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February 9, 2001

9 February 2001

NMD: Tensions Rise As Diplomatic Gamesmanship Moves Into High Gear

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's reaffirmation, at a Munich security conference last weekend, of U.S. plans to proceed with missile defense prompted a fresh round of mostly critical foreign commentary on NMD. The prevailing mood in the European press was one of resignation, with most opinionmakers "convinced that Bush intends to implement his project," but, at the same time, worried that his doing so "risks exacerbating tensions within NATO." That said, some in Britain, Germany and Italy acknowledged Mr. Rumsfeld's pledge of "close consultation" with European Allies and cautioned the U.S. and Europe against "letting missile defense come between them." Commentators in Russia and China also closely monitored the Munich meeting and U.S. efforts to "persuade Europe" on the merits of missile defense. Chinese media emphasized the shared "skepticism" on the part of Beijing and several European capitals toward NMD, but Moscow analysts predicted that--despite European "discontent"--"Russia's hopes to recruit a united Europe in a campaign to resist the U.S.' ABM plans may prove untenable." The notion that diplomatic gamesmanship over NMD has moved into high gear--as the U.S. and others attempt to "sell" their arguments, pro and con--emerged as a prominent theme in papers from Europe, Russia, Asia and Canada. A New Delhi writer, e.g., discerned the outlines of a U.S. "divide and rule" strategy on missile defense, whereby Washington would "create a wedge between Russia and Europe, within Europe, and between Russian and China." Highlights follow:

EUROPE: Despite consensus that Mr. Rumsfeld's message was "unmistakable"--i.e., "the U.S. will build the space shield"--analysts differed on how Europe should respond. The French press was the most uniformly critical of the U.S. for "turning its back on deterrence" and provoking a "strategic crisis." Leading Munich and London dailies also struck sour notes, judging discord over NMD to be indicative of a growing disconnect between the U.S. and Europe on fundamental security concerns. Some Italian and German writers were more amenable to the U.S. position. As right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine put it: "All sides involved" should "accept the U.S. offer for more comprehensive consultations" and not be constrained by outmoded thinking on deterrence and the belief that the ABM Treaty is "sacrosanct."

RUSSIA: Notably, in contrast to the anti-NMD diatribes from China, the Russian media's rhetoric was far less alarmist. Several writers agreed that Moscow "can't sway the U.S." on NMD and can't afford an arms race, and, therefore, advised the Kremlin to aim for a pragmatic resolution. Reformist Segodnya, e.g., held, "The only way out is for Russia to accept a modified ABM Treaty, in return for no less important concessions, say, nuclear arms cuts."

ASIA: Criticism of NMD has been a constant in Beijing's official media, but the vitriol has increased of late--both in tenor and volume. The flagship People's Daily, e.g., deplored NMD as a "desperate attempt to seek overwhelming supremacy" while "risking world condemnation."

W. HEMISPHERE: As in Europe, the Canadian press had divergent views, with liberal papers rejecting missile defense and calling for Ottawa to be "more forceful" in relaying its concerns to the U.S., and conservative ones asserting that Canada should "get on board with NMD."

EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr

EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 64 reports from 20 countries, February 2-9, 2001. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.


BRITAIN: "U.S., Europe Shouldn't Let Missile Defense Come Between Them"

According to the independent weekly Economist (2/9): "President George Bush vows to press ahead with missile defense plans. If he and his allies are to avoid a damaging rift, they need to listen to each other--not shoot from the lip.... There is good reason for everyone, including America, to be cautious about missile defenses. Ambitious plans...could provoke an arms race that would leave everyone worse off. Some American officials talk enthusiastically of sea-based systems that, rather than upsetting the ABM Treaty...could be moved to deal with likely threats closer to source, thereby posing less of a problem for Russia or even China.... Bush, meanwhile, has sought to reassure allies by insisting he will look to their security, not just America's. But whether or not defenses of one sort or another are in theory the right answer to the new threats facing America and its allies, in practice there is another problem: None of the technologies needed to make them work is yet proven.... If missile defenses can be made to work better, and can be deployed in stabilizing, not destabilizing ways, probably more countries will become interested in them. But no technology can ever be certain of working perfectly.... As Mr. Bush ponders his missile defense proposals, and Europeans ponder how to react to them, both would be foolish to let their differences over this issue come between them."

"Shadows Over NATO's Unity"

UK Editor Philip Stephens opined in the independent Financial Times (2/9): "Sometime during the next year or so we can expect a crisis in the NATO Alliance. The proximate cause will be Washington's plan for [NMD], Europe's efforts to develop an independent military capability or, most likely, a mixture of both.... Another way of looking at the present tensions is to see them as the start of a profound reconfiguration of the transatlantic security relationship. On one level, it seems premature that there should be an argument now about missile defense and European capabilities. Neither has a certain future. The new administration in Washington is excited by a version of missile defense that defies the constraints of existing technologies.... Mr. Rumsfeld, one of Washington's political bruisers, does not like the idea of Moscow (or anyone else) having a say in the defense of the U.S. homeland.... U.S. security concerns now focus on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the missile technology needed to deliver them.... Europe takes from this a rather different perspective. It sees a nation that has become too rich and powerful to send its soldiers to war or to accept that it is anything but invulnerable to outside threat.... NMD and European defense are significant as much for their symbolism as for their substance. They represent changing mindsets."

"Probing Cook's Defenses"

The conservative Daily Telegraph offered this opinion (2/6): "On NMD, Labor remains studiously non-committal. From an ally which shares so many of its security concerns, Washington would prefer a more positive approach. The government often proclaims that the better relations with Europe, the more use it is to the United States. Over the rapid reaction force and missile defense, it is likely to have to confront its EU partners to prove that point."

"Flawed Defenses"

The liberal Guardian opined in its lead editorial (2/6): The contradictions and paradoxes inherent in U.S. missile defense plans are proliferating faster than the weapons of mass destruction that the Americans seek to neutralize. Donald Rumsfeld says the Bush administration has a constitutional and moral duty to build new missile systems. But the American defense secretary, speaking in Munich...did not elaborate on the morality (or wisdom) of a superpower tearing up arms control treaties and appearing to intimidate weaker nations with advanced weaponry. The U.S. plans risk exacerbating tensions within NATO and alienating Germany. Clearly they may also widen the transatlantic divisions already exposed by the EU's rapid reaction force. When Tony Blair goes bridge-building in Washington later this month, he must not let his desire to nurture the 'special relationship' lead to further obfuscation on this pressing issue. He should tell George Bush frankly that his missiles could blow up in his face."

"Charm Offensive Can't Conceal Problems Over Defense"

The conservative Times featured this op-ed piece by Peter Riddell (2/5): "Here we go, telling the Americans we're special. The Cook and Blair charm offensive cannot conceal problems over defense.... Differences between Europe and the United States over NMD have been underlined at the annual jamboree of the defense world in Munich.... Donald Rumsfeld...underlined the new administration's commitment to go ahead with NMD, though he offered reassurance about consultation with European allies. But French and German leaders gave warning of the dangers of a new arms race and a hostile Russian response. The British position has been deliberately opaque. Many in Whitehall, particularly in the foreign office, are highly skeptical: about the threat of missiles from 'rogue' states and how this should be handled; about abandoning the 1972 [ABM] Treaty; about the risk of a big split in the NATO Alliance; and, not least, about the technical feasibility of any proposed system. The ministry of defense view, shared in No. 10, is that, whatever our doubts are, the Americans are going ahead and Britain cannot be seen to differ publicly.... The current line, expressed again by Mr. Cook today, is: Don't worry, there are no firm American plans, so we don't have to say yes or no yet to a request to use British radar and intelligence facilities.... But this seems increasingly thin and unconvincing in view of the U.S. determination to press ahead."

FRANCE: "The Post-Cold War Era Is Over"

Andre Fontaine opined in left-of-center Le Monde (2/9): "The post-Cold War era, when no one stood to counter the United States, is over. Russia is everyday more intent on reminding everyone of its existence. Li Peng said during a trip to India that China preferred a multipolar world.... Europe itself has hopes of reaching this goal.... The Bush team is sold on the idea [of missile defense].... This is enough to worry the well as the French and Germans.... It is clear that Bush and his advisors are not 'Europe firsters.'... Quite clearly, the Bush administration's desire is to take the lead rather than seek a consensus with its allies, even if to date, not a single door has been closed. Putin at least, has understood that it is fruitless to encourage Washington's 'unilateralists,' who care very little about the world's reaction."

"Up In Arms Against NMD"

Pascal Riche opined in left-of-center Liberation (2/5): "Donald Rumsfeld's first trip to Europe has not gone unnoticed.... In the eyes of the Europeans, Rumsfeld looked very much like a ghost from the Cold War.... Rumsfeld defended the U.S. anti-missile defense program...but did not answer the objections raised by the allies.... For the U.S. secretary of defense, no one will make the United States change its position on NMD, 'because it is a moral imperative.'... Rumsfeld also expressed his hostility toward the European rapid reaction spite of Joshka Fischer's reassurance that it will not rival NATO.... The NMD program will not be implemented very soon, and it remains still quite vague. It is nevertheless taken very seriously by the rest of the world."

"NMD Makes Waves"

Luc de Barochez judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/5): "The confrontation was discreet with the Europeans, but it was a head-on collision with the Russians. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's first visit to Europe helped to identify better the quarrels that are waiting in the wings between Europe and the Bush administration. Quite clearly, the two sides of the Atlantic are on different wavelengths. The secretary of defense tried to reassure his interlocutors, saying that consultations would take place...and spent some time establishing contacts with key Europeans, such as French Defense Minister Alain Richard. These contacts will come in very handy, because the transatlantic subjects of disagreement are rapidly accumulating.... The United States is turning its back on traditional deterrence...and the U.S. secretary left no doubt as to Washington's intentions.... Although Europe is reticent, it appears resigned.... Europe's autonomous rapid reaction force was another subject that affected the nature of the talks."

"The World According To Bush"

Pierre Rousselin held in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/3): "The new administration is obstinate...and the first Bush emissary to Europe leaves no doubts as to its priorities.... Before going ahead with the anti-missile shield, Washington and Moscow must come to an agreement on the ABM Treaty.... The Kremlin may well decide to negotiate directly with Washington, going over Europe's head, which adds to the overall feeling of nervousness.... The world according to Bush, to be revealed by Rumsfeld, could be less harmonious than the one we experienced under Clinton."

"Dreaming Of A True Anti-Missile Defense"

Alexandre Adler argued in left-of-center Le Monde (2/2): "The strategic shield the United States wants to develop is without a doubt the detonator of the biggest strategic crisis of the new century. It could trigger a new Sino-Russian alliance, not warranted otherwise, and be a cause of dissension in the Atlantic Alliance.... Yet the shield will be deployed.... This totally unreasonable project is the result of [U.S.] internal politics.... The process, boosted by the Republicans, puts in question Russian-American entente.... But the project's target is not Russia, but China.... The strategic decision to finger China as America's enemy number one reflects the desire of a strategic partnership of containment with Japan.... But will Japan accept being annexed by the United States and its strategic policy, with the risk of permanently alienating China?... Deploying a shield that will push Beijing into a new arms race is madness."

GERMANY: "Putin Playing The German Card"

Manfred Quiring noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/9): "For the time being, Europe and, from Moscow's view, mainly...Germany will continue to have priority in Russia's foreign policy thinking. This is all the more so at a time when Washington is about to deploy its anti-missile defense system and when transatlantic differences are coming to the fore. Russia considers the NMD plans a new version of Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' and feels deeply offended.... But there are hopes in the Russian capital of getting European support in the NMD controversy.... However, realists in the Russian foreign ministry have given up hopes concerning the NMD project. One Russian diplomat told Die Welt in a resigned way: 'In the end, the Germans will give in anyway.'"

"Visit From The Dentist"

Constanze Stelzenmueller wrote in left-of-center weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (2/8): "Donald Rumsfeld's...core message was clear: NMD will come. And Rumsfeld was fully supported by a choir of bipartisan members of Congress. There was also good news.... With respect to missile defense, the United States will consult its partners, and it even offered to extend the umbrella to the Europeans (information on price made available on request). But first of all, it is up to the Bush government to discuss the model it wants and its price.... Joseph Lieberman made appeasing remarks saying that all this will take years. Does it mean that the Europeans can heave a sigh of relief? No, since the political costs for the American protective umbrella must be paid up front. There is the U.S.-Russian ABM Treaty. It is now up to the United States to prove that abrogating the treaty will not result in a new arms race.... The vigorous message from Europe must be: no missile defense system without arms control talks, no arms control talks without us. But the visitors must also be prepared for attacks on the EU rapid reaction force.... But it is neither an alternative draft to NATO nor a conspiracy directed against the United States. And it should by no means be used as a trump card in the debate about the U.S. anti-missile defense system."

"To The Second League"

In left-of-center weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (2/8), Michael Thumann dealt with the Russian view on NMD (2/8): "If Colin Powell wants to renegotiate the ABM Treaty, the Russians will play coy and raise demands: First, parity with respect to the number of missiles and warheads; second, a limited NMD program which will not render useless the Russian nuclear arsenal; third, the deployment of multi-warheads on Russian missiles; fourth, to get a say in a European defense system; fifth, no NATO enlargement beyond Poland. But in the end, the Russians will only be able to reject NMD to a limited degree."

"Under The Missile Umbrella"

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger front-paged this editorial in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/7): "All sides involved should accept the U.S. offer for comprehensive consultations.... The most urgent question now is what the Europeans themselves are willing to do. The fact that all sides are now talking about a defense system that protects the Alliance, and that even Russia is offering its European neighbors the establishment of a common shield, shows two things: The threats are not just figments of the United States' imagination in order to justify expensive arms modernization programs; and the ABM Treaty is not as sacrosanct as its supporters pretend.... The suspicion...that the United States is preparing to decouple from its European allies with the establishment of an anti-missile defense system, collapses on closer inspection. Would a United States which considered itself and its forces to be in jeopardy really be a more reliable Alliance partner than an America that is capable of defending itself?... If George Bush builds his defense umbrella, America will not embark upon a path to isolationism."

"Claim For Consultations"

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged on the front page of right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/5): "Maybe the Europeans have now realized that the Bush government is serious about its NMD plans. It is high time to discuss the goals and the effects of an anti-missile defense system in a quiet manner and to sort out those (mock) arguments that have been presented by a European-Russian-Chinese counter coalition which make no impression on the United States. It is necessary to take stock of the ABM Treaty.... Since [1972], strategic conditions and relations between the United States and Russia have profoundly changed. There is no doubt that the basis for the treaty has changed, that old threats no longer exist but new threats have arisen, and that the NMD project is directed only against these new threats. The German government is well advised to review its negative position and not blindly adopt Russian arguments. A limited anti-missile defense does not destroy the strategic balance and does not necessarily stir up a nuclear arms race. Russia is unable to engage in and not interested in an arms race.... But Schroeder, Fischer, and Scharping should insist on one thing on which they have a claim to as U.S. allies: consultations."

"Suspicion In The Alliance"

Stefan Kornelius said in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/5): "It would be useful if the transatlantic dialogue were conducted in an honest way, but there is little reason to hope so.... Soon NATO will have to rename itself to North Atlantic Distrust Organization (NADO). Soon both sides will have to address very clearly the transatlantic dilemma: The fact that the United States and Europe are continuously drifting apart, and that after the Europeans' Kosovo debacle and in view of foreign policy inconstancy in the United States, competition is developing between the partners on either side of the Atlantic.... In reality, the NMD system is a project to safeguard the United States' leading role and the interests of the country mainly toward the strategic challenge coming from China. The NMD project and the European defense initiative have in common that they destroy the old consensus in the Alliance and stir up distrust. Both nurture separatist and isolationist tendencies."

"Transatlantic Tightrope Act"

Jochen Siemens noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/5): "The controversy has been postponed or it has been settled: The Europeans continue to set up their EU forces, of which Washington does not think too much, and the Europeans want to have a say regarding NMD and want to be consulted.... Of course, NATO is not in danger. On both sides of the Atlantic, people know of the value of NATO, and they know that there is no alternative. But the discussion in Munich emphasized that the distance over the Atlantic refers not only space but increasingly also to substance. The EU is about to become more than the sum of its individual states, thus changing the balance in the Alliance. But this requires a clear explanation of interests that do not always point to the same direction. In Munich, both sides have made a beginning in this respect."

ITALY: "Fort Alamo In Space"

Deputy managing editor Gianni Riotta commented on the front page of centrist, influential La Stampa (2/5): "The space shield will be the most important international political issue of the next few years. In fact, it risks kicking off a second Cold War, pitting Beijing and Moscow against Washington, and creating resentment between Europe and the United States. It also risks creating fear and an arms race in Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan and India.... The European allies and the former Cold War enemies have in vain tried to criticize the new U.S. doctrine (on the space shield) during the weekend conference in Munich.... Is the space shield worth it?... And it is unlikely to be impermeable.... If America decides to proceed with this project, the international scenario will suddenly change. Moscow and Beijing will prudently draw closer. And 'rogue' nations will secretly multiply their nuclear efforts. Europe will suffer a very serious anti-American crisis.... What can we do? The UN is not in a position to intervene. And there is no forum where to discuss the issue, as the dull weekend in Munich has shown."

"To Mediate Is Possible"

Aldo Rizzo maintained in centrist, influential La Stampa (2/5): "In addition to being unpleasant for the Europeans, is this 'appointment with the dentist'--as Henry Kissinger described the space shield project in Munich--really necessary? Let's say that perhaps it is unavoidable, if the big American ally has really decided to proceed.... What can the Europeans do? First of all, they should not let themselves be caught in the usual Russian game of dividing the two sides of the Atlantic.... Second, they should make their reservations heard in Washington, so that the strategic turn, if it really occurs, will be agreed upon or at least coordinated, not only with Europe, but also with Russia and China. A few signals behind the [U.S.] façade suggest that this is not impossible to achieve."

"Differences Between Europe And Bush Over Anti-Missile Shield"

Andrea Nativi observed in leading, center-right opposition Il Giornale (2/4): "Rumsfeld landed in Munich to participate in the annual forum on security...and he immediately made it clear that the music has changed in Washington. The anti-missile shield will be built, with or without the agreement of the Russians and the European allies.... Rumsfeld did not mince words on another hot issue as well--the European initiative to create a rapid reaction force.... Bush's defense secretary, however, did offer a few olive branches, pointing out that, on the NMD, the United States will not proceed hastily and will talk both with the European allies and Moscow."

"An Unmistakable Message"

A report by Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/4): "Rumsfeld yesterday issued an unmistakable message at Munich: The United States will build the space shield, but it will be at the service 'not only of the United States, but also of its friends and allies.' And he pledged 'close consultation' with NATO."

RUSSIA: "U.S. Persuades Europe"

Sergei Guly held in reformist Noviye Izvestiya (2/7): "Russia's hopes to recruit a united Europe in a campaign to resist the United States' ABM plans may prove untenable. Less than a month after Bush became president, Brussels is sending signals that it is ready to accept the Americans' arguments. Experts in the U.S. capital are inclined to attribute Bush's early success to the new tactics used by his diplomatic team. Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice right from the outset made it clear that whether or not it is expedient to build a full-scale ABM system is not up for discussion. It is a done deal. Whether Russia, China or Europe agree and whether the ABM Treaty will be upheld is not important. With the EU out, Moscow has been left with an assortment of Third World countries, as well as North Korea and China. Bush has decided he will not waste his time and effort on them. Russia's only hope now is that the idea of anti-missile defense will follow the fate of Reagan's more ambitious SDI."

"Europe Likely To Follow In Hegemon's Wake"

Yevgeny Grigoryev said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2/6): "The Munich forum saw two mutually exclusive stands (on ABM), those of Russia and the United States, clash in a headlong collision. As for the Europeans, most of them, as demonstrated by the conference, overtly or covertly sympathize with Russia's arguments. It would, however, be premature to say that there is no way the Americans can turn their NATO Allies around. As averse to NMD as Europe is in its heart, NATO may, as in the Kosovo case, end up following in its hegemon's wake. Already, the conservative press, commenting on the Munich conference, suggests that there should be no opposition to the U.S. plans."

"U.S. Still Undecided"

Yevgeny Antonov contended in reformist Vremya Novostei (2/6): "America is still undecided, not knowing how to build ABM.... Uncertainty in the U.S. administration only adds to confusion among its European allies. Many U.S. congressmen, as they talked to their European colleagues in Munich, found out that Europe's discontent has not been overstated."

"Star Wars Rhetoric Unwarranted"

In reformist Segodnya (2/6), Oleg Odnokolenko commented on Russian Defense Minister Sergeyev's statement that, if America pulls out of the ABM Treaty, Russia will revive its military space programs: "Our commentators find that the Star Wars rhetoric has been unwarranted. With the Pentagon's financial resources incomparably bigger than those of Sergeyev's Defense Ministry, the Russian's statement sounds like a bluff. The effect would have been quite different if he had said that, with the United States withdrawing from the 1972 treaty, Russia would denounce START II and leave its 'heavy missiles' on their launch pads."

"Talks Better Than Rhetoric"

Duma Deputy Oleg Naumov told Boris Volkhonsky of reformist business-oriented Kommersant (2/6): "Ranting and raving won't stop the U.S. plans. It's better to start negotiations now, not in five years, when [the Americans] have a new ABM system and we have something else."

"U.S., Russia Remain Divided"

Boris Volkhonsky commented in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (2/5): "There was no rapprochement in Munich between the U.S. and Russian positions [on ABM]. Sergei Ivanov and Donald Rumsfeld merely confirmed the divergence. Meanwhile, Europe has been claiming a particular role and greater independence from the Americans in defense matters and, for that reason, has occasionally voiced concern over NMD. But then, its concern is not serious enough for Russia to take advantage of differences between the United States and EU."

"U.S. Boycotts 'Russia Day' In Munich"

Oleg Odnokolenko reported in reformist Segodnya (2/5): "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated that NMD will be created in any event. Referring to the ABM Treaty...the Americans called it a vestige of the Cold War mentality, for the first time making their position formal at an international level.... Nobody there, or in Europe for that matter, seriously believes that Russia can effectively compete with the United States in a new arms race. The only way out is [for Russia] to accept a modified ABM Treaty, in return for no less important concessions, say, nuclear arms cuts. Moscow does not look ready for such a compromise yet, though."

"We Can't Sway U.S."

Dmitry Safonov mused in reformist Izvestiya (2/3): "There is no way we can influence America as it is planning to deploy NMD. Given the state of our economy, we are helpless. That explains Vladimir Putin's initiative to cut the number of our nuclear warheads unilaterally to 1,500--we can't afford to maintain more. Many military experts say that reviewing the ABM Treaty is not as bad as politicians make out. We can make it up by putting more nuclear warheads on our ballistic missiles and by improving our capacity to penetrate NMD systems."

"Cornerstone Or Sacred Cow?"

Reformist Vremya MN front-paged this comment by Vladimir Petrovsky (2/2): "The recent statement by U.S. Vice President Cheney that the Americans reserve the right to pull out of the ABM Treaty unless they fail to get it modified leaves no hope that the new administration will abandon its NMD plans. The Russian stand has at first blush remained unchanged, as we insist publicly and privately that the treaty be kept up as a cornerstone of international security.... If diplomacy is an art of compromise, it is doubly so when applied to defense matters. The critical mass of accords and obligations in the nonproliferation area serves to permit Russia and the United States, providing there is good will and enough mutual trust between them, to augment the ABM Treaty by modifying it, with due account of the security of both sides. Under the circumstances, it is okay to adjust the letter of the treaty in order to preserve its spirit. Once the Americans reach a consensus on NMD, there will be no turning them round. Won't that make Russian diplomacy into a hostage of its own intransigence? Must we turn the 'cornerstone' into a 'sacred cow'?"

AUSTRIA: "Space Cowboy"

Foreign affairs writer Nina Koren commented in third-largest Kleine Zeitung (2/5): "The fear of a new arms race is not unfounded: Even if Washington should manage to renegotiate its arms treaties with Moscow, China might expand its nuclear arms arsenal. In a chain reaction, Japan and the nuclear powers India and Pakistan would follow. George W. Bush announced in his campaign that he would not intend to act as a world policeman. He now behaves like a space cowboy instead."

BELGIUM: "Space Shield Demands Firm European 'No'"

Independent Catholic De Standaard ran a lengthy op-ed column by KUL professor Tom Sauer (2/8): "There are two major arguments against the American space shield. First, the missile shield is not a fundamental solution for the security problem. If countries like Iraq or North Korea or terrorists want to use weapons of mass destruction against the American continent, it will be much easier to use non-ballistic means.... Second, Russia and, even more, China are totally opposed to the NMD for understandable reasons. Both countries are not capable of deploying a similar system and prefer not to spend scarce sources nuclear weapons. Russia has already threatened that it will renounce all the existing arms treaties of the last two decades. China has clearly hinted that it will have to expand its nuclear arsenal to maintain a deterrent.... The least the EU should do is to make it very clear to the United States...that a defense system that protects the entire U.S. territory--and even the allies--is unacceptable. The 1972 ABM Treaty must be maintained as it is, unless it can be amended with the approval of Russia and China."

"Fuss About Missile Shield"

Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert asserted in independent Catholic De Standaard (2/7): "A credible defense against missiles will not be technically feasible for many years to come, but the idea of such a missile shield has nevertheless become an apple of discord between the United States and the European allies.... It is a fact that the only superpower left is a target. It is not surprising that many Americans do not view a threat by missiles from 'states of concern' or terrorist movements merely as science fiction.... The European NATO allies, who are participating in a 'feasibility study' on tactical missile defense, also know that a defense against missiles may be indispensable.... Nevertheless, the European allies continue to be reticent about the American plans. They fear a new arms race.... Both Solana and his successor Lord Robertson have come to the conclusion that the Bush administration is carrying out its NMD plans. They believe that it is better for the European allies to start a constructive dialogue than to be dragged down into a sterile 'yes-no' game."

CZECH REPUBLIC: "World Still Dislikes Star Wars"

Kveta Buschova commented in business-oriented Hospodarske noviny ( 2/7): "The Americans probably live in the belief that Russia's economic and political decline will allow them anything. How else could one understand the statement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that the ABM Treaty is a relic of the past?... However, the United States will not succeed by ignoring [the Russians] all the more because the Russians are not alone in criticizing the [NMD] project."

FINLAND: "Discord Ahead"

Independent Aamulehti's editorial read (2/5): "Bush is more enthusiastic about the NMD than his predecessor was, and he plans to proceed with it despite Russian and Chinese protests. Also, U.S. European NATO allies have major doubts. They do not want to endanger nuclear disarmament. In addition, there are widespread doubts about the usefulness of the protective shield.... It would be start preparing for a diminishing European role as a U.S. partner and for stronger disagreements."

IRELAND: "The Danger Of NMD"

The moderately conservative Irish Times editorialized (2/5): "There are extremely influential people within Russia's military-industrial complex who would welcome another arms race and who see NMD as an opportunity to get started.... While NMD may serve American interests, an agreement between Washington and Moscow for the further reduction of weaponry would be in the greater interest of humankind."

POLAND: "A Dangerous Shield"

Leopold Unger wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (2/9): "Vladimir Putin is expecting some curious guests: Iranian President Khatami in March, and North Korea's 'Little Stalin,' Kim Jong Il in April--the heads of states which, together with Iraq, top the American list of 'rouge states' whose programs of nuclear and missile weapons could threaten U.S. security. Why is Putin ready to show up in such bad company and thus defend the pariahs of the civilized world? It is because he is seeking allies in a campaign against the American plan of building a shield of anti-missile defense.... In Russia's perception, the NMD system would mean either a serious change in the world's balance of power in favor of the United States, or such a colossal increase in Russia's arms spending that it would put into question the state budget and any serious economic reform program. The strategists in the Kremlin, then, are determined to sign a pact even with the devil to ward off such an alternative."

PORTUGAL: "Peace In The World"

Respected commentator Luís Salgado Matos argued in influential, moderate-left Público (2/5): "The 'son of star wars' [NMD program] would seem to destroy 'MAD.'... Is 'MAD' continuing to guarantee the peace? That is the crucial question.... 'MAD' is certainly not credible in a multipolar world. There are too many players with a destructive capacity. Many of them are not dependable as enemies.... The presupposition of rationality has disappeared. In this context, NMD will not be a threat to peace. On the contrary. Moreover, if Mr. Rumsfeld's proposal is not a bluff, the risk...of an arms race...would be even greater if we don't participate.... The Europeans must participate in 'son of star wars'--and impose conditions, one of being to define the architecture of world peace for the next 30 years."

ROMANIA: "Rumsfeld's Presence"

Cristina Terenche's editorial in opposition Romania Libera said (2/5): "The presence of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Europe, only two weeks after his confirmation, clearly shows the Americans' desire to calm the allies and to clarify some sensitive issues."

SPAIN: "A Controversial Shield"

Barcelona's conservative La Vanguardia remarked (2/5): "European leaders present in Munich seemed resigned to the United States' determination [to proceed with NMD]. Europe, now convinced that Bush intends to implement his project, prefers to minimize it and above all to handle it so that it doesn't become a divisive element within the Atlantic community.... In other words, Europe is accommodating toward the U.S. project, preferring not to call into question the cohesion of the Atlantic Alliance. However, from the point of view of Europeans, they hope that the United States demonstrates the same understanding about [ESDI]."

"To The U.S. Dentist"

According to a signed editorial in center-left El Pais: (2/5): "It was Henry Kissinger who commented during the...Munich conference that the Europeans approach the dialogue with the U.S. on an anti-missile shield like a visit to the dentist, in which the main objective is to minimize the pain and discomfort. The Europeans, braver over the past few months, appear resigned to the fact that they must have this molar taken out. After all, Washington's initiative is unstoppable: There is money; there is technology to apply; and there is political agreement between the two parties.... With NMD, the United States can obtain even more than security [via] overwhelming technological/military superiority.... However, at the same time, NMD could be like taking a genie out of the bottle.... NMD, even if it works, may be the solution to a non-existent problem while, at the same time, creating new ones."

TURKEY: "Turkey Has Two Options"

Ferai Tinc wrote in mass-appeal Hurriyet (2/5): "The first foreign policy initiative from the new U.S. administration has come from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, in which he reiterated support for the NMD.... Rumsfeld's visit to Germany also shows us that relations with Europe is the first priority for the Bush administration.... Turkey cannot make a choice between Europe and the United States because the U.S. and Europe's interests meet at the point of the region's stability."


AUSTRALIA: "Bush's Isolationism"

An editorial in the leading Sydney Morning Herald read (2/6): "The Bush administration's intention 'to develop and deploy a missile defense designed to defend our people against a limited ballistic missile attack' has put its strategic alliance with Europe under unnecessary strain.... Mr. Rumsfeld's statement of the new U.S. position, harking back to the thinking under earlier administrations of Bush's father and Reagan, was bound to cause concern. Under Clinton, the United States had established a position committed to the...process of arms limitation and nuclear disarmament negotiations. Now, it seems, that's all to change."

"Son Of Star Wars"

Mark Colvin, presenting "PM," the leading current affairs program on the government-funded ABC Radio National, gave this analysis on NMD (2/5): "China, like Russia, fears that a working missile defense system could give the United States an overwhelming advantage and breach existing ballistic missile agreements. But China's sensitivity is even greater because of Beijing's fears that Taiwan could end up being protected by the American missile shield. And with the debate raging in Washington about whether to sell Taiwan four new navy destroyers...the Chinese are already keyed up. For Australia, which wants to stay friends with the Americans without offending China, it could provide a diplomatic dilemma."

CHINA: "NMD Plan Invites Doom"

The official, English-language China Daily quoted this article in Communist Party People's Daily (2/9): "The United States will encourage its own downfall by pursuing its NMD system. As the only superpower, the United States has enjoyed a unique status in the new pattern of world relations after the Cold War. But it still seeks the paramount right to control world affairs, which surely will initiate a new round of the global arms race and bring an ominous end to human rights.... Reviewing history, it is not hard to find many empires that collapsed by seeking boundless expansion, absolute advantages and omnipotent control. The United States may be inviting its doom too."

"Differences Between U.S. And Europe On European Security"

The Pro-PRC Macau Daily News had this editorial (2/8): "Some EU countries have questioned the missile defense system's reliability. They also worry that its establishment will trigger a new round of the arms race due to the strong objections from Russia and China. This may also damage relations between European countries, Russia and China. Therefore, the German prime minister has already asked the United States to explain to its allies its intentions for the missile defense plan. Moving the missile defense system to Europe would indicate the need for U.S. global strategic deployment.... Britain is very cautious in showing its support. France, Italy and Germany all rejected the plan and have taken a skeptical attitude. The differences between the United States and Europe over European defense policy is an inevitable outcome of the contradiction between a unipolar world, which the United States is attempting to establish, and the trend toward multipolarization."

"What Does Bush's Decision To Deploy NMD Mean?"

Xi Laiwang commented in official Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao, 2/8): "President Bush appears to be far tougher in pursuing the plan than his predecessor. Development and deployment of the NMD is intended to seek U.S. strategic supremacy [and] maintain the United States' status as the sole superpower.... As unpopular as a rat crossing the street, NMD has gone far beyond the scope of self-defense and against the main trend of the time."

"Aggressive Diplomacy Of George W. Bush"

Yuan Zheng commented in the official Global Times (2/8): "The style of the new Bush administration bears great resemblance to that of Reagan and his father's cabinet.... NMD, which George W. Bush desperately advocates, will be an important source of friction between the United States and China."

"New Century Won't Be Serene"

An editorial in the official, English-language China Daily observed (2/8): "In the new century, the global arms control process will be prickly, said an article in the Beijing-based Outlook weekly.... In order to maintain military supremacy, the United States has done little to reduce troops and military expenditure. It even declared that it would modify or even abandon the landmark ABM Treaty so as to build TMD and NMD."

"U.S. Anti-Missile Plans Could Damage Stability"

Hu Qihua wrote in the official, English-language China Daily (2/7): "The United States plans to deploy an anti-missile system that would undermine world stability and lead to a new arms race in outer space.... The U.S. plans go against the trend of the times."

"U.S. Thinking Hard To Understand"

Jin Zeqing commented in the official, English-language China Daily (2/7): "Even though U.S. officials have cited the threat of missile attacks from nations such as the DPRK as an excuse to deploy the NMD system, Washington's plan...does not seem to make any sense.... Bush's first steps in foreign and security policy have aroused alarm from its European allies as well as Russia. Washington's plans to deploy the NMD would only give every country, big or small, the 'right' reason to upgrade their weapons of mass destruction in order to counter, frustrate or evade the threat posed by the United States."

"Never Do Things That Risk Everyone's Condemnation"

Huang Qing commented in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 2/7): "Risking world condemnation, the United States develops the NMD system at all costs, in an attempt to seek and secure overwhelming strategic supremacy and to cater to the demand of American arms dealers. It seems that the United States, the sole superpower of the world, has suffered from a 'mania for overwhelming supremacy,' in the hopes that it will have a paramount dominance over the world. However, limitless expansion, and desperate attempts to seek overwhelming supremacy always lead to exhaustion of one's internal energy and, consequently, self-immolation. In this sense, this mania will inevitably lead the United States to calamity.... History has proven that obstinately sticking to a mistaken course amidst condemnation will never turn out well."

"E.U.-U.S. Security Ties"

Fang Xiangsheng commented in the intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 2/6): "At security conference in Munich, the United States and EU seriously differed over the NMD system.... Since the Kosovo war, the tendency for the two sides to pursue their own system of security has been strengthened."

"American Space War Takes China As Target"

Ding Gang and Ge Lide commented in the official Global Times (2/6): "Some experts say that the recent space exercises using China as a mock target is an effort to pave the way for the deployment of NMD. Anyone who has any knowledge of the subject can tell that America's NMD system is directly targeted at China and Russia. Reluctant to abandon the Cold War mentality, some Americans harbor hostility toward China's growth. As a matter of fact, in recent years, many large-scale U.S. military exercises have been targeted at China. At the beginning of the new year, the United States takes the lead in stirring up disputes, and lifts the curtain on another round of arms races. China, Russia and all peace-loving people in the world should be vigilant against this tendency."

"Russia Takes Initiative To Stop U.S. From Launching Missile Defense Plan"

The Pro-PRC Macau Daily News wrote in its editorial (2/3): "After Bush became the U.S. president, he immediately changed the United States' cautious approach and said that he would launch the missile defense plan. This had aroused objections and concern from China, Russia and some European countries. As everyone knows, the U.S. missile defense plan is aimed at China and especially Russia.... Although Russia-U.S. relations have improved, Washington still treats Russia as its major nuclear weapons rival. Washington worries that its drastic action may spur Moscow to take action, leading to vicious competition. It is why the Clinton administration advocated the missile defense plan but did not put it into action. Now, Moscow has adopted a gentle and firm approach to deal with the hawks in the Bush administration. Washington has to carefully think about the implications regarding Russia."

"How Will Bush Light His First Torch?"

Shi He commented in intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 2/2): "Bush's recent announcement supporting the deployment of the NMD system has met with strong international opposition. As a superpower already armed to the teeth with advanced weapons, the United States, using a despicable excuse, wants to erect another barrier to prevent a few small missiles from a few small nations from landing. This is really ridiculous. In reaction, other countries have only two means of defense: Either willingly submit to America's command or further arm themselves, which will inevitably lead to a new round of arms racing."

HONG KONG: "Willful U.S. Actions Bad For World Peace"

The Pro-PRC Hong Kong Commercial Daily wrote in its editorial (2/7): "If the United States breaks the [ABM] pact, it will waste international arms control and disarmament efforts. It will also have a negative impact on global and regional strategic stability.... More and more countries and regions realize that the global trend is toward a multipolar world.... If the United States poses as a 'superpower' and acts against this trend, it will only hurt itself."

"Bush Restarts Arms Race In East And West"

The center-left A Daily News had this editorial (2/7): "[Bush] ignored the objections of the world community and announced the establishment of a [NMD] system. Meanwhile, he also said that the United States would withdraw from the [ABM Treaty].... It can be said that Bush has restarted the arms race between the East and West.... The United States has also spurred a new round of the arms race. This will force Russia and China to work more closely together or even to form an alliance.... The media in Beijing has revealed that China will develop and launch thirty satellites in the next five years. It will also soon develop spaceships that can carry people into space. All these developments are making peaceful use of outer space. However, if necessary, they can be turned to military use."

VIETNAM: "The National Missile Defense Of The U.S."

Le Linh Lan wrote in Nhan Dan, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Vietnam (2/7): "The history of missile defense shows clearly that the goal of U.S. policy is to gain the supreme strategic advantage over other nuclear powers in order to realize its ambition of becoming the world leader.... It is unlikely that the Bush administration will give the go-ahead to the implementation of the NMD in the coming months.... U.S. President Bush should be aware that U.S. efforts to gain a nuclear advantage and establish a unipolar world regardless of the interests of other nations, including that of the United States' EU and NATO allies, will definitely isolate the United States."


INDIA: "U.S. Strategy To Isolate China On NMD"

The centrist Hindu had this analysis by Tokyo correspondent F. J. Khergamvala (2/6): "For all intents and purposes, the United States has conveyed to China that it should get used to the idea that the United States will deploy a missile defense system, but specific objections from Beijing will be dealt with in a bilateral arrangement. Strategically, the United States will divide and rule the missile defense arrangement.... The overall strategy now appears to be to create a wedge between Russia and Europe, within Europe and between Russia and China. The East Asia aspect will be taken care of by dealing with China bilaterally. Russia and China are drafting a strategic partnership treaty document. One of its fringe purposes, according to analysts, is to try and prevent Russia from doing a deal with the United States on missile defense.... Anyhow, the new arms race is on. It will take a lot of resistance for India and Pakistan not to join, or a lot of money as entry fee."


CANADA: "... While The Little Guy Helps The Big Guy"

Richard Gwyn noted in the liberal Toronto Star (2/7): "The United States needs us as an ally for its [NMD] program. The Bushies are absolutely determined to go ahead with NMD come what may.... Canada's consent to NMD would help to make it easier to sell elsewhere around the world."

"Fishing Buddies"

The conservative Ottawa Sun remarked (2/7): "There's no doubt the Chretien Liberals got off on the wrong foot with this Bush administration. Canada could start bridge-building with the new American administration by not only reminding the United States that we are its closest ally, but also showing it by ending our wavering over the controversial missile defense system. Canadians may not like this country's ever-growing dependence on U.S. defenses, but it's a choice we made ourselves in...reducing our own military to a state of virtual irrelevance. Besides, we can't pick and choose when to seek cover under the American nuclear umbrella. It has given us convenient comfort for more than half a century. We're hardly in a position now to start complaining about American attempts to improve it with a purely defensive shield.... It's times like these when America really learns who its friends are."

"George W. Bush And The Real Missile"

The leading Globe and Mail commented (2/3): "President Bush promises to forge ahead with missile defense and...Donald Rumsfeld is one of its strongest boosters. Now they are pressing U.S. allies such as Canada to get in step. American officials pitched the idea to Foreign Minister John Manley last month and Defence Minister Art Eggleton this week. It may come up when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien visits Mr. Bush in Washington on Monday. Canada should resist this pressure. Missile defense poses a direct threat to Canadian security. If the Americans break the taboo on missile defenses by building their shield, Russia and China are likely to react by building better offenses and aiming them at North America, undoing years of progress on arms control and possibly igniting a new arms race. Yet so far Canada has uttered barely a word of protest. Fearful of getting caught out if Washington bulls ahead with the plan, our officials are refusing to speak openly about this country's justifiable concerns about missile defense.... Ottawa needs to be much more forceful."

"Get On Board With NMD"

The tabloid-style Ottawa Citizen held (2/2): "President Bush wants to build a limited missile defense system against the possibility of 'rogue' states...firing missiles...against the U.S. and its allies. It is a reasonable and responsible idea. Yet many in Europe and North America, stuck in a Cold War mentality, are only too willing to be cowed by Russian and Chinese warnings of apocalyptic consequences if NMD is deployed. Unfortunately, that includes our government.... When Mr. Chretien sees Mr. Bush in Washington next week, he should tell him Canada, as a partner in Norad and NATO, will help develop NMD, for diplomatic and technical reasons.... Foreign Minister John Manley is right that intelligent steps should be taken to accommodate Russian and Chinese concerns about stability. But the lesson of the 1980s still applies; preparedness is the best friend of peace. It's time we got on board."


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