News

February 23, 2000



U.S. NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS UNDER EDITORIAL FIRE OVERSEAS





In limited comment since last month's unsuccessful U.S. missile defense test over the Pacific Ocean, the majority of editorialists from Russia, Europe and East Asia remained critical of potential U.S. plans to build and deploy a national missile defense (NMD) system and related administration efforts to secure Moscow's agreement on amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Similar to previous editorial coverage [see Special Report on NMD, ABM Treaty, January 19, 2000], objections to a U.S. missile defense system and ABM revisions centered primarily on concern that U.S plans would upset the the "delicate balance of deterrent relationships" among nuclear weapons states and give "weapons proliferation...new momentum," as some states would likely counter NMD by "building up their offensive capacities." Some pundits expressed "doubt" about whether the "threat to the U.S." posed by nations like North Korea justifies even a "slimmed down Strategic Defense Initiative," holding that "Washington has still not managed to prove its fears...that 'pariah state' ballistic missiles threaten U.S. cities." Even among those who argued that "no one denies that some threat may exist" from so-called "rogue states," many were skeptical that "NMD can ever meet it, technically." Judging that "the gains are remotely probable, while the risks are immediate and certain," most commentators concluded that "it is still too early for deployment of the system" and urged the Clinton administration to "postpone a decision" on NMD. A select few, by contrast, voiced support for NMD, or at least conceded that the U.S. plan has some merit, including a London weekly which maintained that "its time may have come," and papers in Japan and Israel which stressed the benefits to regional security of enhanced missile defenses. Regional highlights follow:



RUSSIA: Media focused on the ABM Treaty, with both official and opposition papers positing that START II ratification ought to be tied to the fate of the 1972 accord. "Should the Americans go for broke contrary to common sense, Russian would be fully justified to pull out of START I and II," insisted one. A few argued more broadly that the U.S.' "seeking to destroy the functional basis of strategic stability" is part and parcel of "Washington's drive for hegemony."

EUROPE: Editorials worried that the U.S. "NMD initiative," together with European plans for an autonomous security and defense identity (dubbed ESDI), could "if mishandled, lead to a decoupling" of U.S. and European security interests. Dwelling on the "policy implications if Washington places the U.S. under a protective shield," a Berlin daily complained, "Instead of preparing decisions in talks with partners...the superpower acts unilaterally." A London paper urged "Clinton and his advisers to pay attention to their European Allies," adding that it would be "counterproductive" for the U.S. to go ahead with NMD "without agreement within NATO."

EAST ASIA/MIDDLE EAST: The most virulent protests against NMD came from official media in North Korea and Vietnam. Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency ran several pieces lambasting the U.S. for using the "absurd pretext" of a North Korean missile threat to vindicate its "reckless moves" on NMD, which, it argued, "can neither be justified nor allowed." A conservative Tokyo daily found common cause with an Israeli paper in maintaining that "a theater missile defense system...can become an effective tool against external missile threats."

EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr



EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 28 reports from 13 countries, January 20 - February 22. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.



EUROPE



RUSSIA: "U.S. And Russian Interests"



Following a U.S. visit by Russia's National Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov, nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (2/22) ran this comment by Vasily Safronchuk: "Ivanov asserted that the strategic interests of the United States and Russia coincide in such areas as combatting terrorism and organized crime, enhancing nuclear nonproliferation, etc. Secretary Sergei Ivanov's naivete is simply startling. The United States is destabilizing the situation in the Caucasus, building a new missile defense system in violation of the ABM Treaty, waging an information war over Chechnya, etc. Sergei Ivanov prefers not to see all that, as he speaks about the coincidence of our strategic interests."



"Russia Won't Survive Another Arms Race"



Reformist Segodnya held (2/16): "Unless the Duma ratifies START II, Russia will face another nuclear confrontation with the Americans and a wasteful arms race it can't afford. On the other hand, it can't ratify START II as it stands--this document came on the crest of a populist wave and does not quite meet Russia's interests today."



"Russia May Pull Out Of START I, II"



General Vladimir Dvorkin, chief of a research center of the Russian Defense Ministry, responded in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (2/15) to the United States' NMD plans: "We can't forego our security interests, meaning that we will have to improve the military complement of our intercontinental ballistic missiles and build up our arsenal. As the last resort, should the Americans go for broke contrary to common sense, Russia would be fully justified to pull out of START I and START II. But hopefully, it won't happen and our Duma will finally ratify START II before the U.S. administration resolves to deploy NMD."



"Opposing U.S. Diktat"



Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, chief of the international military cooperation department of the Russian Defense Ministry, stated on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2/11): "Russia certainly wants to keep up and develop the process of limiting and reducing nuclear and conventional weapons and to maintain equal relations with the United States in world politics. But our desire to do all that conflicts with Washington's drive for hegemony. The United States has found itself in isolation, as it seeks to destroy the functional basis of strategic stability and strategic arms limitation. The Clinton administration is working vigorously to drag Russia into negotiations to review the 1972 ABM Treaty. Russia is resisting, so a compromise is practically impossible.... There clearly is a long-term anti-Russia tendency in U.S. policy.... Russia's acting president is sincere when he speaks about promoting constructive relations with America. Are the Americans? I wonder."



"Stop Ratification"



Nationalist, opposition Zavtra (2/11) ran this piece by Aleksandr Sergeyev: "Only a naive person can believe that the United States ever made gentlemanly commitments or followed international law. To the Americans, America's supreme interests are international law. This is why the United States will pull out of the ABM Treaty. It will use any pretext to do so after we dismantle our missiles. What happens after START II ratification?



"We'll be left unarmed, without our last security guarantee, up against the United States, hoping only for a miracle to save us. Therefore, we must stop the ratification of the treaty. START II spells Russia's total nuclear disarmament. Commander-in-chief Putin is going to sign an act of capitulation to the United States."



"ABM's Fate May Be Decided In April"



Yevgeny Antonov said in reformist Vremya MN (1/20): "NMD's fate may finally be decided in April-May after the Pentagon carries out a new test. If it fails, a dispute between Moscow and Washington may be resolved by itself for lack of anything to discuss. But then, Clinton may decide to deploy the system even if the test fails. His latest actions (e.g. his efforts to reconcile Israel and Syria) show that he is determined to have Americans remember him for more than the Monica Lewinsky affair."



BRITAIN: "Alliance Shows Signs Of Internal Disarray"



The independent Financial Times observed (2/7): "Only months after their united victory in Kosovo, the NATO Allies are showing signs of internal disarray. Initiatives are underway on both sides of the Atlantic that could, if mishandled, lead to decoupling. The United States is pressing ahead with plans for a national missile defense (NMD) scheme to protect itself against attack by 'rogue states.' And the Europeans are intent on building a full defense pillar under the umbrella of the EU. Each views the other's plan with mixed feelings, bordering on hostility. Both sides need to heed genuine concerns, or the Alliance itself could be weakened. U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen spelled out his worry over the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) in Munich at the weekend. He fears that the EU may end up establishing a new bureaucracy without any new military capability. If the EU members of the Alliance keep cutting their defense spending, they will undermine the Alliance instead of building a stronger European defense pillar, he said.... Meanwhile, the Europeans are getting increasingly worried about the NMD initiative. They fear it would create a new rift in NATO, and alienate both Russia and China. President Clinton and his advisers should pay attention to their European Allies. Nobody can stop the United States going ahead with NMD, if it proves technically feasible. But it would be entirely counterproductive to do so without agreement within NATO. It is time to stop the Atlantic drift."



"The British Minister At The Beck And Call Of Washington"



The liberal Guardian had this op-ed commentary (2/1) by political columnist Hugo Young: "The first steps are always tentative, and invariably secret. It is not possible to find out a great deal about (British Defense Secretary) Geoffrey Hoon's visit to Washington last week. His meetings were part of the routine of Anglo-American intimacies exchanged in his terrain. We do know that on this occasion time was given to something that requires the widest possible discussion at the earliest possible time. The U.S. argument continues about NMD. Its outcome will have global implications. If the new NMD plans ever happen, they will require British collaboration. But more widely, even before they happen, they ask a question about the way the hitherto inviolate Anglo-American defense consensus is likely to be taken forward. Will we, in short, be dragged into a pointless exercize that has the ancillary result of destabilizing world peace?



"No one denies that some threat may exist, from North Korea and perhaps China. The issue is whether NMD can ever meet it, technically; and whether, by pressing on with a near-vain endeavor which is largely, though not entirely, driven by ideological politics in a rightist U.S. Congress, the White House, under Clinton or his successor, will be blundering out of the relative global peace of the last decade into an indefinite period of renewed cold war hostilities between great powers. This is not a trivial argument, and NMD has serious supporters. But the gains are remotely probable, while the risks are immediate and certain.... What it immediately does is reopen the delicate balance of deterrent relationships.



"It induces emerging missile powers to increase their arsenals, to improve their chances of penetrating NMD. By apparently (even if imperfectly) enhancing U.S. defense, it upsets the painstaking arrangements in the ABM Treaty, which has served Washington, Moscow and the world well since 1972."



"Countdown"



The independent weekly Economist observed (1/28): "It could not be described as a success. An interceptor missile missed an incoming dummy warhead by six seconds, meaning that the test failed. But even those who oppose the idea of some sort of anti-missile defense for America are starting to realize that its time may have come. Mr. Clinton promised last year, when he signed the National Missile Defense Act, that he would decide by 'the summer' whether or not to start building the first stage of a thin defensive shield that would aim to protect all 50 states from a limited missile attack by a country such as North Korea or Iraq.... What concerns the administration now is the growing threat from increasingly long-range missiles in the hands of hostile regimes. It used to be assumed that America would have at least five years' warning of a serious missile threat to its own territory. No longer. North Korea's firing of a rocket over Japan into the Pacific in 1998 was a rude wake-up call. Will Russia strike a deal? Talks continued this week but have not yet got very far. And the wider impact? Like America's skeptics, China says it doesn't think missile defenses will work. But it also fears it might."



"U.S. NMD Lacks Approval From Canada, NORAD Deputy Says"



The authoritative, independent Jane's Defence Weekly said (1/26): "The proposed U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system, which last week failed in its second attempt to intercept a missile in space, is far from garnering the vital support it would need from Canada. According to Canadian Air Force Lt. General George MacDonald, deputy commander of NORAD, a U.S. decision to develop the missile shield without first amending its 1972 ABM Treaty with Russia might force Ottawa to withhold cooperation. Canada might also withdraw from NORAD, he warned. Even if Washington modifies its treaty with Moscow, the United States will be hard-pressed to convince Canada's civilian leadership to embrace NMD. 'The concept of weapons in space is vehemently rejected by the Canadian government and most Canadians. The potential weaponization of space is seen by Canadians to be a seriously negative development that would exacerbate nuclear instability,' he said, adding that NMD has become 'the most significant issue that we will ever have dealt with in terms of Canada-U.S. defense relationships.'"



GERMANY: "European Warnings On America's Missile Defense"



Ralf Beste opined in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (2/21): "From the viewpoint of the old continent, we must state that the fact that the European Allies have concerns about the U.S. anti-missile defense system is only rarely used as an argument [in the United States]. It seems that they only play a minor role [in the U.S. discussion of NMD]. Instead of preparing decisions in talks with the partners or affected countries, the superpower tends to act unilaterally. The fierce debate between American and European politicians on the anti-missile defense system at the Munich Security Conference was understood as the beginning of a U.S. advertising campaign for NMD--and resistance was considered a side effect. Indeed, the Europeans currently have difficulty presenting their protests in a vigorous way. They have various concerns but have not yet found a clear position against NMD.... But if even European intelligence services second the U.S. view of the dangers emanating from possible rogue states, the European governments cannot deny the United States the right to react to such possible dangers.... If NMD really works...it will be able to destroy a handful of hostile missiles. And this NMD logic could also develop a certain charm on the old continent: Those who accept the danger and the risk of possible attacks must make up their mind and try to find out whether Europe also needs such a missile defense system....



"But what kind of implications will it have for U.S. foreign policy if Washington places the United States under a protective shield? The European Alliance partners could be involved in a crisis which the United States has provoked, because it considers itself invulnerable. The Europeans also have mixed feelings concerning U.S. relations with Russia. Out of concern about disarmament, they call upon Washington to search for an understanding with Russia [before embarking on NMD].... But all this would not resolve the real risk: Not only the so-called nuclear powers but also real nuclear powers such as China and India will search for ways and means to rebalance the balance of forces. Weapons proliferation could get a new momentum as a reaction to the United States' 'protective measure' and a new arms race between North and South could result. It is the job of the Europeans to warn against it."



"Europe Is Turning Into A Target"



Right-of-center Muenchener Merkur (2/7) carried this article by Holger Eichele: "Irrespective of global protests, the United States continues to stick to plans for a national anti-missile defense system.... If the United States is trying to shield itself with a protective shield, Europe will turn into a target for every dictator, for every major power which wants to hit the Pentagon but instead aims at its partners. President Reagan already dreamt of a protective shield, which finally burst like a bubble. It is anyone's guess whether the new SDI project can be realized. If it is to be prevented then it will be due less to international protests or enormous costs than to the laws of gravity."



"The Weakness Of The Europeans"



Jochen Siemens argued in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/7): "One year after the Kosovo war, the security policy situation between the United States, Europe and Russia has been characterized by tensions, and distrust.... All sides involved have drawn different lessons from the first hot war of the Alliance.... While the Europeans are working for the establishment of their own common army, the United States is way ahead as far as arms technology is concerned. This also refers to the second great area of dissent between the Americans and the Europeans: The United States will set up its own anti-defense missile system.... Such a system will have far-reaching consequences. There will be different zones of security in NATO. Russia and China will feel threatened, and further disarmament scenarios will then no longer be conceivable. As far as industry policy is concerned, such a program means enormous investments in future-oriented technologies in which the United States is in the lead. In view of these foreseeable developments, the Europeans are well-advised to see their problems not in terms of the strength of the United States, but mainly in terms of their own weakness."



"Nothing For Free"



Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/7) had this to say: "For more than 30 years, the Americans have encouraged the Europeans to assume greater responsibility for their continent, but now that they are assuming this role, this is not correct either.... The [European moves] are an important step to emancipate the EU in the field of defense policy, but not to such a drastic extent that we should fear a European decoupling from the great Alliance partner on the other side of the Atlantic. Secretary of Defense Cohen, however, has a different view and is afraid mainly of one thing: more bureaucracy but not necessarily a greater combative power for the European force.... The discussion about European defense during the Kosovo war revealed different interests in NATO. The Europeans are trying not to lag behind the United States when it comes to arms technology, but they do not want to pay for it. The American Ally looks more than ever to money questions since it is thinking about its own limited anti-defense missile system. But the European pillar of NATO cannot be extended for nothing--in this question, Cohen is absolutely right."







ITALY: "New American 'Star Wars' Plan Failed"



Leading, business Il Sole-24 Ore filed from New York (1/20): "The new American 'Star Wars' plan failed.... The Pentagon acknowledged it and this might hamper the implementation of the controversial military project, a reduced version of the 'Star Wars' planned during the Reagan administration. The test was considered of crucial importance for the future of the plan itself.... It was the first complete test of the new system.... Its success would have met minimum standards required by the Pentagon to recommend to the White House the deployment of the new technology by the year 2005. Now, the Pentagon has its last trial, probably between the end of April and the beginning of May."



"News Doesn't Raise Enthusiasm"



Cesare de Carlo noted from Washington in leading, conservative syndicate Il Resto del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno (1/20): "The news does not raise enthusiasm. But the Pentagon remains optimistic. Even if the test failed, the plan will go on in any case because it is essential to national security.... In order to have another $8 billion, the Pentagon must successfully complete two tests. One was successful and the other failed. They will try again at the end of April or in May.... The anti-missile system should be operational by the year 2005.... Russia protests: The space shield would violate the ABM Treaty. But the Americans would not give in because of this."



"One Chance Left"



Siegmund Ginzberg filed from Washington in pro-DS (leading government party) L'Unita (1/20): "The...test of the defense shield, the reduced 'Star Wars' plan on which Clinton has to decide by this summer...failed. If it had been successful...it would have been difficult for the White House to resist pressure from the Pentagon and the Republican majority in Congress to deploy the new system by the year 2005. At this point, supporters of the new defense system, which is supposed to make U.S. territory invulnerable to a limited number missiles with of nuclear or biological warheads from 'rogue' states...have only one chance left. A...test is planned for the end of April of early May, then Clinton must decide....Indeed, his decision falls in the middle of the presidential campaign.... Among candidates, Bush and all the other Republicans stand for a continuation of the plan, while both Al Gore and Bill Bradley have expressed more cautious views. Scientists and experts are divided between those who are enthusiastic and those who call it a waste of money."



BELGIUM: "Star Wars In A Bad Way"



Pierre Lefevre judged in independent Le Soir (1/20): "The American decision to build such a system is likely to modify the world strategic equilibrium, and, in particular, Americans' relations with the other nuclear powers. Russia is strongly opposed to such a development which would call the ABM Treaty into question.... In Russia, many people are threatening the halt to any progress in the field of disarmament, including the ratification of START II and the negotiations on a START III--if Washington does no longer abide by the ABM Treaty. Several European allied countries--France and Great Britain in particular--are also opposed. They consider that this new system could divide the [NATO] Alliance, since the United States would then have a protection system which Europe would not have.... China is even more worried by the idea that such a system could be exported to Japan and Taiwan, breaking the regional equilibrium and encouraging the rebel island to seek its independence."













"Doubts"



Foreign Editor Axel Buyse commented in independent Catholic De Standaard (1/20): "A successful test was to convince Bill Clinton definitively that the United States is capable of shielding its air space with a genuine 'space shield' against rogues trying to attack the nation with nuclear missiles: a rebirth, in a slimmed-down format, of the Strategic Defense Initiative.... At best, the system will be operational by 2005. There are doubts about the need to protect the United States with such an expensive thing. The official version is that system is directed, above all, against rogue states like North Korea. However, there is much doubt about the quality of the North Korean missile program.... First, the technicians will have to prove that the intercepting missile can intercept with precision. After that, more problems will surface, such as the possibility that the 'rogues' would jam the intercepting missiles, or that they would 'saturate' space by firing a large number of missiles at the same time."



THE NETHERLANDS: "Cracks In The Alliance"



Independent, influential NRC Handelsblad (2/11) wrote of Defense Secretary Cohen's visit to Europe: "The cracks in the Atlantic Alliance showed up this weekend. America's secretary of defense, at the annual security meeting in Munich, professed his belief in an anti-missile system for American territory, an enterprise that awakens distrust among the European partners with regard to the United States' strategic objectives. Moreover, he let his skepticism be seen with regard to ESDI.... In Munich there was much discussion on the 'lessons of Kosovo,' but these appeared to be exclusively about technical shortcomings in the military cadre and about political and military waffling during the carrying out of the intervention. The first lesson of Kosovo should be that every intervention is sui generis; therefore there are always new lessons to be learned. Kosovo did not resemble Bosnia, Bosnia was different from Somalia, and Somalia in many ways was different from Kuwait. The Americans have a new image of the enemy, Cohen clarified. Europe refuses to go along with this. Maybe this is the most noticeable fault line."



PORTUGAL: "The Invisible Threat"



Noted journalist and Lusiad University Assistant Prof. Nuno Rogeiro wrote in national Jornal de Notícias (2/4) about the "one frontier" that divides Europe and America: "It was created by the idea, prevailing in Washington, of a need for a national anti-missile defense system (NMD), the modest successor to the Reaganite 'Star Wars,' and by suspicions about the Old World's virtual army. Regarding the latter, it was explained that, for years, the United States told Europe that it should pay more for its own security, and arm itself better. Now that the Europeans are following this advice, the Americans think this is a kind of rejection. As for NMD...Washington has still not managed to prove its fears, repeated in the CIA's annual report...[that] 'pariah state' (the usual suspects) ballistic missiles threaten U.S. cities."



EAST ASIA



JAPAN: "Japan Should Give Whatever Support It Can To U.S."



An editorial in conservative Sankei observed (2/10): "Together with the 2001 defense outlay of $291 billion, the United States' 2000 defense report highlights vigorous security and strategic policies, giving many meaningful suggestions to Japan's security policy. The report pointed out the possibility of Russia and China becoming major threats to the United States by around 2015, while citing North Korea as the 'most significant near-term danger' in Asia. The report stated that the DPRK could test a Taepodong-2 missile anytime soon. Against such a background, it emphasized the importance of developing an effective national missile defense system and top-of-the-line technology to counter a 'cyber war.' In addition, the report stressed the need to deal with terrorism and regional conflicts. Japan is surrounded by such potential threats as Russia, China and North Korea.



"In fact, the North's missile development poses a greater direct threat to Japan than to the United States. A theater missile defense system, jointly researched and developed by the United States and Japan, can become an effective tool against external missile threats. But Japan should not depend overly on such an anti-missile system because its accuracy will not be perfect and such a system alone will be far from enough to guarantee national security. The United States continues to maintain 100,000 military personnel in East Asia so as to deal effectively with direct threats. Japan should give whatever support it can to the United States."



NORTH KOREA: "Cohen's Anti-DPRK Diatribe Assailed"



Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) featured this article (2/7): "[Worker's daily] Rodong Sinmun in a signed commentary today blasts U.S. Secretary of Defense Cohen for his remarks made at a recent press conference reiterating the establishment of the 'national missile defense' system under the absurd pretext that there is real 'threat of North Korean long-range missiles' and it may grow. He added that he plans to submit to President Clinton this summer a recommendation on deploying the 'NMD' and if approved, the United States will have it in place to be deployed for action till 2005. The 'threat of North Korean missiles' touted by U.S. conservative hardliners quite often is a sheer lie and a fiction, the commentary notes, and goes on: The U.S. design remains very wild and dangerous. The U.S. intention is to turn the earth and the universe into missile bases by developing and deploying ultra-modern precision guided missiles capable of flying thousands of kilometers under the pretext of the 'missile threat' from the DPRK. Through this it seeks to have a definite strategic edge over the rival forces and put any country and region in the range of its strike in a bid to enforce a self-opinionated tough policy and establish hegemony. Herein lie the aggressive nature and danger of its moves to establish the 'NMD' under the pretext of the 'missile threat from North Korea.' The U.S. moves to establish the 'NMD' can neither be justified nor allowed."



"U.S. And Japanese War Moves Under Fire"



Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) carried this piece (1/23): "The U.S. and Japanese military are stepping up a close exchange of opinion as a follow-up to the plan for introducing a new-type aegis. [The daily] Minju Joson, in a signed commentary Saturday, denounced this as an anachronistic and dangerous move to spark a new arms race in East Asia and escalate military tensions there. The 'theatre missile defense' system reflects an ulterior intention of the U.S. and Japanese reactionaries to have a 'military edge' in East Asia, to establish military domination over it and, moreover, to hold world supremacy. The commentary went on to say that [the United States and Japan] dream of realizing their ambition for domination by stifling the DPRK militarily. That is why they are going to stage a computer simulation exercise for a 'contingency' on the Korean peninsula...while stepping up the establishment of the 'theatre missile defense' system under the pretext of a 'missile threat' from the DPRK. Their projected joint exercise is nothing but a preliminary to another war of aggression on the DPRK. If they ignite a war on this land, the Korean People's Army and people will annihilate the aggressors to the last with merciless strikes."



"U.S. Anti-DPRK Smear Campaign Dismissed"



Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) filed the following item (1/22): "The United States is floating a strange rumor that the DPRK has already rounded off the 'bomb explosion test' whose results are 'applicable to nuclear bomb detonating test.' Dismissing this, [worker's daily] Rodong Sinmun in a signed commentary today says that the United States is making much fuss after dreaming up a sheer cock-and-bull story. This is aimed to make the 'nuclear and missile threat from North Korea' a fait accompli and support [the United States'] assertion that its moves to establish the 'missile defense' system are a 'measure necessary' to cope with this 'threat.'





"The United States seeks through the 'missile defense' system to deploy missiles on its mainland and in different regions and countries of the world in a bid to have a military edge over other powers. At the same time, it tries to draw world public attention to the DPRK and divert elsewhere watchful eyes focused on Washington. But this can not go down with anyone. The United States is chiefly to blame for the nuclear and missile threat. It is the United States which tops the list of nukes and missiles. The United States is in the belligerent relationship with the DPRK. It has neither declared a halt to providing a nuclear umbrella to South Korea nor shown any willingness to withdraw its troops from South Korea. Its nuclear weapons and missiles, wherever they are deployed, will be targeted at us. The United States should stop its reckless moves to establish the 'missile defense' system and drop its wild dream of world domination."



SINGAPORE: "Postpone Decision"



The pro-government Straits Times (2/4) had this editorial: "U.S. President Bill Clinton is to decide by this June whether America should deploy a NMD system by 2005. By the terms of legislation passed last year, he is to base this decision on four factors: intelligence estimates of missile threats to the United States; the feasibility of the technology; its cost; and the impact that deployment would have on existing arms control agreements. Advocates of NMD assume the first test has been met.... But even if one grants this argument--we do not--the scheme has yet to satisfy the three other factors.... Of the 18 or so interceptor tests that have been conducted since 1983, none has been successful.... Shooting a bullet with a bullet has turned out to be devilishly difficult. That leaves two other conditions to satisfy.... The cost of building one or two battle systems with 100 or so interceptors each will probably run into hundreds of billions. An America convinced that it has years of prosperity before it may well be able to afford this expense, but how much security will it buy? Russia, for one, has refused to amend the 1972 ABM Treaty. China, too, has bitterly criticized the proposed shield, and will probably ally itself with Russia to beat it.... Since they cannot assume the shield will not work, they must react as though it will, and build up their offensive capacities. In the process, existing arms control regimens will be gutted, and future ones will be threatened. It is clear, therefore, what is the verdict on the last and most important of the conditions Mr. Clinton imposed on himself: NMD will indeed threaten arms control....



"Given all these facts, it is clear what Mr. Clinton should do in June: He should tell Congress, clearly and unequivocally, that he is in no position to make a decision now.... Now that even some Republicans are suggesting that the decision should be left to the next president, Clinton can do precisely that without suffering an electoral cost. Since politics was what fueled NMD in the first place, he can let politics bury something he never quite believed in himself."



SOUTH KOREA: "National Missile Defense System On Shaky Ground"



Ha Sung-bong wrote in independent Hankyoreh Shinmun (1/21): "The national missile defense system that the United States is eager to deploy is now on a shaky ground, as a result of the failed missile test held in the Pacific the other day. That failure embarrassed the Clinton administration enormously.... The administration was going to make a final decision about the deployment of the system by June, assuming that the test succeeded.... Now with the test having failed, Russia and China will likely step up their opposition to the plan. While Washington's defense is that the system is aimed against rogue nations, including North Korea and Iraq, many analysts seem to agree that it still is too early for deployment of the system."



VIETNAM: "Defending Or Inciting Wars?"



Vu Minh commented in Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon-the mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Party, 2/11): "Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States continues the arms race at a high level and is unilaterally going against previous arms agreements with the Soviet Union, now Russia.



"At present, the United States has begun a campaign to draw support from its allies in Europe and Asia to the so-called 'the U.S. missile defense system.' Will Europe easily accept this U.S. defense plan, while it is making efforts to build up an army for itself? Will Russia, with its new security plan, let the United States easily manipulate Europe and Asia? What is readily apparent now is that the U.S. arms race policy will cause new confrontations in the world."



MIDDLE EAST



ISRAEL: "The Self-Defense Imperative"



The independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/14): "U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk is reportedly advocating a change in (Israel's) policy of self-reliance, in the form of a formal U.S.-Israel defense treaty.... On its face, the prospect of a defense pact with the world's sole remaining superpower might seem to be an attractive one.... However, there is a world of difference between the United States enhancing Israel's capability to defend itself and the United States committing to step in militarily in Israel's defense. The former Israel should continue to pursue; the latter should be assiduously avoided, no matter how tempting it might seem from a political perspective.... The best way for the United States to enhance Israel's security is to invest more heavily in missile defense systems that can be deployed in defense of both nations. The United States could also help Israel defend itself by allowing a similar level of access to American military technology as provided to the United Kingdom and Canada."



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10/29/99

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