawa Citizen (4/29): "With its unassailable paramountcy, America is presented with one of history's most glorious opportunities--to lead a pointed campaign of global de-nuclearization, to lead a drive to disarm instead of to arm. Instead it looks success in the face, turns and walks away.... [Lloyd] Axworthy [Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade] chided the United States for its 'drift toward unilateral options.' He called the U.S. Senate's rejection of the test ban treaty 'a significant step backwards.'... Defense Minister Art Eggleton, the Pentagon's man on the Rideau, was quick to step forward with a rebuff, saying the government has yet to take a position on NMD.... Eggleton is probably correct in thinking that rejecting NMD would compromise Canada's position in NORAD.... But if it's a case of deciding between a weakened role in NORAD and setting down firm stakes against nuclear escalation, the moral choice is obvious. Axworthy knows what NMD is really all about. He knows it's not about threats from puny, sickly rogue states. He knows it's about the relentless need to feed, in the Eisenhower phrase, the military-industrial complex."
"Canada Can Lead Forces Trying To Halt Missile Plan"
Columnist Richard Gwyn concluded in the liberal Toronto Star (4/28): "If the United States goes ahead with an anti-ballistic missile system, as almost certainly it will, then it's highly probable Canada will clamber aboard for the ride.... Washington doesn't want us in because of our technology or because of our military capability. What it wants from us is our international image. We'd help to give the NMD project a friendly face.... Except for one possibility. We may never get asked to go along because the United States itself, will have decided an anti-ballistic missile system is an absurd, self-defeating waste of money. As, in fact, it is. The supposed justification for the system isn't merely wrongheaded. It's palpably idiotic.... Indeed, it's far from certain that the anti-missile system will ever work.... Nevertheless, the Pentagon and the defense industries are using the excuse of a doubtful solution to a non-existent threat to justify a massive high-tech spending program.... All is not lost, though. [Kofi] Annan's warning about a nuclear arms race was part of a carefully calibrated international attempt to try to dissuade the United States from building such a system.... We probably can't stop ourselves from joining in if the United States goes ahead anyway. But we can help to discourage it from going ahead in the first place."
CHILE: "Anti-Ballistic Missiles"
Conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio (5/2) ran this editorial: "The United States is determined to have Russia accept changes to the [ABM] Treaty.... The matter in question refers to about one hundred missiles in Alaska which would intercept a few dozen missiles launched by Korea or Iran.... The impulse for any U.S. politician to promote a defense against the threat of small nations with powerful weapons is almost irresistible, particularly in a presidential election year."