October 13, 1999
CTBT: THE U.S.' 'DANGEROUS HESITANCE' IMPERILS NONPROLIFERATION REGIME
Faced with the near certainty that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will either be "rejected" outright or succumb to the "lesser evil" of postponement at the hands of the U.S. Senate, the vast majority of overseas media reacted with anger and dismay, contending that the failure to approve the treaty now would send a "devastating signal to the world" and "undermine" the global nonproliferation regime. Said London's centrist Independent, "There is a disturbing autism about the attitude of naysayers, which fails to understand the stark message sent by America's defiant non-cooperation.... The Senate rebels...argue that they are making the world a safer place. They are not." Arguing that the CTBT is a "victim of U.S. domestic politics," most put the onus for its potential "death" on the "stubborn and wrongheaded" Senate Republicans, as did a Singapore daily, which asserted, "Delaying the pact is bad enough; killing it is crass stupidity and hardly in America's interest." Others, however, maintained that "a good part of the blame must be laid at the door of the Clinton administration." According to the centrist Hindu, "Overconfident, they focused their attention on getting others...to sign the treaty, but neglected building a domestic consensus in its favor." Meanwhile, observers in Russia, India and Pakistan charged that a failure to vote for the treaty highlights the "duplicity" of the U.S., which has thus far failed "to practice what it preaches to others." Islamabad's centrist News contended, "The U.S. will have little moral authority to ask other nations to do what it has failed to convince its own legislature to do." A Moscow daily groused, "The Americans castigate the Duma for not ratifying START II. At the same time, they hate to leave the U.S. without a chance to improve its nuclear weapons." Highlights follow:
EUROPE: Nearly all opinionmakers voiced deep concern that a Senate "no" to the CTBT would "damage Washington's credibility" and perhaps "launch a new era or proliferation." While a few criticized the president's "lack of leadership" on the issue, the harshest censure was reserved for Senate Republicans. "Senators must realize that ratification...is too serious an issue for...political games," insisted one. A Frankfurt daily joined others in noting that "U.S. allies will closely watch how the major power treats a treaty that is necessary for survival." A Brussels paper likewise judged that a U.S. failure to ratify "would not fall lightly among the U.S. allies...confronted with a superpower that...follows a unilateral and quite unpredictable course."
EAST ASIA: Several editorials called on the Senate to "live up to its moral responsibilities," as did a Hong Kong paper which held, "A failure by the U.S. to agree to the treaty would act as a great encouragement to proliferators" and would amount to "a dereliction of duty."
SOUTH ASIA: Pakistani papers emphasized that a treaty defeat or even a vote deferment would be a "stunning setback for U.S. credibility on nuclear arms control." New Delhi pundits sounded the death knell for the CTBT, with one declaring, "The CTBT is dead." "In these circumstances," concluded the centrist Times of India, "India need not tie itself into knots debating the CTBT."
ELSEWHERE: Viewing Clinton's appeal for a delay on a vote as "a rueful victory for partisan realism over global idealism," a Tel Aviv daily mused, "The world would like to know how much the U.S. will be involved in international concerns for higher principles, rather than its own selfish interests. The Republicans apparently would tell us the answer is 'not much.'"
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 51 reports from 24 countries, October 5-13. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "America Must Join the Test Ban Treaty--For All Our Sakes"
The centrist Independent editorialized (10/12): "There is an abiding paradox about the politics of the United States. It repeatedly berates other countries that fail to behave as the United States thinks they should. And yet America repeatedly is reluctant to do as it would be done by. It urges other countries to behave well, but reserves for itself the right to behave badly. The arguments against the CTBT are similar to those of the gun lobby: Good guys must be well-armed, to fight off the well-armed bad guys. In reality, the United States will remain well protected by its nuclear umbrella even after ratification of the treaty. There is a disturbing autism about the attitude of the naysayers, which fails to understand the stark message sent by America's defiant non-cooperation. The Senate rebels in Washington argue that they are making the world a safer place. They are not. They are making it unimaginably dangerous."
"U.S. Row Hangs Over Nuclear Treaty; A Powerful Moral Signal"
BBC News defense correspondent Jonathan Marcus offered this analysis (10/6): "In the United States a highly politicized debate has blown up between the Clinton administration and its Republican opponents as to the merits of the CTBT. President Clinton's impassioned plea to the Republican-controlled Senate to ratify the document seems to have fallen on deaf ears. With Democrats backing the treaty and most Republicans opposing it, the best they may be able to agree upon is not bringing the matter to an actual vote on the Senate floor. The fact that the U.S. presidential campaign is already under way has not helped matters. But as much as partisan politics, this debate also reflects very different views about arms control. To its supporters, the CTBT represents the cornerstone of efforts to reduce the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons.... But the test ban's critics say that its goal of zero nuclear test explosions cannot be verified.... And they argue that testing is necessary to maintain stockpile safety. Many experts believe though that this test ban treaty is better than nothing. The New York Times decribes it as 'imperfect but necessary.' America's support for the treaty would not bring it into effect, but it would send a powerful moral signal to those countries who are still holding out."
FRANCE: "Clinton And The Nuclear Trap"
Jean-Jacques Mevel observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/13): The CTBT has become the most surprising topic of confrontation between the White House and Congress.... Bill Clinton's triple defeat--tactical, political and diplomatic--is indicative of the erosion of his power. His signature carries little effect and the Republican-dominated Congress is enjoying reminding Washington's partners of the fact.... The question now is whether Bill Clinton and his adversaries will swallow their pride and find a compromise in order to save the CTBT's chances under another presidency."
"The CTBT At An Impasse"
Jacques Isnard stressed in left-of-center Le Monde (10/8): "The CTBT was an important diplomatic exercise in which France played a major role. In the end, many of its proposals were accepted. But implementation of the treaty places the signatories before their responsibilities.... By setting a bad example, either because they did not ratify the treaty, like the United States, China and Russia, or because they did not sign it, like India and Pakistan, these nations may well launch a new era of proliferation.
"The treaty has meaning only if it is a step toward negotiations for a 'cut off' convention on fissile production."
GERMANY: "The Lesser Evil"
Right-of-center Rheinische Post of Duesseldorf (10/13) carried this editorial by Washington correspondent Peter Rzeznitzeck: "The White House ignored for more than three years the opportunity to search for a consensus for the ratification of the CTBT. Nobody can now predict how the world of nuclear potential and aspirations will develop in the future. But is it realistic to assume that more than 44 states will ratify the CTBT? We cannot ignore concerns that the CTBT will be undermined. This is why a clear rejection of the agreement right now would be a foreign policy disaster. To delay the ratification is the lesser evil. But a delay will not resolve the problem. The Americans must make up their mind as quickly as possible and decide both what their security interests are and what the security interests of their allies are. This will then be the basis for further talks that will end up with an international nuclear control regime."
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau carried this editorial (10/11): "The Republicans must be blamed if this treaty, which should at least contain the nuclear arms race, cannot enter into force. Obviously, they want to score off the president again, because they have not yet accepted that they did not win a splendid victory in the congressional elections despite all the minor scandals surrounding Clinton.... The serious considerations of a few individual senators and the arrogance of others are combining to form a dangerous mix that can bring a globally important agreement to the verge of ruin.... A failure in the Senate would be a devastating signal. India and Pakistan are hesitating. China and Russia have taken a wait-and-see attitude. And U.S. allies will closely watch how the major power treats a treaty that is necessary for survival."
Michael Stuermer argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (10/11): "The CTBT should safeguard the cartel of the five established nuclear powers, especially the technological lead of the United States. But it is also in the interest of those numerous states that lack nuclear ambition or technological capabilities or both.... The European states should use all the influence they have on the U.S. Senate. In this situation, it is again becoming clear that it is a serious shortcoming that the EU does not have a common foreign and security policy.... If Washington ratifies the CTBT, pressure on India, Pakistan and Israel will increase to do the same. If not, a Pandora's box, which has been closed half-way, will be reopened."
"Would The World Be Safer Without The Treaty?"
Right-of-center Die Rheinpfalz of Ludwigshafen argued (10/9): "The U.S. senators who will vote next week on the agreement, must be aware of the fact that a 'no' from the leading Western power would not only damage Washington's credibility. Also, the pressure on other uncertain candidates like India and Pakistan to accede to the CTBT would also be lost. Would this make the world safer?"
"The U.S. Prevents The End Of Nuclear Tests"
Roland Heine judged in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/7): "If the U.S. Senate really rejects the CTBT, this would probably be the beginning of the end of the treaty.... Since the United States is one of those that must ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force. The refusal of the U.S. Senate would be enough to stop the whole project.
"In addition, other countries with a 'nuclear capacity,' whose parliaments also have to vote on the CTBT, will certainly orient toward the U.S. view. This is particularly true for China and Russia. India in turn, which only recently signaled its willingness to sign, would return to its old position in the event of a negative Senate vote. The CTBT, which was celebrated as the event of the century, would thus not become worth the paper on which it was written."
"Window Of Opportunity Is Closing"
Christoph von Marschall argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (10/7): "The confrontation of the excessively armed nuclear military blocs has been over for more than a decade, but the old thinking continues. In 1996, it seemed that the world was freeing itself forever from the nonsensical nuclear tests that can now be simulated on computers. In order to enter into force, 44 nations that have nuclear weapons must initialize and ratify the CTBT.... But only France and Great Britain as official nuclear powers, have ratified it. China and Russia, along with United States, are hesitating. U.S. Senate Republicans are afraid of restricting themselves and of losing their lead when it comes to modernizing nuclear weapons. But the United States is paying for this with a far greater security risk. Pakistan and India have already broken the test moratorium, assuming that today's nuclear powers would not take the treaty seriously. If Europe does not appeal to the U.S. conscience, the window of opportunity will close. And nobody knows whether it can ever be opened again."
ITALY: "Clinton Facing Humiliating Defeat"
Conservative, top-circulation syndicate La Nazione commented (10/13): "Bill Clinton is going to face a humiliating defeat in the Senate over the treaty that bans nuclear testing.... The CTBT, signed in 1996, was not President Clinton's priority..... However, the Republicans know that should they reject the treaty, it would allow the Democrats to portray them as the enemy of disarmament."
"Appeal That Republican Right Doesn't Want To Hear"
Siegmund Ginzberg filed from Washington for pro-Ds (leading government party) L'Unita' (10/9): "The appeal coming from the U.S.' main allies is broken-hearted, almost an appeal of epic proportions in the name of future generations.... But the Republican right does not want to hear that. They are convinced they caught Clinton in a trap and they do not seem to have any intention of giving in.... The focus of the dispute goes beyond the test ban. It is just the visible part of a seismic break which has been dividing America for decades.... Indeed, the real battle is between the supporters of isolation--those who support 'the United States above all,' capable of defending itself by itself and against anyone--and those who propose a new world balance with more actors."
RUSSIA: "Moscow, Beijing Watch Closely"
Vladimir Kara-Murza filed from London for reformist Noviye Izvestiya (10/13): "The U.S. Senate failing to ratify the CTBT is almost sure to cause Moscow and Beijing to reject this treaty."
"Republicans Don't Like Test Ban Treaty"
Dmitry Gornostayev averred in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (10/7): "The Americans, primarily the Republicans, castigate the Russian Duma for not ratifying START II. At the same time, they would hate to leave the U.S. without a chance to improve its nuclear weapons. The [CTBT], which is of key importance to international stability, is unlikely to survive next week."
BELGIUM: "The United States Prepares The Imbalance Of Terror"
Philippe Paquet contended in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (10/8): "The destruction of a ballistic missile in space last Sunday exposes the United States to both criticism from its adversaries and unrest among its allies. The test cannot but increase the temptation to start a new nuclear weapons race, a tendency that will further be reinforced if a majority in the Congress sticks to its intention to reject the ratification of the CTBT. How can one imagine imposing this treaty's constraints on Third World countries with nuclear ambitions if the United States--like Russia--does not want to respect it? Consequently, the Americans are preparing the imbalance of terror by compromising two fundamental texts, i.e., the ABM and CTBT Treaties."
"Impact Would Not Fall Lightly"
Pierre Lefevre judged in independent Le Soir (10/8): "The U.S. president did not spare an effort to make the majority of the nations adhere to the CTBT. He himself signed it in 1996, viewing that as the triumph of consensus diplomacy over proliferation. It would be a shame for him if his country were to withdraw itself. The impact would not fall lightly among U.S. allies, as they would be confronted with a superpower that clearly follows a unilateral and quite unpredictable course."
DENMARK: "Superpower Obligations"
Center-right Berlingske Tidende opined (10/7): "President Clinton deserves praise for his efforts to persuade skeptical Republican senators to ratify the CTBT. The success of the treaty depends on this, since the United States plays a leading role in the efforts to dissuade other countries, like India and Pakistan, from further developing nuclear weapons. The senators must understand that to be a lawmaker in a superpower carries obligations with it, and that the ratification of the CTBT is too serious an issue for domestic political games."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Titanic Struggle"
Influential, liberal De Volkskrant opined (10/13): "It is about the future of nuclear arms control and the U.S. role in the world. The situation does not look good.. Even if the vote is postponed, the damage has already been done. Clinton (or his successor) has no guarantee at all that he will get the 67 senators' support at a later point in time. And so, the implementation of the treaty has become uncertain because it is quite possible that other countries will follow the United States and not move ahead. If the treaty will not be implemented, some countries could feel exempted from their commitment not to produce nuclear weapons. The risks of the American solo performance are evident."
"Clinton Bears Some Responsibility"
Influential, independent NRC Handelsblad's U.S. correspondent Juurd Eijsvogel commented (10/12): "Clinton is in a painful situation which is caused not only by the tough position that the Republicans take, but also by the president's own leadership or the lack thereof. After the president signed the treaty in 1996 and sent it to the Senate a year later, he did not do much lobbying with the senators. He did not explain the importance of the treaty in his addresses to the nation. "
NORWAY: "Nuclear Tests"
Conservative Aftenposten (10/7) commented: "The Republican majority in the U.S. Senate has after two years found that it is time to discuss ratification of the agreement.... The other important nuclear powers are just waiting to see what the United States will do....
"If it does not say no to nuclear testing, neither will the other nuclear powers. Nor will the countries that have only just crossed the nuclear threshold like India and Pakistan, and countries that are on the threshold like North Korea.... Nuclear weapons are a potentially bigger threat today than during the Cold War, because not everybody has understood that they do not necessarily give more security."
POLAND: "Double Morals Of Superpower"
Zygmunt Slomkowski charged in leftist Trybuna (10/13): "Republicans argue that the [signing of] the CTBT will undermine U.S. capacity to strengthen its defense potential. They also say that the use of the verification mechanism to check how the treaty is implemented can lead to international inspections in U.S. territory. In other words, the Republicans give preferential treatment to their state over the others, and demand separate rights for the United States. It is a dangerous stance.... A superpower mentality is dangerous and unacceptable, no matter how it is motivated. Its consequences are always detrimental to the world. Playing with the atom is not abstract politics."
ISRAEL: "Failing The Test"
The independent Jerusalem Post opined (10/10): "President Clinton's appeal for the U.S. Senate to delay acting on the nuclear test ban treaty is a rueful victory for partisan realism over global idealism.... The Republicans, who never miss an opportunity to trip up Clinton whatever the issue, are keen to press their advantage despite the small majority and pleas from all major American allies to let the ratification go through.... The vote...should represent a definitive statement by the senators of an American foreign policy stance for the beginning of the next century. The world would like to know how much the United States will be involved in international concerns for higher principles, rather than its own selfish interests. The Republicans apparently would like to tell us the answer is 'not much,' if they gain control of the White House in 2000."
Semi-independent Al-Rayah observed (10/9): "Signing the treaty seems to be a very complicated issue in the United States.... If ratified, will the United States push its strategic ally Israel to ratify the agreement? Or will the issue fall into the category of special ties with the Zionist entity, as was the case with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?... The Zionist entity is the only nuclear threat in the region, hence it must be forced to ratify both treaties."
CHINA: "U.S. Urged To Ratify Nuke Treaty"
Shao Zongwei wrote in the official English-language China Daily (10/13): "The Chinese government hopes that the United States will ratify the CTBT as soon as possible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. At a press briefing in Beijing, Zhang said U.S. ratification is of great significance to the future of the treaty, and will push other countries to follow suit."
HONG KONG: "Time For Senate To Live Up To U.S. Responsibilities"
The independent South China Morning Post remarked in its editorial (10/10): "As Mr. Chirac, Mr. Blair and Mr. Schroeder warned...a failure by the United States to agree to the treaty would act as a great encouragement to proliferators.
"Any country planning to develop its own nuclear arsenal would only have to point to Washington as an answer to critics. Pressure on the two newest nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, to halt their programs would be that much more difficult to apply. Russia and China would feel less need to sign the treaty, not to mention North Korea.... The move to put the lid on nuclear weapons is eminently worthwhile. It is a process in which successive U.S. administrations have played a key role. That momentum must be maintained. Whatever the procedural maneuvers that may be needed in Washington, the Senate owes it to the world to ratify the treaty--if not this week then as soon as possible. Shelving it until 2001 would send a dangerous signal to the world, and would be a dereliction of duty by the planet's sole superpower."
"None Can Sleep Easy If N-Test Ban Founders"
The independent Hong Kong Standard had this editorial (10/8): "Conservatives in the U.S. Congress are gambling with nuclear danger in their stubborn and wrongheaded opposition to the ratification of the treaty. Their action has scared President Clinton, who was pushing for the Congress to ratify the treaty, but has now suggested that he will accept a postponement of the vote rather than risk defeat.... But if the United States were to vote against ratification, what kind of message would be sent to India and Pakistan, and indeed to China? If the United States votes against it, then nuclear nonproliferation is dead and buried and the race for bigger and better nuclear weapons will be on again. Then no one, not even right-wing Republicans, will be able to rest easily in their beds."
INDONESIA: "Another Illustration Of U.S. Intentions"
Leading, independent Kompas judged (10/12): "Nuclear weaponry has divided the world into two groups: the elite who possess them and those who do not. As long as there is a privileged elite, the non-owners will do their best to join the elite.... The U.S. Senate's problem with ratifying CTBT again illustrates the U.S.' intention to remain the world's most exclusive power through possession of the most modern nuclear arsenal. Doing so ignores the aspirations of the people of other countries."
JAPAN: "U.S. Responsible For Ratifying CTBT At An Early Date"
Conservative Sankei opined (10/11): "U.S. ratification of the CTBT...holds the key to its early enforcement. As long as the United States is reluctant to ratify the treaty, Russia and China will not ratify it either. Today the CTBT is a major 'pillar' supporting nuclear arms control. The United States must, therefore, realize that a postponement in ratifying it will run counter to a rising international movement toward nuclear disarmament."
"Japan Must Urge U.S., Other Nuclear Powers To Ratify CTBT"
Liberal Asahi emphasized (10/7): "The CTBT has not yet taken effect...because such UNSC permanent members and nuclear powers as the United States, Russia and China have not ratified the Treaty. It is supposed to take effect if and when 44 potentially nuclear-capable nations sign and ratify it. Given these circumstances, greater efforts will have to be made to persuade the remaining 18 nations, including these three nuclear powers, to ratify the treaty as soon as possible. The world is hopeful that Japan, the only country ever the victim of an atomic attack, will take the initiative in persuading these countries to ratify CTBT. Japan will have to urge these three, particularly the United States, to ratify the CTBT at an early date. Japan will also have to express clear opposition to subcritical tests by the United States and Russia, both of which claim such tests do not run counter to CTBT. Japan's clear opposition to the subcritical tests will help not only to raise the Treaty's reliability, but also to clear the way for its early enforcement. By showing its lead in ratifying the CTBT, Japan will be able to make a major contribution to the international community."
SINGAPORE: "Shame On Republicans"
In its editorial, the pro-government Straits Times reproved (10/11): "If the United States, the sole superpower, refuses stubbornly to ratify a treaty that will make the world safer for all, why on earth would any other country want to do it? The Republicans in the U.S. Senate who oppose the treaty know they risk nuclear proliferation if they scuttle it.... Considering the stakes involved, this should have been a bipartisan issue. Instead, politics take charge. Delaying the pact is bad enough; killing it is crass stupidity and hardly in America's interest.... The reasons for having a worldwide nuclear test ban treaty are cogent. The reasons for denying ratification are not.... It is important for the United States to ratify the pact so that it can persuade the others to follow suit. America has everything to gain from a safer world. It makes no sense for the Senate to reject it. If that happens, it could spell the death of an important treaty and the end of the current worldwide freeze on testing. To prevent this from happening, Mr. Clinton has gone all out to lobby for Republican support.... The Republican doubters should heed his call. If he fails, he cannot be faulted for trying. History will note that it was a recalcitrant Republican Senate that killed the treaty because of political infighting. What a shame!"
SOUTH KOREA: "U.S. Republicans Should Think Wisely"
Independent Hankyoreh Shinmun contended (10/9): "With U.S. Republican senators opposing ratification of the CTBT, the treaty is now in danger of vanishing altogether. We are deeply baffled by this development.... Although the treaty alone cannot entirely free all mankind from the nightmare of a nuclear war it, nevertheless, remains a mechanism that will play the most effective and binding role in nonproliferation efforts to date.... The United States is totally responsible for the treaty not having been ratified three years after it was first adopted at the UN.... Only 26 out of 44 countries have ratified the treaty so far, and the United States is the only country that can demonstrate the leadership to force these countries to ratify it. Now with the its refusing to ratify, there is even less chance that these other nations will do so.... The Republican senators deserve criticism for holding the global cause of nuclear nonproliferation hostage for partisan reasons."
"America In A Dilemma"
Washington correspondent Kim Chong-soo of business-oriented Joong-Ang Ilbo held (10/9): "President Clinton is in a 'nuclear dilemma'...and the United States is going to lose face over the CTBT.... It looks as if the U.S. Senate will vote against the ratification of the CTBT, and this failure to ratify could renew a race in nuclear testing.... As Secretary Albright remarked, that failure could send the wrong kind of message to North Korea, possibly casting a pall over the recent feat of obtaining the North's commitment to suspend missile launches.... The Senate vote faces a delay, which could cause the United States to lose its influence over the issue of nuclear nonproliferation."
THAILAND: "Hypocrisy Of The World's Policeman"
The lead editorial of the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post held (10/9): "[The U.S.'] not ratifying the CTBT...will ensure the continuation of the arms race, allowing not only the United States but other foreign countries to discover and test continually more lethal...tools of destruction.... On Tuesday, if the senators keep to their word, in one of the most hypocritical foreign relations actions by a U.S. Senate, ratification of the CTBT is set to be voted down.... Bill Clinton echoed the sentiments of the people of the world this week when he said the Senate has a moral responsibility for future generations. Future generations won't forgive us if we fail that responsibility. You're right, Mr. Clinton, they certainly won't."
BANGLADESH: "CTBT: Swinging Between Hope And Despair"
Conservative, Bangla-language Ittefaq commented (10/12): "There will be a worldwide reaction if the U.S. Senate does not approve [the CTBT].... Many countries in the world may refrain from approving it if the U.S. Senate does not, or if it defers approval. Russia and China will find an excuse for postponing their approval. Israel, Pakistan and India will also find an opportunity for not approving it."
INDIA: "Is The CTBT Finished?"
The centrist Hindu offered this analysis by Rajesh Rajagopalan, a fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (10/13): "The people attempting to spike the CTBT this time are not the obstinate South Asians by the more formidable U.S. Senate Republicans.... If the Senate rejects ratification it could very well mean the end of the CTBT.... How did the CTBT end up in such a mess? A good part of the blame must be laid at the door of the Clinton administration and the nonproliferation lobby.... Overconfident, they focused their attention on getting others such as India and Pakistan to sign the treaty but neglected building a domestic consensus in its favor.... If the Senate rejects ratification...it is entirely clear that many others among the 44 states [necessary for its entry into force] might also refuse to ratify."
"The Price Of Duplicity"
An editorial in the centrist Times of India said (10/12): "Having railroaded the CTBT through the UNGA and having stentoriously demanded the accession of India and Pakistan, Clinton has failed to persuade his own legislators on the merit...of the treaty.... Over the decades, successive U.S. administrations have conditioned their legislatures and populations to focus only on U.S. security interests and ignore international security norms. This is highlighted in the oft-repeated assertions of Mr. Clinton and his secretary of state that the United States is the only 'indispensable nation.'... The U.S. Senate is conditioned not to accept universal and nondiscriminatory treaties. In these circumstances, India need not tie itself into knots debating the CTBT."
"Time For India, U.S. To Look Beyond CTBT"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan contended in the centrist Times of India (10/11): "As the CTBT becomes the victim of American domestic politics, the time has come for the United States and India to delink their plans to build a new bilateral relationship from the uncertain fate of one particular instrument of arms control.... Any rational assessment will suggest that signing the CTBT does not harm India's interests. But India alone is not in a position to get the treaty going.... By signing the CTBT, but holding back on its ratification, India can simultaneously demonstrate its support for the treaty and hold back on its implementation until all the great powers are ready for it. Pragmatism, rather than ideological considerations on the CTBT, must now prevail in the Indo-U.S. engagement on the eve of Mr. Clinton's visit."
"India To Diversify Dialogue With Washington"
Diplomatic editor Jyoti Malhotra opined in the influential, right-of-center India Express (10/11): "The CTBT is dead. Long live the CTBT. Hugely relieved that the United States will not be able to ratify the CTBT till at least the visit of President Bill Clinton...India is now ready to focus on diversifying the strategic agenda with Washington.... But even as U.S. pressure on India to sign the CTBT is off for the moment, the pressure on India returning to the dialogue with Pakistan is now likely to begin in real earnest. Washington remains considerably nervous about a nuclear unstable South India."
"Major Political And Diplomatic Embarrassment"
Ramesh Chandran of the Times of India News Service said in the influential, right-of-center Indian Express (10/8): "The CTBT now looks to become a key campaign issue in the U.S. presidential elections in 2000. Republicans, critics of the treaty, branded it as one that erodes America's nuclear capability and are determined to avoid making it a campaign issue, while the Democrats' intentions are precisely that.... If the vote is defeated, it would be a major political and diplomatic embarrassment for the Clinton administration."
"The Burden Is On The U.S."
In the 'Global Watch' column of the pro-economic reforms Economic Times (10/7), K. Subrahmanyam remarked: "Now comes a report from Washington that the CIA warned that it cannot monitor low-level nuclear tests by Russia precisely enough to ensure CTBT compliance.... Therefore, India has every reason to raise the issue whether the international verification system today is adequately prepared to monitor all nuclear tests.... The Americans talk of creating favorable conditions for Clinton's visit and, by that, it is generally understood that they want India to sign the CTBT. To enable India to sign the CTBT, the United States must explain to India the nature of the nuclear threat they anticipate from countries closer to India, which compels them to carry out missile interception tests. Thus, the burden of creating the favorable conditions [for India to sign the CTBT] is entirely on the United States."
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times asserted (10/6): "While indications are that the BJP is willing to sign the treaty, it cannot be unaware that by spelling out of its stand in unambiguous terms, it may expose it to the familiar charge from its opponents about succumbing to the Americans--an accusation with which no party can live easily in India. The BJP presumably expects, therefore, some positive steps by the United States, like relaxation of sanctions and providing access to dual-use technology, to soften the blow. But there is no sign that the United States is willing to make any concessions in this regard. In addition, notwithstanding the assurances given by the Indian scientists, doubts will persist about whether signing will mean that India's nuclear capability will be stymied by restricting further tests only to laboratory experiments. Indeed, a major objection to the CTBT is that it does not stand alone, but is an integral part of the U.S.-sponsored nonproliferation regime which is intended to cripple the nuclear capacity of all countries except the Big Five.... Then, there is the question of 'cheating' which has resurfaced.... With two nuclear powers next door to India, including one which is not the most reasonable of neighbors, the new government will have to engage in intensive consultations with the other parties and assess the general mood in the country before taking a decision."
PAKISTAN: "CTBT On The Line"
An editorial in the centrist, national News argued (10/11): "The fate of the CTBT is sealed in the U.S. Senate.... Prospects of any early U.S. ratification of the CTBT appear exceedingly dim.... Certainly the United States will have little if any moral authority to ask other nations to do what it has failed to convince its own legislature to do."
"Washington's Duplicity On CTBT"
Islamabad's rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer held (10/10): "The move for postponement of a ratification vote...highlights the double standard and inherent contradictions of the U.S. policies.... Ironically, the Clinton administration is trying to impose on others what the American lawmakers don't deem appropriate for the United States. It certainly has no moral basis to woo other nations on this issue."
"CTBT Hanging In The Balance"
An editorial in the centrist, national News asserted (10/8): "Deferment [of a vote on the CTBT] would be...a stunning setback for U.S. credibility on nuclear arms control. It will also make it much harder for Washington to urge other nations, especially Pakistan and India, to swiftly sign and ratify the CTBT.... Clearly if the Clinton administration botches its make-or-break chance to ratify the treaty, it would not just signal a major failure for a president entering his final year in office, but would, as Defense Secretary Cohen told the Senate on Wednesday, 'damage U.S. credibility in calling for other states to limit testing.'... The heated debate on the CTBT in Washington shows that so far both sides have dug in their heels in their opposing positions.... With the outcome of this debate uncertain, what cannot be doubted are the wide-ranging repercussions of even deferment on the prospects of the treaty's early implementation. Also at issue in the eyes of the world is Washington's ability to put its money where its mouth is on nuclear arms control and practice what it preaches to others."
"CTBT's Uncertain Future"
According to an editorial in the Karachi-based, independent Dawn (10/5): "The fact of the matter is that the CTBT's fate still hangs in the balance. The treaty has probably created a bigger furor than any other international arms reduction agreement in the post-WWII era. Its future is uncertain because of the provision it contains for its entry into force.... It is strange that various governments--be they the United States, India or Pakistan--have evaded a commitment on adhering to the CTBT on one ground or another. The kindest interpretation is that they feel a security threat might emanate from one quarter or another, and therefore do not want to renounce their option of nuclear testing."
"Future Of CTBT In Doldrums"
An editorial in leading, mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang held (10/5): "The United States, which is the biggest champion of the CTBT, has not itself signed the treaty as the Republican Congress feels that the decision should be left to the next administration. Besides, many other countries have expressed their reservations regarding the treaty.... With the passage of time it is becoming evident that there is not much support on the international level for the CTBT, and that the ratification of this treaty is still held in abeyance by the United States."
ARGENTINA: "Defeat For Clinton Administration"
New York-based correspondent Monica Flores Correa wrote in left-of-center Pagina 12 (10/13): "Yesterday, everything seemed to indicate that the U.S. Senate would postpone a decision on the ratification of the treaty until 2001.... Russia and China, which already have nuclear arsenal, have not ratified it yet. Nevertheless, the two countries have indicated that they could follow the U.S.' steps if the superpower takes the lead and ratifies the treaty. For the Clinton administration...the request to postpone the voting has been a defeat in itself.... The rejection of the ratification, according to those in favor of it--most of them, Democrats--would lead India, Pakistan and other countries with nuclear power to conduct new tests."
CANADA: "The Wise Course Is To Delay The Vote"
The leading Globe and Mail (10/13) inquired: "Given the improbability of quelling that aggressive instinct, should the United States ratify the CTBT as a model first step toward disarmament? What if weaker or rogue nations don't follow suit? Doesn't the United States need to be demonstrably strong to patrol its global beat?...
"Among pro-test ban countries, the thinking is that if the United States ratifies the treaty, Russia and China will follow, then India and Pakistan will fall into line, and North Korea can be ostracized until it accedes to international norms. But if the world's only remaining superpower fails to win approval for the treaty in the Senate, then the reverse scenario plays out and the treaty is effectively dead.... In the run-up to an election year, partisan politics plays a major role. The Republican majority in the Senate would love to deliver a major foreign policy defeat to President Clinton by voting against the treaty. Mr. Clinton, desperate to establish some sort of noble legacy from his two terms in office, would rather postpone the vote than risk an ignominious defeat. Delay carries its own baggage, however. The price the Republicans are trying to extract is keeping the treaty out of Congress until after the president has left office, thus denying him a favourable line in the history books. Delaying the vote is the wise course. No matter how much the world needs the test ban treaty, doing nothing in the U.S. Senate today still leaves the option of doing the right thing in the future."
"The Nuclear Question And Politics"
Frederic Wagniere mused in centrist, French-language La Presse (10/12): "It's yet again another of these unfortunate cases where the wrangling between the president and Congress influences a decision that has worldwide importance.... The fact that the United States continues to wrangle tends to devalue the importance of the treaty. Countries like North Korea, India and Pakistan could very well say to themselves that developing a nuclear arsenal is a way to engage in blackmail, without any repercussions. This wouldn't be the case if the great powers, including the United States, Russia and China, clearly condemned nuclear tests as well as the proliferation of nuclear arms. The Republicans, who are blocking the CTBT, are not convinced that the security of the United States depends on the ability to continue (nuclear) testing. Rather, they want to embarrass President Clinton and the Democrats one year before the presidential election. Congress continues to be motivated by the same partisan thoughtlessness as during the impeachment of the president, rather than by the most elementary interests of the United States."
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