April 30, 1997
U.S. RATIFICATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
Many foreign media analysts saw the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention by the U.S. Senate as a solid victory for President Clinton, but some worried about the "partisan" process by which the convention was ratified and pointed to the dangers posed by "rogues" such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and North Korea. British, German, Belgian and Swedish pundits hailed the vote as "a great foreign policy triumph for President Clinton" and "a victory over the isolationists among the Republicans." Several Europeans singled out Madeleine Albright and Trent Lott for praise also. Commenting on Senator Helms' opposition to the treaty, right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin argued that the vote was "likely to signal the end of the Helms era." But New Delhi's nationalist Hindustan Times concluded that President Clinton had "caved in" to Senator Helms' "demand for a major restructuring of the foreign policy apparatus" in order to get the treaty on the floor. Right-of-center Main-Echo of Aschaffenburg wrote that the ratification of the convention had been "sucked into the maelstrom of shortsighted partisan policy." Complaining that "the U.S. government had to use all its persuasive power before...the final vote," centrist Mannheimer Morgen asked, "What will it say about the internal state of the last superpower if something is now sold as a triumph which is self-evident?"
Concerns about Russia's failure to ratify the convention by April 29 came mostly from Russian commentators themselves, such as Moscow's reformist Segodnya. It noted that "the [American] senators outsmarted the Duma guys" and complained about "Russia--for the first time in her history--finding herself outside of a major international disarmament agreement." Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily argued that "despite the delayed ratification, Russia is unlikely to stand aloof from what the member-countries of the Chemical Weapons Convention might decide to do," but it warned that "Russia risks having to apply the rules of international inspection she may find inappropriate."
Most commentators were far less worried about Russia than "rogues" such as Libya, Iraq, Syria, and North Korea, which had not signed the convention and which might use "the atomic bomb of the poor countries." Munich's centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung worried about Iraq and Libya which, "partly with German support, continue to produce chemical weapons and are willing to use them." Government-owned Seoul Shinmun signaled, "Our main concern is North Korea and the fact that Seoul is fully exposed to the North's chemical weapons." New Delhi's centrist Hindu cautioned about the "great difficulty in effecting a foolproof detection of the clandestine production of chemical weapons." Tel Aviv's independent Haaretz warned that the convention "provides no real defense against terror groups that might decide to use biological and chemical weapons" and flatly stated, "No country is more susceptible than Israel." Tel Aviv's mass-appeal, pluralist Maariv warned that a "nerve gas" attack would be "the last thing any living Syrian would be doing this side of hell" and urged the U.S. to do more to "prevent the proliferation of nonconventional knowhow by greedy experts who learned their lethal craft behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War."
This survey is based on 47 reports from 14 countries, April 15-30.
EDITOR: Bill Richey
RUSSIA: "Russia's Plea May Not Be Heard"
Marina Kalashnikova said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (4/30): "Despite the delayed ratification, Russia is unlikely to stand aloof from what the member-countries of the chemical weapons convention might decide to do. Therefore, Russia 'counts on cooperation and regard for her interests.' It may happen, though, that the chemical weapons ban conference, due to meet in the Hague on May 6, will ignore Russia's plea and choose to punish her for not catching up with the disarmament process. Russia risks having to apply the rules of international inspection she may find inappropriate."
"Clinton Cares About U.S. Interests, Yeltsin Doesn't About Russia's"
Reformist Izvestia (4/26) ran this comment by Viktor Litovkin: "The (U.S.) administration and personally President Clinton did their utmost to make doubting congressmen see a need for joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Russian president's administration and personally Boris Yeltsin confined themselves merely to submitting the instruments of ratification to the Duma. Why bother? It is not an election to office. It is only Russia's long-term interests. This means that either we don't care about our interests or we don't care to see them."
"Defeat For Russia"
Nikolai Zimin in Washington and Alexander Koretsky filed for reformist Segodnya (4/26): "A many-month standoff between Russia's Duma and the U.S. Senate ended in a complete defeat for Russia. The senators outsmarted the Duma guys by ratifying the convention at the last moment. Trying to explain its failure, the Duma refers to a (nonexistent) force majeure. Anyhow, the United States will now try to use the chemical weapons ban organization's leading bodies to take control of Russia's chemical manufacturers. The Duma has got itself in trouble, with Russia--for the first time in her history--finding herself outside of a major international disarmament agreement."
"Woeful Results Of Procrastination"
Dr. Lev Fyodorov wrote in reformist weekly Obshchaya Gazeta (4/24): "The Chemical Weapons Convention that was signed by many countries, including Russia and the United States, already on January 13, 1993, is to enter into force on April 29.... As always, we have tarried.... We need assistance also in selecting the technologies for the destruction of chemical weapons. It is necessary for the commencement of this work to be preceded by the creation in Russia of a proper legal environment, by the appearance of a system of hygienic standards and also of instruments that could be placed right next to the chemical arsenals and ensure the observance of these standards and protect the population. In April 1987 Mikhail Gorbachev announced that our country is beginning to rid itself of chemical weapons. But nothing has been done. After April 29, 1997 we will, however, start destroying our stockpiles of 40,000 tons. And we will have to do this on schedule by April 2007."
"U.S. Seeks Excuse To Save Chemical Arsenal"
Reformist Izvestia's Viktor Litovkin, commenting (4/17) on the French daily Le Figaro claiming with reference to U.S. sources that Moscow continues experimenting with chemical weapons, cited Dr. Anatoly Kuntsevich, a leading Russian scientist: "This publication is provocative and false through and through. Our difficulties are strictly financial. Russia lacks the money to meet all requirements under the convention. The United States does not have such problems. It has the money and fine facilities. Delays with the ratification of the convention by the U.S. Congress may be due to the Americans having secretly produced a new chemical weapon
which they seek an excuse to keep. The article in Le Figaro could provide such a 'provocative excuse.'"
"Why Accuse Moscow, Not Washington?"
Yury Kovalenko in Paris filed this report for reformist Izvestia (4/17), citing the chairman of Russia's Union for Chemical Security: "We don't know what to do with the 40,000 tons of chemical weapons already stockpiled. To produce new poisons would be madness. The Russian Defense Ministry has resisted the program for the destruction of chemical weapons, seeing them as a means to pressure the West.
"Dr. Anatoly Kuntsevich, quoted in the same report, said: "The State Duma will probably not ratify the international convention. With the army having no money to feed the soldiers, where will it get the billions of dollars needed to eliminate the chemical arsenal? The Americans have not ratified the convention either. They have made great headway in creating new chemical agents recently. Why is it always Moscow which is to blame, not Washington?"
BRITAIN: "Clinton Wins Chemical Ban Victory"
The centrist Independent (4/25) reported: "President Clinton appeared to be on the verge of a major political victory last night as a series of Senate votes indicated that the United States would agree to join a global ban on chemical weapons.... Mr. Clinton sent a letter to the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Trent Lott, promising to withdraw the United States from the treaty if it resulted, as some of it opponents predicted, in the proliferation of chemical weapons."
"Albright Deserves To Win"
Edward Mortimer opined in the independent Financial Times (4/23): "Mrs Albright has pulled out all the stops, reminding television and radio interviewers across the country that the treaty 'has made in the USA' all over it.... Others have suggested the (treaty) decision is a 'defining moment' in U.S. foreign policy, similar to those of 1919 and 1947. Now, American leadership in the chaotic post-Cold War world is at stake, and the issue is whether the United States will carry on with a multilateral approach to one of the most dangerous aspects of that world, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Both on the merits of the argument and for her skill and verve in addressing it, Mrs. Albright deserves to win."
BELGIUM: "Lott's Victory"
Washington correspondent Nathalie Mattheiem filed for independent Le Soir (4/26), "The victory primarily benefits Republican leader Trent Lott.... For months, the administration negotiated every inch of the way with the Republicans. As early as January, the White House sent Madeleine Albright to Jesse Helms, the arch-conservative chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who was hostile to the treaty.... Someone made him nice gifts: a radical reorganization of the department which had been refused a few months earlier; strict control over the reimbursement of U.S. arrears to the UN.... The decisive factor was Republican Senate Leader Trent Lott's rallying, made possible by the 'unprecedented' letter which the president sent him a few hours only before the vote. The senator achieved a masterful stroke which sets the tone for the upcoming negotiations between Capitol Hill and the White House over domestic and international issues.... The Senate leader has thereby scored an important psychological victory."
"Credibility Of The Country And Government At Stake"
In an article written before the Senate vote, Pierre Lefevre observed in independent Le Soir (4/25): "The ratification by the United States is, of course, an essential element for the treaty's
effectiveness. Less because it forces Washington to destroy its own stocks: Because of a law dating back to 1985, the United States is pledging to destroy all its chemical weapons by the year 2004. Less because the credibility of the country and of its government is at stake: While the convention was negotiated by the Reagan and Bush administrations, the United States could indeed, for lack of ratification, find itself in the camp of 'pariah' countries. A U.S. abstention would mainly serve as a pretext for other countries, including Russia, not to ratify. Moreover, if it were to ratify the treaty only after April 29, the United States could no longer belong to its executive bodies. Yet, it is quite obvious that its role will be essential in enforcing the convention and identifying possible cheaters."
GERMANY: "The Atomic Bomb Of The Poor Countries"
Regional radio Bayerischer Rundfunk of Munich (4/30) featured the following commentary by A. Ewers: "The treaty goes far above the others, for example the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. It is a success, but a delayed success. It is a success, which the Germans helped to generate in large parts. The effectiveness of this treaty depends mainly on who is going to join the treaty. The U.S. decision to join at the last minute seems to have a positive bandwagon effect. The military use of chemical weapons is highly disputed these days. They are easy to produce, but difficult to deal with. That is why they are called the atomic bomb of the poor countries. This is the reason why states that do not display any interest in joining the chemical weapons treaty are worrying the other states. Those states that are not willing to do without chemical weapons ought to be isolated internationally. The chemical weapons treaty ought to be valid worldwide. The first step in this direction was just made. This is a success which can be built upon."
"The Atomic Bomb Of The Little Man"
Right-of-center Allgemeine Zeitung of Mainz (4/30) commented: "Only half of the UN member states agreed to destroy their chemical weapons by the year 2007. Not only those states accused by the United States, Iraq, Libya and North Korea, would like to fall back on the 'atomic bomb of the little man' and escape international control. To make the world a little bit safer it is time to pressure these states. This devil's weapon has to be destroyed worldwide. Especially since this ban on chemical weapons, with strong support from Germany, nurtures the hope that international treaties for disarmament do not need to remain an utopia. The goal of all UN member states ought to be the nonproliferation treaty, but also the ban on atomic testing."
"Foreign Policy Success For Clinton"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger remarked in an editorial in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/26), "It would have been a huge mistake if the U.S. Senate had rejected the Chemical Weapons Convention.... (Now it has approved it) and the vote of the Senate is also a foreign policy success of the Clinton administration.... We can draw one conclusion from this affair already: With the necessary energy, Clinton can also find a majority for his favorite subject: NATO's enlargement."
"Too Early To Cheer"
An editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/26) stressed, "After a long, indecent domestic policy haggling, the Republican-dominated Senate approved the convention. President Clinton is cheering...but it is too early to celebrate. The value of the agreement is not measured by good will, which 160 states demonstrated in 1993, since not even half of them has let deeds follow words and ratified the treaty. And it is one of the less important problems that Russia...has so far not signed it, since the majority in the Duma seems to be willing to ratify it. But there is a lack of money to implement the treaty.... However, the real threat stems from states such as Iraq or Libya, which, partly with German support, continue to produce
chemical weapons and are willing to use them. A renunciation of the 'nuclear bomb for the poor' is not in sight."
"Political Reason Gained Upper Hand"
Manfred Rowold judged in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/26):
"With the hardly fought but clear majority of votes...political reason gained the upper hand in Washington.... The debate and the vote in the Senate, which was influenced until the last moment by apparent concessions of the often underestimated tactical player Bill Clinton...is likely to signal the end of the Helms era. Jesse Helms, the so far powerful, ultra-conservative chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate...represents the U.S. distrust of multilateralism. But the ratification of the chemical weapons treaty represents a no-confidence vote against Helms."
"Effect On The Russian Duma"
Jochen Siemens of left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (4/26) argued: "This treaty is right and important and--through the ratification of the U.S. Senate--it also gets an international momentum which will have an effect on the Russian Duma, too.... In addition, the ratification in the U.S. Senate is also a victory over the isolationists among the Republicans. Although their Presidents Reagan and Bush set the course for this disarmament treaty, an influential group of U.S. senators stuck to their unilateral security concept of U.S. strength. The fact that President Clinton succeeded in pushing back this influence and forged a broad, bipartisan majority for the ratification of the treaty is a success not only for his foreign policy concept but also an advantage for mankind."
"Political Climate In Washington"
Right-of-center Main-Echo of Aschaffenburg (4/26) noted in an editorial: "It is characteristic of the momentous political climate in Washington that the chemical weapons treaty, which President Clinton wanted to make a cornerstone of his security policy, has now been sucked into the maelstrom of shortsighted partisan policy. The competitive restrictions for the U.S. chemical industry, which were used by archconservative critics against the treaty...were obviously only a pretext. It is very likely that these critics wanted to demonstrate that the United States, as the last remaining superpower, should have the right not to be subject to the same rules as the rest of the world. And the critics also left no doubt about the fact that they wanted to compromise Bill Clinton, whom they do not like, and restrict his foreign policy latitude."
Centrist Mannheimer Morgen (4/26) has this to say: "The U.S. government had to use all its persuasive power before there was the final vote in the Senate.... People in Washington now say that the vote was a triumph for President Bill Clinton. A triumph? What will it say about the internal state of the last superpower if something is now sold as a triumph which is self-evident? Obviously, the Americans have difficulties standing up for their own ideals. The opposition to the C-Weapon Convention grew out of a mixture of distrust and Rambo mentality. America's friends must be frightened to realize how autarchic this opposition was."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Dam Against Total Anarchy"
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad editorialized (4/26): "It was a nice victory for President Clinton this week, when the Senate approved the ban on chemical weapons.... Sufficient senators realized on time that they were busy risking America's credibility.... The system of international agreements, including that on arms control, has major shortcomings, but it is still also a dam against total anarchy."
Influential liberal De Volkskrant carried this comment from its Washington correspondent (4/26): "With the remarkably difficult acceptance of the chemical weapons ban treaty, politics in Washington slowly woke up from a long, deep hibernation. Since the installation of the 105th Congress and the presidential inauguration, the approval of the chemical weapons convention has been the first result that the President and Congress may feel pleased with.... The chemical weapons debate has made clear that the Republicans are getting more and more divided about the role the United States should play in the world and the foreign policy course.... An exceptionally slow start does not mean too much and Clinton has proven more often that he can be very creative. The acceptance of the chemical weapons treaty could provide the momentum to make his second term a success and to falsify the history-based prognosis of presidents in their second term."
NORWAY: "Clinton Demonstrates Political Touch"
Conservative Aftenposten commented on the passing of the chemical weapons treaty in the Senate (4/26): "Last night, President Clinton scored another important political victory when the Senate passed the international treaty banning production, storage and use of chemical weapons.... Clinton is struggling with many problems, the Republican majority in both chambers of Congress being one of them. With this, however, he has demonstrated that it is possible to establish cooperation across party limits--limits which are very untidy and easy to loose sight of, and which often give very unpredictable results.... This shows that Clinton is very maneuverable in difficult situations. This maneuverability will probably come to his rescue on many instances throughout the remaining years of his presidency."
POLAND: "The Ban With Two Unknowns"
Maria Wagrowska wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (4/29): "Despite serious merits and broad approval, the unique convention may turn out to be deprived of a greater value. There are two reasons for that: One is the stand of Russia, which--apart from the United States--is the only 'chemical superpower' officially declaring the possession of this kind of weapon. The other reason is the fact that among the nations which probably possess the 'C' weapons only India, Japan and the Republic of South Africa have ratified the convention. Libya, Iraq, North Korea, and Syria did not even sign it. It is estimated that over 20 countries have come into the possession of chemical weapons, a majority in the Middle East region.... A non-ratification of the convention...deprives Russia of the right of co-deciding the procedures of monitoring the observance of that agreement on the ban, and the possibility of inspecting other countries' arsenals, including those of the United States.... It does not create the opportunity to gain a military edge over the United States because this superpower has much more advanced technology of 'C' weapons production. It will not bring any revenues from the trade in components of chemical weapons because the convention bans such a trade.
"It is worth remembering, however, that the Russian weapons sold to the Arab countries which have not acquiesced to the convention, may lead to the creation of a Moscow sphere of influence in the Middle East. Given the possibility of a confrontation between such Arab countries as, for instance, Syria with Israel, which is recognized as an ally of America, one can hardly resist the impression that Russia might indirectly strain relations with the United States. Serious arguments argue against accusing Russia of a knowing non-ratification of the convention. President Boris Yeltsin submitted an appropriate document to be ratified, and it was appreciated by the United States which does not attack the Kremlin but the Duma. The question of chemical disarmament was one of the agreements reached during the Clinton-Yeltsin summit in Helsinki. It is treated by Moscow as one of the elements of the military balance between Russia and the United States. And finally, Russia being the only nation among all permanent members of the UN Security Council which has not ratified the convention, is losing its equal position with the United States, Great Britain, France, and China.
Usually, Russia deeply cares about this position. For Russia, the Security Council is the only international forum where she has an equal status."
"Great Involvement Of Clinton And Albright"
Centrist Rzeczpospolita told its readers (4/26-27) in commentary by Maria Wagrowska: "By a vast majority, the U.S. Senate has ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, one of the key disarmament treaties, especially for the security of the Third World. The fact of ratifying the treaty goes much beyond the area of arms control. The ruling Democrats as well as the opposition Republicans have proven that they can cooperate, not only in the interest of U.S. security, but also that of other countries.... The ratification would not have happened if it were not for the great involvement of President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who were able to win over a skeptical Senate in favor of their arguments."
SWEDEN: "Great Foreign Policy Triumph For Clinton"
Stockholm's independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter wrote (4/28): "The U.S. Senate's decision (to ratify the CWC) is a great foreign policy triumph for President Clinton, who has put much prestige to bring about a U.S. ratification.... However, delight is somewhat subdued due to the fact that rogue states like Iraq, Libya, and North Korea have not acceded to the convention. And Russia also is not yet a signatory power. But the situation would have been even more worrying without the CWC. When a convention is adopted focus will move and noncompliants will be put under pressure; they will have to justify their position.... The CWC will not solve every problem. War gas will no doubt continue to be a scourge for yet some time. But the soldiers in the field might be able to feel somewhat more secure as of tomorrow."
ISRAEL: "Syrian Nerve Gas"
Popular, pluralist Maariv editorialized (4/30): "The nerve gas the Syrians have been manufacturing and stuffing their warheads with will never hit us for the very simple reason that Syrian rulers know that to send even a single missile of that type against Israel will be the last thing any living Syrian would be doing this side of hell.... What should worry us is the fact that the Russian expert who taught the Syrian how to produce the nerve gas was not stopped. Israel, and more importantly the United States, should do what they can to prevent the proliferation of nonconventional knowhow by greedy experts who learned their lethal craft behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War."
"Israel Under Chemical Pressures"
Senior defense analyst Zeev Schiff opined in independent Ha'aretz (4/30): "The new chemical weapons treaty provides no real defense against terror groups which might decide to use biological and chemical weapons. Needless to say, no country is more susceptible than Israel to attacks by such terror groups.... Furthermore, Israel faces greater dangers than most other nations from the group of countries, such as Syria, which are producing nerve gas, have not signed the treaty and consider themselves at war with Israel.... The Americans said that if their soldiers come under chemical weapons attack, they will use all other hard measures at their disposal, in other words--nuclear retaliation. This exactly is the language Israel should employ."
QATAR: "Israeli Glass House"
Top-circulation, semi-independent Al-Sharq editorialized (4/30): "Israel accused Syria of possessing chemical weapons immediately after the ratification of the chemical weapon's treaty despite Israel's ownership of weapons of mass destruction including more than 200 nuclear
warheads. The accusations are nothing but an attempt to district attention from Israel's arsenal. The accusations also help Israel in drawing attention away from the obstacles to the peace process which she has created. Israel is mistaken in thinking that the new accusations will be believed. Similar accusations were made against Egypt in the past and were believed by none but Tel Aviv. Israel should desist from fabricating those lies and admit to the reality because her house is made of glass. Israeli nuclear weapons are the real danger that threatens the area. Israel's refusal to accept commitments she made in the peace process also endangers the security and stability of the area."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Destroy Chemical Weapons And Develop Chemical Industry"
Yuan Lonhua commented in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (4/29): "On April 29 of this year, the chemical weapons treaty will go into effect. This is the first treaty to provide for a comprehensive ban and elimination of a whole category of weapons of mass destruction.... The treaty is a significant event in promoting international disarmament and safeguarding global peace and security.... April 29 will one day come to be seen as significant in the history of mankind. The ratification of this treaty symbolizes mankind's decision to put an end to the threat of chemical weapons which has clouded the world for nearly 100 years."
SOUTH KOREA: "Measures Needed To Remove North Korea's Chemical Weapons"
The government-owned Seoul Shinmun (4/30) editorialized: "With 164 more countries getting ready to ratify it, the future of the chemical weapons treaty seems bright. The gravest problem at this point is that Russia has not yet ratified it. Our main concern is North Korea and the fact that Seoul is fully exposed to the North's chemical weapons. The international community should prepare effective measures to restrain those who have not committed themselves to the treaty."
"The North Should Sign"
The independent Dong-A Ilbo (4/29) editorialized: "After ten years of negotiations, the chemical weapons treaty signed in Geneva goes into effect today. As the very first world-wide effort aimed at eliminating weapons of mass destruction, the treaty is truly historic. In this sense, it is truly a dramatic measure. However, we are concerned that 20 countries possessing the world's largest chemical arsenals (including Russia, North Korea, Iraq and Libya) have not signed the treaty. We strongly urge the North not only to remove its chemical weapons but also to stop producing them. The North should sign the treaty."
The centrist Telegraph wrote (4/29): "With the United States having ratified the CWC, mankind is now a few steps away from abandoning a lethal path that began with the first mass use of poison gas in World War I.... An unseemly sideshow to this shining accomplishment in arms control has been India's stance on the convention.... India's prevarication was the result of infighting between the Indian chemical industry, responsible for the decision to ratify early, and the ministry of external relations, belatedly waking up to an infringement of its policy turf.... If India were to withdraw from the convention it would have to do so only by violating the treaty, and thus international law. What is of greater concern is that New Delhi's policy waffling has given the impression India is a nation that would consider chemical weapons an acceptable tool of warfare. This would have put it in the same league as Iraq, Libya, North Korea and other international outlaws."
Right-of-center Newstime from Hyderabad editorialized (4/27): "The hard-fought ratification by the U.S. Senate...of the CWC removes a major question mark over the effectiveness of attempts at controlling at least one method of warfare at a global level. It will also hopefully take the wind out of the sails of those people who want India to renege on its commitment to the accord, on the plea that other countries were not ratifying it. That would be a retrograde step in the extreme.... The fact that China and Pakistan have yet to ratify the accord can hardly be used as an argument for withdrawing from an agreement which has met all of India's meticulously laid down conditions. The case of America is curious. The CWC is literally a 'Made in America' document."
"U.S. And Pakistan Exposed"
Rajiv Nayan wrote in the nationalist Hindustan Times (4/29): "India is one of the first batch of countries which signed the CWC when it was opened for signature in January 1993. Undoubtedly, the draft Convention had several problems, but it seemed promising, too.... The final draft appeared different from both the Geneva Protocol and discriminatory Non-Proliferation Treaty.... It promised disarmament in one of the categories of weapons of mass destruction. Again, the Convention provided an opportunity not just for chemical disarmament but also for general disarmament....
"In the post-signature period, the entire process of ratification has exposed mainly two countries--the United States and Pakistan. It has become evident that the utterances made by the United States about disarmament, peace and stability, are nothing but hypocrisy. Similarly, it has become clear that the positions taken by Pakistan on NPT, CTBT, nuclear weapons free zone, etc., had hardly anything to do with genuine peace. Basically, these were always meant for serving the interests of its master, namely the United States."
"Banning Chemical Weapons"
The centrist Hindu's editorial said (4/28): "India should feel relieved at the ratification of the CWC by the U.S. Senate since it happily belies fears arising out of the delay over the signing by the major powers.... Ratification of the treaty actually amounts to only a step toward achieving total elimination of chemical weapons within ten years from now.... No technical means are yet available for detecting the diversion of militarily significant quantities of chemicals from production meant to meet the civilian needs.... Earlier doubts about the willingness of quite a large number of countries to become signatories to the CWC arose out of the near-impossibility of verification.... In view of the great difficulty in effecting a foolproof detection of the clandestine production of chemical weapons, the 'rogue states' will have to be dissuaded from using chemical weapons by ensuring effective protection to the states facing the threat of chemical warfare and the imposition of an international embargo on the supply of products, technologies and weapons to the aggressor-states. The earlier record of such sanctions may not be very encouraging. The sanctions will, however, have to be enforced effectively with a determination to save the world from the menace of chemical weapons."
"The U.S. Comes Aboard"
The right-of-center Indian Express editorialized (4/28): "To the hardliners in this country who questioned the wisdom of India ratifying the CWC...when the U.S. was making no moves to come aboard, the 74 to 26 Senate vote in favor should come as a sobering fact.... As with SALT-II, the impasse eventually was broken. With so much to gain in terms of its arms control, world leadership and trade agendas, it is difficult to imagine the United States not coming round to doing the sensible thing.... By ratifying the treaty when it did, India, too, won the right to choose inspectors.... It is just as important for India to show it is not a reluctant recruit to arms control. It chooses in its own light to join or stay out of arms control treaties. No arm-twisting
here, no me-too-ism, no defensiveness. It puts more meaning into New Delhi's proclaimed pursuit of global disarmament for India to be able to participate in a global effort to eliminate chemical weapons. Further, by being well ahead of the other big powers, Russia and China, India can exert moral pressure on them and other hold-outs to ratify the treaty.... All this is not to say the treaty is perfect.... But the CWC is not so full of shortcomings and biases that it is not worth a try."
"Cold War Mindset Dominates U.S. Policy"
K. Subrahmanyam wrote in the pro-economic-reforms Economic Times (4/27): "Finally, to the great relief of the international community, the capricious and anti-internationalist Senate of the United States has been cajoled into ratifying the CWC.... It highlights why the U.S. is not in a position to provide leadership to the world on disarmament and arms control issues. The treaty had to be sold to the Senate, not as a disarmament measure good for all mankind, but because it would enhance U.S. security against some terrorists' threat and those from alleged rogue states. The debate in the Senate revealed the extreme chauvinism of the America political class.... Other nations, particularly India, should not negotiate any arms control or disarmament treaty with the United States unless the U.S. administration has obtained two-thirds bipartisan support.... The Senate hearings revealed that the Cold War mindset is very much in existence.... The president was able to secure the majority only by buying the Senators.... It was plain horse-trading. One cannot rule out the possibility that, as in the case of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the U.S. strategic community may try to circumvent this commitment at a later date."
The centrist Times of India editorialized (4/26): "Now that the U.S. Senate has ratified the CWC...the Indian government can breathe a sigh of relief and let its already deposited instrument of ratification stand. The Chinese have gotten a ratification from their National People's Congress.... This leaves out only Russia among the major stockpilers of chemical weapons.... Even Pakistan may meet the deadline. So all's well that ends well. However, the messy manner in which the Indian government went about the ratification calls into question our very ability to decide on national security issues which, by nature, are trans-ministerial and trans-departmental."
"Chemical Weapons: Knee-Jerk Reaction"
Science editor R. Ramachandran wrote in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times (4/24): "The CWC will enter into force on April 29 whether India, which ratified the treaty on September 3, 1996, likes it or not. In the course of last three weeks, India has all too suddenly raised doubts about the effectiveness of the treaty.... To analysts, this sudden Indian turn-around (on the grounds that the treaty 'lacks universal adherence and representative character') and the threat to withdraw would be totally untenable.... If the stated concerns about the treaty's effectiveness are genuine, the question that naturally arises is how has the situation changed between September and now to warrant a withdrawal?... India's insistence on 'representative adherence' to the CWC would be in sharp contrast to its opposition to the same demand made by others in the context of the CTBT."
"India Should Not Withdraw From The CWC"
Dipankar Banerjee, deputy director, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses commented in the centrist Pioneer (4/24): "U.S. ratification is vital to the convention for several reasons. Hard-liners in the Russian Duma would not allow it to be ratified till the United States does so. If both major powers with their huge arsenals are left out, the treaty will have little credibility.... Where does it place India? Neither China nor Pakistan has ratified the treaty as yet.... But, there is every likelihood that China will ratify soon.... Pakistan's case may be more intriguing.
We need to explore why it has not ratified as yet.... Even then these are insufficient reasons for withdrawing from the treaty as some reports in the media seem to recommend. India has taken a principled position in ratifying the treaty. Having done so, we can hardly let Beijing and Islamabad determine India's position and force us to alter course. It is indeed true that disarmament policies need to be framed within the national security concerns of the nation and not on moral grounds. But, chemical weapons do not strictly come under that criteria.... Besides, the CWC meets all the criteria that New Delhi follows for accepting arms control agreements.... Being a part of this convention and following a principled position on global disarmament will enable us to continue to play a leading role in the deliberations around the world."
"CWC: India Should Not Withdraw From Pact If U.S. Ratifies"
K. Subrahmanyam commented in the centrist Times of India (4/22): "Now that the United States is ratifying the (CWC) treaty it would undoubtedly undertake the task of bringing Russia and China into the treaty. Britain and France have already ratified it. This is a material change in the situation and consequently there is no need for India to withdraw its ratification on the grounds that the treaty will lack universality and effectiveness without the three major chemical weapon stockpile holders in it.... The United States will also undertake to monitor the activities of hold-outs, such as Pakistan. While it may be difficult to assert that the Indian pressure of holding out the threat of withdrawal of ratification was effective, it was possible to justify our stand. With the U.S. ratification that line of action is no longer a tenable one. The U.S. Senate is expected to ratify the treaty with a package of 23 conditions.... It is clear that while some of the conditionalities are inherently objectionable, they are already incorporated in U.S. nuclear and chemical weapons policies. Most of the conditionalities relate to the internal power equation between the Senate and the administration. These conditions are external to the convention and do not affect its merits. What is significant is the U.S. ratification. Now that is being done. India can leave its ratification intact."
"Follow The Moral Path"
Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses Director Jasjit Singh wrote in the right-of- center Indian Express (4/22): "The issue is whether India should withdraw ratification or withdraw from the treaty after it comes into force.... There are two broad options for India: Withdraw its ratification before April 29; or, stay with the ratification and give notice of withdrawal from the treaty after it comes into force and withdraw from it under the provisions of national security being affected. Either of the two options has its costs and benefits. But not taking a clear stand on the issue has greater costs and no benefits.... India should demand that key countries join the universal disarmament treaty. Failure to do so by such states in the context of the defined notice (which would be in keeping with the objectives of the CWC) would strengthen India's sovereign right to take steps consistent with its national interests. This approach would also enable the country to deal with nuclear disarmament, CTBT, and the proposed Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty by emphasizing the consistency of principle and policy."
"Harm To U.S. Chemical Industry If U.S. Refuses To Sign"
The nationalist Hindustan Times' editorial maintained (4/21), "(By) not subscribing to the CWC, Washington would forfeit the covenant's executive council membership without which American citizens would not be eligible to participate in the treaty's enforcement. Keeping away from the CWC would invite trade restrictions from even Washington's closest allies and trading partners, and this is bound to hit the U.S. chemical industry-- America's single largest exporting sector. The loss would be to the tune of billions of dollars in sales, and thousands of jobs."
"Clinton Caved In To Helms's Demands"
An edit-page analysis in the nationalist Hindustan Times by Washington correspondent N.C.
Menon pointed out (4/21): "A looming confrontation between the White House and the Senate over ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention has been averted, but at a cost to the administration: President Bill Clinton caved in to Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms's demand for a major restructuring of the foreign policy apparatus."
"India Is 'Chemically' Wrong"
D. Sridhar, Director of the Dyan Prakash Institute of Strategic Studies in Pune wrote in the right-of-center Indian Express (4/19): "The CWC...will find New Delhi in an extremely embarrassing situation, with the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan continuing to remain outside the convention. The unusual haste shown by New Delhi to deposit its Instrument of Ratification (IOR) on September 3 to become the 62nd country to do so has landed India into an avoidable but NPT-like situation.... New Delhi should, before it is too late, seek to redress this unnecessary step by unequivocally stating that it reserves the right to opt out from the convention if India's neighbors and the United States and Russia do not ratify the CWC by April 29."
"Without U.S., Russia And China, CWC Will Not Serve Its Purpose"
In the view of the centrist Pioneer's senior editor Shubha Singh (4/17): "India was one of the early signatories of the convention but now, in the run-up to the treaty going into effect, the country has stated its intention to review its decision. With the United States and Russia staying out of the CWC, the meet loses much of its importance and remains a means to place restrictions on other countries. For India, the fact that three neighboring countries--China, Pakistan and Myanmar--would not be party to the treaty, has given the issue a different dimension. New Delhi may be forced to reconsider its decision.... It would be highly ironic if the CWC were to go into effect without the United States being part of it.... For without ratification by the United States, Russia and China, the convention will not serve the purpose it was meant to."
"U.S. Hypocrisy On Chemical Arms"
K. Subrahmanyam commented in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times (4/15): "Though the United States was one of the main sponsors of the treaty, there is a major debate on in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on its ratification.... This debate highlights the difficulties of negotiating arms control and disarmament treaties with the United States. While in the case of most of the parliamentary democracies, the stand taken by them can be held to reflect the views of their respective legislatures it is not possible to assume the same with respect to the United States. It is not even certain that an administration of a particular party with a majority in the legislature can carry the legislature with it.... Therefore, this basic constitutional feature often enables the United States to bind other democracies in a binding commitment and finally evade it. There is a view in certain sections in India that in the absence of ratification by the United States, Russia and China, this country should withdraw its ratification. That would be a mistake. Then India will be in the same position as the United States and in future Indian government's stand on arms control and disarmament issues will not be credible."
PAKISTAN: "Pakistan Should Not Sign"
An editorial in the radical, pro-Iran Muslim (4/27) expressed this view: "Ratifying the CWC would be the thin edge of the wedge; Pakistan would open itself to intrusive inspections that could be extended to cover inspection and access to nuclear facilities, making a mockery of our not signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The government is behaving like a 'drunken elephant' and rushing into decision of strategic importance.... We have resisted signing the NPT and there is no reason why we cannot resist ratifying the CWC, even if India (signs it).... It is the failure of the UN, the NAM
and the OIC, and the unchecked hegemonism of the United States, India, Israel that motivate countries to seek...weapons of mass destruction. As long as this triaxis exists, Pakistan should not...sign the CWC."
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