International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

February 23, 2004

February 23, 2004





**  Conservative papers say the "reasonable" speech can "spur" global cooperation.


**  Critics emphasize American "double standards," and claim nonproliferation is just Washington's "pretext to threaten" other countries.


**  The U.S.' "permissiveness" towards Pakistan weakens Washington's credibility.




'Criminalize nuclear trafficking and plug the loopholes'--  Stressing the "importance of stronger controls," right-of-center dailies praised President Bush for moving "swiftly" to improve the NPT regime's "shortcomings" in his 11 February NDU speech.  Thailand's moderately conservative Bangkok Post said "new anti-proliferation steps are needed" because proliferation "remains an extremely serious problem."  German and Japanese dailies termed Bush's "call for tightening regulations" convincing, but urged a "general, global and strict" system with "far-reaching equitable conditions for all countries" instead of "unilateral" actions. 


The U.S. cannot serve as the 'world's referee'--  Citing the U.S.' "development of mini-nukes" and its "policy of preemptive nuclear strikes," leftist dailies contended that the "hypocrisy in Washington fairly reeks."  Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung warned:  "Those who play with fire themselves cannot watch monitor arsonists."  Other writers alleged the speech sought to "restore credibility" to Washington after it "wildly hyped the threat from Iraq."  Many papers wondered how the U.S. will proceed with "restructuring the global nuclear order" given the Bush administration's "contempt for traditional arms control."


Bush seeks only to make permanent the 'barrier between haves and have-nots'--  Aggressive Bush opponents assailed the president's "latest muscle-flexing pronouncement," adding that the only criterion in determining punishment for alleged proliferating nations will be "whether the U.S. wants that country whipped."  An Indian paper blasted Bush's plan to keep "WMD the monopoly of a global military oligarchy" with the U.S. enjoying "dictatorial indisputability"; other writers agreed with Kenya's left-of-center Nation that WMD are the "only effective safeguard" for those threatened by the U.S.' "new conservative juggernaut."


'Support for Pakistan calls U.S. commitment 'into question'--  Indian dailies criticized Bush for "expanding the scope" of nonproliferation instead of "concentrating on setting things right" in Pakistan.  Australian outlets saw "bald hypocrisy" in the U.S.' "continuing defense of Pakistan" despite its "blatant breaches" of non-proliferation protocols.  Pakistani writers, nonetheless, saw the U.S.' aiming to "deprive Pakistan and other Muslim countries" of nuclear programs.  Noting Beijing's activities, the centrist Times of India found the U.S. "guilty of overlooking" China's proliferation.      


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 51 reports from 18 countries over 12 - 20 February 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each date are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Banning The Bomb:  The World Must Act To Halt Nuclear Proliferation"


The conservative Times opined (2/13):  "The predictability of the Cold War has gone.  Those countries now trying to build nuclear bombs cannot be trusted to keep them from use....  Stopping nuclear proliferation is a challenge facing the established nuclear powers, made all the more urgent by the ease with which the deadly components of a bomb can now be acquired....  Whether or not Saddam did stockpile weapons of mass destruction, his intention to build a nuclear bomb was, and remained, an existential threat to the rest of the world.  Action had to be taken to prevent a dictator developing nuclear arms that might also be made available to terrorists.  President Bush has now taken this argument further: international efforts and treaties to stop the spread of such weapons are falling, and the world must join forces to criminalize nuclear trafficking and plug the loopholes in the enforcement system.  The proposals he outlined on Wednesday go to the heart of the matter....  Mr. Bush has moved swiftly and more deftly on the proliferation threat than his critics will admit.  In future, the yardstick by which a country will be judged will be no only democracy and human rights, but adherence to nuclear treaties and protocols.  The U.S. is returning to multilateral diplomacy to underpin the proposed framework for greater nuclear security; unless other countries join in, the threat of the unthinkable will be greater than it has ever been."


"Control The Bomb"


The independent Financial Times declared (2/13):  "President George Bush has come up with proposals on nuclear proliferation that show he has learnt from the past year....  The uncovering of a clandestine nuclear network involving Libya and Pakistan has also brought home the importance of stronger controls on sales of nuclear technology as well as IAEA inspection of its use....  The civil nuclear industry will have to subsume its own interests to the greater good.  However much the world needs nuclear power, especially as a carbon-free source of energy to help stem climate change, it has an even more immediate interest in stemming the spread of atomic bombs.  And Mr. Bush’s proposals make a useful contribution to that goal."


"You Too Can Go Nuclear"


John O'Farrell wrote in the left-of-center Guardian (2/13):  "Every year there's a different craze; a new gadget on the market that everybody has simply got to have. First it was mobile phones, then it was digital cameras and now this year's big fashion is for nuclear warheads. Suddenly they've become so easy to buy that street traders have them piled up at the covered market on Saturday mornings....  Now George Bush has said that the illegal trade in nuclear technology has to be stopped. The turning point was the confession by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist that he had flogged nuclear secrets to North Korea, Libya and Iran through the black market....  It is amazing it has taken America this long to wake up to the rapid spread of enriched uranium to regimes less stable than a Russian reactor....  Now the transformation of Bush into a campaigner against nuclear weapons has caught his advisers off-guard....  His government is concerned about the development of this nuclear supermarket. It turns out most customers don't have a Bush loyalty card. Instead, there are lines of fundamentalist terrorists queuing at the extra-wide checkout loaded up with plutonium rods labelled 'Buy One, Get One Free'....  So the call has gone out to all members of the nuclear club to stop the spread of nuclear technology. Many in the Republican party will be disappointed at this interference with the natural laws of the free enterprise....  But this episode has proved what the anti-nuclear lobby has argued all along, that there is an inextricable link between the increased development of nuclear power and the spread of nuclear weapons. Western governments have been taken in by their own propaganda, believing that it is possible to export the know-how for 'peaceful' nuclear power programmes without having to worry about dangerous by-products or hidden agendas....  The rest of the world is always going to aspire to a nuclear capability for as long as we hold it up as something we are allowed to possess and they are not. This is where Britain could play a pivotal role in helping the world become a safer place. We should take a lead, not only in decommissioning our pointless nuclear arsenal, but also in phasing out our nuclear power programme. And in the meantime George Bush will do his bit to make it clear how useless these weapons of mass destruction really are. Because anyone who doesn't do exactly what he says gets attacked with weapons of mass destruction."


FRANCE:  “Bush Supports A Redefinition Of A Military Nuclear Doctrine”


Jean-Christophe Ploquin noted in Catholic La Croix (2/13):  “President Bush likes to see himself as the champion of the fight against nuclear proliferation....  On Wednesday he called on every nation to re-enforce their laws in order to prevent dissemination of WMD....  More specifically he is asking for an amendment to the non-proliferation treaty....  But for over two years the U.S. have been risking encouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons by changing the doctrine that regulates their use....  First in the Nuclear Posture Review...the U.S. gave its support to research on mini-nukes....  Second, the Bush administration has adopted a new military charter, the National Security Strategy, which legitimates the use of preventive action....  If the hawks who head the Pentagon managed to impose their views, the U.S. might one day consider the use of mini-nukes as a preventive measure. This prospect is very worrisome because it breaks with the traditional doctrine defining the use of nuclear weapons....  Today’s miniaturization makes the use of nuclear weapons much more plausible. The U.S. would be opening a Pandora’s box and launching a new arms race.”


“Fighting Proliferation”


Luc de Barochez stated in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/13):  “On Wednesday President Bush made a speech with seven proposals to fight against nuclear proliferation....  France saluted the Bush administration’s agreement to work through diplomacy, which has already been successful with Libya and Iran....  But the American proposals have little chance of eliciting a worldwide consensus. Their aim is to allow nuclear nations to continue to develop their programs while keeping emerging nations from mastering the nuclear cycle.”


GERMANY:  "Smuggling"


Jacques Schuster opined in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/17):  "It has never been easier for states lusting after nuclear bombs to get the necessary technology in order to become a nuclear power and therefore unassailable.  A new age of armament race has started different from the Cold War philosophy of deterrence, but among countries that are often opaque and aggressive.  Over is the dream of a world rid of nuclear dangers, a dream many Europeans still believe in....  Americans have made reasonable proposals.   Of course, they rely on all nuclear powers complying with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It indentures them not to supply third countries with nuclear material that can be used militarily.  China has broken this agreement by handing over some of its knowledge to Pakistan and Libya.  What is the value of a treaty violated even by the countries that signed it?  Beijing's violation happened in a time when the danger of global terrorism was not high on the agenda.  9/11 has changed this perception.  However, one should not ignore the temptation of being a nuclear power is more powerful than the fear of sanctions."




Ewald Stein wrote in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf   (2/17):  "U.S. President Bush is right:  Any civilized nation should have an interest in preventing the proliferation of WMD....  The idea [of changing the nonproliferation treaty] sounds plausible but is naïve at the same time.  It exists since 1970 but has largely failed its goal....  The nuclear powers are responsible for this dilemma, because they are not complying with the clauses of the treaty.  They pleaded for stopping tests, but do computerized probes.  Even worse is the development of mini-nukes because they are changing the current character of the nuclear systems.  While they were used for strategic deterrence as a political weapon in the past, they will soon be used in limited battlefields.  That is armament."




Nikolas Busse held in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/14):  "There is no other country insisting so much on armament controls like Germany.  The Red-Green government has always seen it as the best concept to counter Bush's 'preemptive doctrine'.  Hence, one was proud in November that the German Foreign Minister helped Iran comply with strict IAEA inspections.   However, there are indications that Iran is cheating, prompting clear statements in Washington.  Both things are not Germany's fault, but it is surprising that the staunchest supporter of armament checks has not yet made any proposals, suggesting how international agreements could be changed to be able to deal with cases like Iran.  The American President--no friend of multilateralism--has to do the job now.  German Ministers don't seem to have more ideas than simply warning America not to produce nuclear weapons themselves.  Foreign policy in Berlin is only an administrative case."




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/13):  "Government Bush's latest proposal concerning nuclear weapons does not come out of the blue.  It has something to do with the season, the difficulties in Iraq and the desire to dominate the discussion on security.  Details of the plan how to stop nuclear proliferation will not excite everybody.  Establishing nuclear asymmetries firmly will remain a matter of irritation; the feasibility is another one.  The remarkable thing about Bush's proposal is his enthusiastic plea for international cooperation and strengthening the important organizations, which have been in the dark too often recently.  In the light of the latest experiences, it reveals a learning process.  Also the response is remarkable.  If the world doesn't wake up, it risks self-destruction, the UN said.  Maybe the deeds of nuclear desperados and their criminal helpers raise a consciousness of danger and the recent shortcomings of non-proliferation attempts."


"Bush And Arsonists"


Stefan Ulrich opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/13):  "George Bush is not the best witness when it comes to the matter of weapons of mass destruction.  He absolutely overestimated Saddam's arsenal and he ordered to develop mini-nukes, violating the spirit of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  However, the President deserves to be believed when he warns the world against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Although it is unlikely that terrorists will get hold of the bomb in the foreseeable future, it is more than realistic that more and more countries will pursue nuclear armament.  The Indian, Pakistani and Israeli achievements are bad enough, but every further country joining the atomic club is getting the world closer to doomsday.  Thus, Bush must be supported if he wants to interfere with the help of the UN and its relevant organizations.  If only!  There is the suspicion that Washington would like to act unilaterally again--flanked by friends and atomically privileged countries.  Such a plan will not work.  It will prompt excluded countries to get nuclear weapons to make themselves unassailable or to raise U.S. interest.  Only a general, global and strict control system with far-reaching equitable conditions for all countries can permanently stop this lethal race.   Also Washington must sacrifice something by denouncing mini-nukes, because those who play with fire themselves cannot monitor arsonists."




Michael Stuermer held in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/13):  "Washington and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna are aware of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's loopholes.   President Bush wants to close them.  Otherwise it is only a question of time when nuclear weapons will be used in the Middle East....  Bush's initiative will basically confirm the system of three nuclear classes...and anticipates an IAEA project wanting to control the world's entire nuclear production.  Neither do Americans want to comply with controls nor do they believe in the efficiency of the procedures.  Critics remark that the U.S. is developing mini-nukes and bunker-busters to destroy nuclear fortresses.  But who, if not the Americans, would make non-proliferation their own matter?  The world is dangerous enough, which is evident not just in the Pakistani and Indian nuclear weapons test, but also in Iran, Libya and North Korea.  Without a watchdog they would be even more dangerous."


"Welcome Randomness"


Malte Lehming said in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/13):  "Life isn't fair.  Why are Pakistan and Israel allowed to possess nuclear weapons, but not Iran and North Korea?  Why is the industrialized world allowed to trade nuclear goods, but Libya is not allowed to get hold of centrifuges.  The answer has a random touch.  It cannot be argued without terms like trust, mistrust, reliability and stability....  Without any doubt is non-proliferation the cardinal matter of the years to come.  The risk that nuclear weapons will be used is higher today than during the Cold War.  What can be done against it?  The concepts of the past--Non-Proliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency--have shortcomings.  That is why the direction of the American government is correct.    PSI must be strengthened.  The allegation that a new and not UN mandated 'coalition of the willing' is taking the law in its own hands is essentially true, but not helpful.  Life just isn't fair."


ITALY:  “Bush’s Appeal: ‘International Action Against Nuclear Weapons’”


Ennio Caretto maintained in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/12):  “Yesterday Bush centered his campaign against the non-proliferation of asking for a new UN resolution proposing that no other country, besides the one who already have them, be given the possibility to obtain nuclear technology or material. In a harsh speech at the National Defense University, which brought to mind those against Iraq a year ago, Bush warned that America ‘will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes to blackmail the world with the most lethal weapons in existence today'....  He praised Italy and Germany for intercepting materiel destined for Libya....  Bush asked that Iran be suspended from the IAEA Council.”


“Prohibited Weapons, Bush Insists ‘The U.S. Will Not Accept Threats’”


Alberto Flores D’Arcais stated in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (2/12):  “The unfound WMD of Saddam Hussein have become another incentive for the President in the war against international terrorism: he doesn’t deny that the CIA could have erred...he resumed the political-electoral strategy (the fear of terrorism and the war on terrorists) that had paid-off until now but that recently had lost vigor. The WMD problem, nonetheless, remains an extremely serious problem and it goes beyond any electoral calculation....  This is exactly why the President, in his speech at the National Defense University spoke at length about the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and of the trafficking of nuclear technology from Pakistan to Libya....  Bush repeated several times that the U.S. would not accept threats. He went back over the Iraqi case, confirming that the unfound WMD is not seen as a problem by the White House.”


“Bush In Trouble Rehashes [His Spiel] On Fight Against Rogue States”


Roberto Rezzo observed in pro-democratic left party-run L’Unità (2/12):  “After failing to retrieve WMD in Iraq, the White House reintroduces the global [terrorism] issue. George W. Bush announced yesterday a new initiative to combat nuclear proliferation. He asked the international community to work with the U.S. to fight regimes that are working with terrorists to obtain nuclear arms....  Yesterday’s intervention at the National Defense part of an articulated strategy...that aims to restore credibility to the President on the national security strategy, one of the main arguments of his electoral campaign....  The White House has identified 40 countries that are contributing in one way or another to the development of nuclear programs....  It intends to ask the IAEA for changes, since it was not capable of stopping Libya, North Korea and others from building an atomic bomb. In diplomatic circles, the attack against the IAEA is seen with suspicion and concern: on one hand it represents the umpteenth attempt on the part of the Administration to go over the head of organizations of the international community, and on the other it is happening during a difficult phase of negotiations with North Korea, and the only result being an increase in tensions.”


RUSSIA:  "Axis Of Evil Blurred"


Sergey Strokan commented in business-oriented Kommersant (2/17):  "With the 'Pakistan trail' in the story of smuggled nukes turning 'Pakistani-Chinese', the image of the world's chief villain (or villains?), somewhat obscured since no deadly weapon have been discovered in Iraq, has dimmed even more. Pretty soon very many people may fall under the category of 'bad boys' of world politics.   But who in the end will be punished, who chided, who diplomatically passed in silence, and who praised does not depend on the role one or another country is playing in the illicit transfer of dangerous technologies.   The answer depends on a country's weight and influence in the world and particularly on its relationship with Washington or, speaking plainly, on whether the United States wants that country whipped in front of the whole wide world....  It turns out that the nuclear threat is everywhere.  You can't simply point your finger at where it comes from on the map.  It looks like that threat--the global antiterrorist coalition has proven it again--is a great mystification."


"U.S. Methods All Wrong"


Aleksey Lyashchenko held in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (2/17):  "Nuclear proliferation is a pressing issue, of course.   But it can't be solved as suggested by Washington, especially because its claims to the role of the world's referee impel some countries to try to build their own nuclear weapons.  North Korea is a case in point....  But that does not stop the United States.   In fact, it further irritates Washington and makes it want to punish anyone who won't listen.    Worse still, America is seriously considering the use of force, including nuclear force....  Moscow can't but see that the world has been somewhat incredulous, mildly speaking, of Washington as it realizes that while pursing what seems like a righteous cause, the Americans put themselves above other nations.   That shows, among other things, in the United States' drawing up programs to develop nuclear weapons, including new types of nuclear weapons, and insisting on the nuclear disarmament of Iran and North Korea and on a global WMD control, and speaking of preemptive strikes, with no difference made between the use of conventional and nuclear forces.   Such programs virtually imply the dismantling of the WMD non-proliferation system as they lower the threshold of the possible use of nuclear weapons and, backed by official doctrines, leave other countries no defense options other than getting hold of similar weapons."


"Bush Urges Tougher Control"


Vladimir Skosyrev wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2/13):  "To paraphrase Hemingway, Bush suggests creating a barrier between the haves and have-nots.  Under his plan, countries with a potential to enrich and process uranium will not be allowed to obtain the equipment and know-how necessary for the development of their nuclear power industries....  This gives Russia cause for pause.  This country supplies nuclear fuel to India.  India, besides being able to process the fuel on its own, has nuclear weapons, while not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So, if the U.S. President's idea should be implemented, Russia would have to stop nuclear cooperation with India, as well as with Iran."


"Move To Offset Criticism"


Boris Volkhonskiy contended in business-oriented Kommersant (2/13):  "In the United States, the Bush speech has been taken as an election move.  The Administration feels it must do something to offset the growing criticism of its Iraq policy, particularly intelligence failures.  The Bush statement was meant to repair the image of the intelligence services and the Administration as a whole.  By suggesting tough measures, the President sought to assure Americans that he is the only security guarantee they have in the face of global threats.   Independent experts generally welcome the idea as proposed by the President but doubt that it will have a follow-up."


HUNGARY:  "Spray Of Ideas For Non-Proliferation"


Hanna Szalay concluded in influential Hungarian-language Vilaggazdasag (2/16):  "President Bush and IAEA head El Baradei came out with all new reform proposals to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms with only a twelve hour time difference. The American president offered an alternative of preemptive military attacks.  President Bush's seven points can also be interpreted as the U.S.' intention to waive launching a preemptive action if the aim is to prevent that the attacked side use weapons of mass destruction or nuclear arms.  The preemptive action was, remember, one of the main arguments against Iraq last March.  Now that the pre-war intelligence reports can't be confirmed and the President has the elections year 'in his neck' his recent proposal has a couple of advantages.  One advantage definitely is that he has won time.   Bush would embrace a nuclear status quo, whereas El Baradei would like to make progress."




ISRAEL:  "Stop Iran's Nukes"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/16):  "[Last week] Bush said the nuclear exporting countries should provide 'reliable access' to fuel for civilian reactors in exchange for states renouncing enrichment and reprocessing, which are 'not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.'  This standard should be employed in the case of Iran immediately, outside of any timetable for renegotiating the non-proliferation regime as a whole.  Moreover, the Libyan model should be adopted, both in terms of the goal and the means....  sanctions against Libya took many years to bear fruit, and only after the capture of Saddam Hussein did Muammar Qadhafi decide it was time to capitulate.  In Iran's case, the West cannot afford to wait so long. At the same time, however, Iran is much more susceptible to Western sanctions than was Libya....  Some respond by saying that for non-proliferation to work, the U.S. (or Israel) should disarm as well.  Free nations, however,

cannot disarm in a world in which rogue nations remain unshackled by ineffective agreements.  The test of the non-proliferation regime must always be whether it fetters rogue states, so that free and peaceful nations will be able safely to disarm."


SYRIA:  “Is Bush's Initiative To Fight Nuclear Armament A Sincere Move Or A Sheer Maneuver To Promote U.S. Domination?”


Hanan Hamad argued in government-owned Tishreen (2/15):  “Has the Bush administration truly decided to confront nuclear proliferation? Or is this Administration's move part of a faltering election campaign to kill two birds with one stone? By making this initiative, Bush seeks to step up pressure on the 'rogue' countries and considers part of the axis of evil on the one hand and cover up the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction scandal on the other hand. This scandal involved lies, deception, and manipulation of intelligence information to serve the goal of launching war on Iraq.  One does not need much effort to discover Bush's true intention behind announcing this initiative in which his attention is focused on two specific states, North Korea and Iran. The former says it will give up its nuclear program only if it will be provided with an alternative peaceful energy capability, while the latter showed full cooperation with the IAEA.  Washington continues to cast doubt on these two countries' intentions. At the same time, it turns a blind eye toward Israel which possesses more than 200 nuclear warheads and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and open its installations to international inspection.  Some 40 countries are able to make nuclear weapons. Washington, however, for sheer political reasons linked to its interests and efforts to control specific regions in the world, turns a blind eye toward these states. Instead, it focuses its attention on certain countries and uses these countries' nuclear capabilities--even if they are peaceful and public--as a pretext to threaten and pressure them.”


“Crystal Clear Facts”


Dr. Haydar Haydar stated in government-owned Al-Thawra (2/13):  “The US Administration, which declared a vicious war on the weapons of mass destruction throughout the length and breadth of the globe and which mobilized its forces to prevent their proliferation and nip attempts to develop them in the bud, as it said, is turning a blind eye to Israel's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and utters not a single word when it comes to Israel's nuclear program. On the contrary, we see secret and public cooperation between the two sides in this and other areas.  The pressing question is: For how long will Israel remain excluded from commitment to international treaties and compliance with UN resolutions even though it is an aggressor that launched aggressive wars against the Arab countries.  Arabs, for their part, have for a long time declared their commitment to a just and comprehensive peace allowing the region to enjoy stability and its peoples to feel safe about the future of the coming generations.”


UAE:  "Nuclear Curbs Must Be For All"


The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf News editorialized (2/13): "The U.S. president has made radical proposals to curb the proliferation of nuclear technology, specifically with nuclear weapons in mind. Few will disagree with his suggestions, which involve an almost complete renegotiation of the 30-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty. But since then, with spy infiltration and leaks, the knowledge has proliferated to such an extent that even the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN body set up to monitor the safety of nuclear facilities, finds it difficult to hazard a guess on which countries have what. This was evidenced at the recent surprise of discovery on how far both Iran and Libya had progressed in nuclear weapons technology, once their facilities were opened to the UN.  Obviously any sane person would want to see nuclear proliferation stopped; there are some who would go as far as to demand that all nuclear weapons be destroyed. However, it is a fact of life that technology cannot be "un-invented" and what exists will remain. What the nuclear powers must ensure, though, is that any new curbs on nuclear proliferation apply equally to them as to any emerging power. It cannot be a case of 'Do as I say, not as I do.'"




AUSTRALIA:  "Who Needs Enemies?"


The liberal Melbourne-based Age stated (2/14):  "With friends like General Pervez Musharraf, they may well be wondering in the corridors of the US State Department, who needs enemies? The revelation by the President of Pakistan that he suspected three years ago that the country's top nuclear scientist was sharing around nuclear technology ought to unsettle President George Bush's policymakers--especially after the very theatrical pardon given to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan last week....  General Musharraf, despite the undemocratic manner in which he came to power, has been embraced by Washington as a good friend and ally. The warmth of this partnership may explain, in part, two assassination attempts on General Musharraf in recent months. It may also explain why Mr Bush's condemnation this week of Dr Khan and his 'criminal' network did not extend to a condemnation of his total pardon by a compliant Pakistani leader. There is, it appears, a measure of bald hypocrisy at work here. The Khan pardoning flies in the face of the US preoccupation with the non-proliferation of WMD.  The U.S. led a war against Iraq in which the rooting out of such weapons was used as a core justification. Simply to ignore the admitted sale of WMD technology to dubious (and, in the case of North Korea, seriously unstable) regimes is deeply disturbing, enough to call into question the US commitment to the nonproliferation cause. America should surely know now that reliable dictators are hard to find."


“Bush Takes On The Nuclear Traffickers”


The national conservative Australian opined (2/13):  “The admission by the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, that he leaked nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea between 1986 and 1993 has sent shockwaves through the international community that have now reverberated all the way up to the White House....  The fact that a trade that threatened the security of the world has been stopped in its tracks can be marked down as yet another valuable by-product of the invasion of Iraq....  In his anti-proliferation speech on Wednesday, George W. Bush proposed new measures to prevent any repeat of the Khan debacle. Uranium exports would be more closely regulated, and states seeking nuclear fuel for energy would have to renounce enrichment and reprocessing. But more significant, from an Australian point of view, is the US President's call to beef up of the Proliferation Security Initiative to make the land-based facilities of nuclear traffickers, as well as the ships they use, fair game for interdiction....  It would be hard to argue that we can be a good international citizen, or a solid ally to other nations that value peace and security, if we don't do all we can to stop the next Dr Khan--just as we stopped the last one, indirectly, by joining the coalition of the willing.”


‘Pakistan, A Rogue State Unpunished”


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald declared (2/13):  “Pakistan's marketing of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea surely makes it a rogue state in U.S. eyes. Yet Washington's response to Pakistan's utter disregard for the wider concerns--shared by many countries, including Australia--about nuclear weapons proliferation has been extraordinarily mild....  The US condemns North Korea for exporting Scud missile technology, but forgives Pakistan for exporting nuclear weapons technology. Washington overthrew Saddam Hussein on suspicion of his capacity and intentions with regard to weapons of mass destruction, but lets pass Pakistan's blatant breaches of nuclear non-proliferation protocols. The contradictions are not confined to the U.S....  Mr Bush's call for stronger measures to counter that problem [of nuclear proliferation] will work only through continuing and sustained intelligence-gathering efforts and, ultimately, greatly improved international co-operation.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Come Clean"


Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (2/20):  "Libya's decision to forego its nuclear weapons program and turn over relevant documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency has exposed China as the origin of nuclear weapon designs that Tripoli received from Pakistan.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it is looking into the matter.  This is a major embarrassment for China, which insists that it is a responsible member of the world community and 'consistently has been opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology.'  The trouble is, it now appears that that such lofty sentiments were not always adhered to....  Interestingly, Washington has chosen not to respond strongly with regard to either Pakistan or China.  In fact, because it needs Pakistan as a partner in the campaign against al-Qaeda, the U.S. has not even criticized President Pervez Musharraf for pardoning Dr Khan for such egregious acts.  And the U.S. also appears unlikely to take any action against China, which has become an important partner in the war against terrorism, as well as the international effort to compel North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program....  China is certainly acting more like a country eager to play a responsible role in the world.  But Beijing should make a clean breast of its previous behavior, or else the past is likely to return to haunt it."


"A Nuclear Conflict In The Making?"


Michael Richardson maintained in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (2/20):  "Just when accuracy was required by the CIA, its director got it wrong.  The manufacturing plant in Malaysia he referred to did make parts for the Khan network; but it had not been shut down.  This mistake was the start of another counterproductive spat between the U.S. and a moderate Muslim state in Southeast Asia that is on the same side as America in the counter-terrorism campaign....  This week, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said that Malaysia had been unfairly singled out by Mr. Bush because it was a Muslim country, and would make an official protest....  In fact, Mr. Bush, in an address to the National Defense University in Washington on February 11, indicated that the Malaysian government had co-operated in the probe and that Scomi was a legitimate firm that had been deceived by a Dubai-based front company headed by Mr. Khan's deputy, Sri Lankan businessman Bukary Syed Abu Tahir, into selling the centrifuges without knowing they were bound for Libya....  Malaysia has reportedly promised that it will share information with the U.S. from its investigation into Mr. Tahir.  But police say they are not detaining him because he has apparently broken no local laws.  Malaysia has ratified the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  However, it is unclear whether its laws cover prosecution for the trafficking of nuclear parts."


JAPAN:  "Roots Of Nuclear Proliferation Must Be Eradicated"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed  (2/19):  "President Bush has clarified a proposal calling for a ban on the development of nuclear fuel by nations other than those already capable of producing such fuel.  The President's proposal is aimed at the eradicating the roots of nuclear proliferation.  Preventing the spread of nuclear development is a serious issue that directly affects the national security of Japan, which has become more sensitive about a possible nuclear threat from the DPRK.  Given North Korea's nuclear moves, the President's call for tightening regulations on global nuclear proliferation is convincing.  But low-cost nuclear power is a valuable source of energy for the economic development of developing nations.  Therefore, it is necessary for an international body to fairly manage the supply of nuclear fuel to the commercial nuclear power plants of such nations.  The NPT is often referred to as a 'lopsided treaty' between nuclear powers and non-nuclear nations. Some nations even criticize the Bush proposal as imposing 'another inequality' on non-nuclear nations.  However, the proposal will be a wise option if it functions well for the purpose of world security."   


"Profound Discussions On Nuclear Proliferation Needed"


Liberal Asahi observed (2/16):  "The DPRK, Iraq and Libya embarked on nuclear development programs under the cover of peaceful use of atomic energy, evading IAEA inspections. President Bush has proposed plugging loopholes that could lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The President has also asked members of the world community to tighten controls over nuclear-related exports and enact stiffer laws to crack down on smuggling.  The international community urgently needs to put the nonproliferation regime on the right track.  Mr. Bush's proposal is meaningful in calling attention to the present situation, but it is fraught with difficulties and problems. The US does not have much persuasive power, when it presents a new proposal on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, given its policy of preemptive nuclear strikes and its refusal to sign the NPT. Some countries may resent the Bush proposal as a 'new double standard.'"


MALAYSIA:  "U.S. Finally Weakens In The Face Of Malaysia’s Courage."


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian stated (2/19):  "The U.S. finally gives in to Malaysia because we chose to stand tall backed by the truth that supports us on the nuclear weapons issue.  Undersecretary John Bolton said...yesterday that Washington had never lined the Malaysian Government to the illegal sale of components to build nuclear weapons.  He didn’t, but should have also blamed the foreign media for hyping up the issue.  Following Bolton’s explanation, the foreign media should now stop discussing the matter.  It is easy for the foreign media to move from one topic to another topic but they do not repair the damage they have caused to a country’s image.  The foreign media needs to be more responsible in their reporting."


THAILAND:  “Nuclear Curbs Vital For World Safety”


The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (2/16):  “The leader of the most powerful nuclear power says it is time to rewrite the rules on nuclear weapons technology.  U.S. President George W. Bush said it may be necessary to tear apart the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Mr. Bush defined the problem succinctly.  For countries which belong to the nuclear club, the terrible bombs are weapons of last resort.  For today’s terrorist groups, they are weapons of first resort.  Nuclear power China rushed to praise the speech.  Japan, both a nuclear victim and a leader in the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, agreed that new anti-proliferation steps are needed for security....  This sort of wide-ranging support should act to spur badly needed international action.”




INDIA:  "Father Of The Dirty Bomb"


Anil Narendra commented in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer (2/20):  "Indirectly indicting past Pakistani regimes, Bush has said Dr Khan remained on the Pakistan Government's payroll earning a modest salary....  What is inexplicable is the continued defense of Pakistan by the Bush Administration....  As for General Musharraf, he is trying hard to brush the issue aside and continue with his policy of fooling the world including his ally, the US. He has pardoned Dr Khan and accepted his plea for mercy after he admitted leaks....  There are many in Pakistan and the Islamic world who find nothing wrong with what Dr Khan has done. After all, Iran and Libya are Islamic countries. Pakistan is not a signatory to the NPT, and therefore, by this morality, Dr Khan is above board. This view was shockingly expressed by Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, which enjoys a huge following within the Pakistani Army.  As if the situation wasn't bad enough, the Chinese connection with the nuclear theft has also come to light....  Where does all this leave us? Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda may have acquired nuclear materials for possible use in their war against India, Israel and the West. The knowledge that bin Laden has components for a nuclear device stems from the regular warnings from President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair that the Arab terrorist would commit worse atrocities than the attack on New York and Washington if he were able. It seems the US and UK have decided to pre-empt any nuclear attack by the jihadis. There is talk of another allied invasion. But the Americans and British have a very poor track record in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now with China in the scene, the entire perspective has changed."


"Looking Beyond The NPT" 


C. Raja Mohan wrote in the centrist Hindu (2/18):  "The sweeping agenda unveiled by President bypass the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) cannot be seen in isolation. It is part of a controversial revolution that the Bush administration has engineered in American arms control policy over the last three years. The seven-point action plan, announced last Tuesday by the President, is aimed at restructuring the global nuclear order. The attempt to create new non-proliferation instruments is part of a mental make-up in the Bush administration that was reflected in many of its earlier actions....  The Bush ideologues never tried to hide their contempt for traditional arms control. Pointing out that there is no longer an all-encompassing political rivalry between Washington and Moscow, the Bush administration argued that the threats to American security came from the danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of rogue states and terrorist groups....  Washington is looking for alternative structures to deal with the challenge of non-proliferation. The first of President Bush's seven-point action plan expands on the so-called proliferation security initiative (PSI). The PSI calls for pre-emptive military action by selected states to disrupt the international traffic in sensitive nuclear technologies and materials. Mr. Bush now wants coordinated law enforcement by states against proliferation networks of the type found in Pakistan....  Second, call for a United Nations Security Council resolution that demands nations to make proliferation activity a crime, tighten export controls and secure all sensitive materials. Third, strengthen the current efforts to secure nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Republics and extend the program to retrain scientists working on weapons of mass destruction in countries such as Libya and Iraq. Together, this package amounts to the single biggest attempt to reorder the global nuclear system since the NPT came into force in 1970. It will significantly expand the current international law on non-proliferation....  While India has cautiously welcomed the seven-point nuclear agenda unveiled by the United States President, George W. Bush, last week, concrete cooperation with the U.S. awaits many clarifications from Washington.  As a new nuclear order begins to take shape in response to revelations about Pakistan's proliferation activity, India is determined to contribute....  New Delhi, like Beijing which has now agreed to discuss the Proliferation Security Initiative with the U.S. wants clarity on the procedures to be adopted and the decision making in the PSI coalition on whom and when to interdict.  In responding positively to the Bush initiative, New Delhi has signaled its intent to be a partner in developing more nuclear rules."


"Original Sin" 


The centrist Times of India editorialized (2/19):  "The non-proliferation treaty is as good as dead. First came news that A Q Khan and his European cronies had together made nonsense of the proliferation control framework. And now comes confirmation that Pakistan 's Islamic bomb was in fact made with Chinese help. It turns out that the nuclear big five--in all the time they brandished the NPT as a weapon against the nuclear have-nots--were themselves guilty of overlooking the proliferation activities of China and the many European players in Khan's deadly nuclear ring. The NPT has been damaged beyond redemption by the nuclear weapon powers reneging on their obligations not to proliferate. It is unlikely then that any assurance president Bush now gives in this regard can restore the NPT. The treaty was fatally flawed from the beginning since it legitimized the possession of nuclear weapons by a few. The NPT policing mechanism--through the International Atomic Energy Agency--has also since been exposed as being woefully inadequate. In other words, a fundamental rethink is called for on non-proliferation. So long as nuclear weapons remain legitimized, proliferation cannot be stopped. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons may be a distant goal, but surely their delegitimisation is crucial to mobilizing international public opinion against proliferation. Next year's review conference on the NPT can be used to declare the use, or the threat of use, of nuclear weapons to be a crime against humanity. That would be the first step towards the elimination of such weapons."


"Bushspeak On Proliferation: Rank Nuclear Hypocrisy"


The Bangalore-based left-of-center English-language Deccan Herald declared (2/18):  "With the US ignoring the pledge on dismantling of the nuclear program, other nations may be tempted to go nuclear.  What was the compulsion behind India's rushing in with a supportive statement the minute after America's President George Bush had finished his latest muscle-flexing pronouncement on nuclear proliferation? None seems to know outside the coterie at the top that is deciding such matters in New Delhi these days. But the alacrity displayed was unseemly. India may have become very anxious lately, as is widely suspected, for collaborative arrangements with the USA (and Israel) on nuclear affairs and this could have been one more attempt at ingratiating oneself with the Bush administration. Yet India as a self-proclaimed nuclear State still remains in a grey area unrecognized by the USA and the other four of the supposedly exclusive-till-eternity nuclear weapon holders' club sanctified by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) more than 30 years ago.  Many around the world have taken the Bush remarks in Washington last week on nuclear proliferation as another arrogant declaration of his intent to keep WMD the monopoly of a global military oligarchy with the US enjoying dictatorial indisputability. President Bush never takes off the blinkers he is wearing since the day he got into the White House, which restricts his vision to America's role in the world as its self-appointed bias-driven policeman. The responsibility accepted by America and the other four nuclear-weapon states under the NPT to disarm themselves is not within his ken. Much of what President Bush sees now as impermissible proliferation could have been prevented had the nuclear-weapon monopolists lived up to their pledge under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. America is incessantly searching for more powerful nuclear weapons such as 'bunker-busters' and more immorally, 'mini-nukes' for integration with conventional weaponry. What right has the American President then to threaten with 'unwelcome consequences' those who copy him and look for whatever weapons they can make or get in the hope of protecting themselves?  The non-nuclear states cannot be blamed if they feel cheated by the NPT and now decide to ignore their commitment to the treaty too."


"Pak Proliferation" 


K. Subrahmanyam maintained in the centrist Times Of India (2/16):  "President George Bush's seven-point proposals to counter the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have not set the Potomac on fire....  This was a public relations exercise to advertise the success of intelligence operations by the US and the UK in breaking up the international nuclear smuggling network headed by A Q Khan....  The engines of proliferation are the European countries who are members of the non-proliferation treaty and other technology-denial regimes.  When did Washington come to take note of Khan's proliferation activities? In Pakistani scientific circles, it was no secret that his claim to fame as the father of the Pakistani bomb was not rooted in his scientific prowess but in crucial proliferation activities of getting plant, equipment, materials and engineering services from Europe into Pakistan.  It should have been obvious that if Khan could handle successfully the proliferation from Europe to Pakistan he could with equal ease do it for Iran and Libya.  However, in the eighties, the US and other western countries supported the WMD proliferation of both Saddam Hussein and Zia-ul-Haq.  Therefore, it was a case of deliberately looking away from Khan's activities....  Bush's proposals on the proliferation security initiative and criminalizing proliferation are worth looking at. His statement on supporting the Russian program of disposal of weapon-grade fissile materials is a reiteration of an ongoing scheme....  The NPT has been wrecked by proliferation by Khan, China, North Korea and European nations and the permissiveness towards it by Washington during the 80s and 90s."


"Bush's Myopia" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer editorialized (2/14):  "President Bush's statement at the United States' National Defense University on Wednesday...indicates that he fully knows what the rogue Pakistani scientist was up to. This, however, only serves to raise further questions about his administration's handling of the entire issue....  No amount of optimistic statements can wash away the fact that despite the enormity of what he has done....  Khan remains virtually unscathed....  The only punishment he can be said to have suffered is the humiliation of having to apologize publicly. Even that has been more than compensated by the public expression of support he has received from several quarters....  The Bush Administration doubtless believes that any pressure on President Musharraf to punish Dr. Khan and others involved can endanger his survival at a time when he alone can curb the fundamentalist Islamists in Pakistan's military establishment and the ISI, and prevent them from taking over its nuclear arsenal....  Unfortunately, President Bush's speech at the National Defense University suggests that instead of concentrating on setting things right in Pakistan, he is more interested in expanding the scope of anti-proliferation regulations in a manner which can hurt even a country like India which has an exemplary record in this area. Not only that, he has been completely silent on the role of European companies which have regularly provided Dr Khan's nuclear black market with vital equipment. It is time India clearly expressed its unhappiness over such a myopic approach."


PAKISTAN:  "President Musharraf’s Address To Ulema"


An editorial in Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu-language Islam read (2/20):  "Despite the various steps taken by the Musharraf government to appease the outside world, presence of various dangers confronting the country give credence to the views of that quarter which has held that the U.S. would never be satisfied with whatever Pakistan did so long as Pakistan is deprived of its nuclear program.  On the whole, the impression of intimidating and frightening the nation was predominant in his speech.  This could affect the morale of the entire nation.  This also shows that whatever policies he has so far adopted against the national sentiments, just to satisfy the U.S. and which he portrayed as a guarantee to safeguard the national interest and nuclear program, have all turned out to be futile."


"Musharraf's Firm Refusal"


An editorial in the center-right national English-language Nation read (2/19):  "Amidst growing international pressure coming in the wake of nuclear proliferation charges against Pakistan, General Musharraf has rejected international inspection or monitoring of the country's nuclear facilities....  General Musharraf's firm refusal to the international inspection of the country's nuclear facilities is timely and in accordance with the aspirations of the people.  The nation owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. A.Q. Khan for what he has done for the country and respects him as a national hero....  The consequences of 'unrestrained' cooperation should not be ignored."


"Neither Friendship Nor Enmity Of U.S. Is Good"


Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat declared (2/18):  "The U.S. is trying all-out to deprive Pakistan and other Muslim countries from using their nuclear capabilities for defense and other peaceful purposes.  It has forced Iran and Libya to bow down whereas it has succeeded in having the nuclear scientists of Pakistan arrested.  Now its next target is Saudi Arabia.  America’s own record with respect to proliferation is not very impressive either but being the sole super power it wants to deprive those countries from achieving this capability that it has already declared a threat for peace."


"Not Practicing What You Are Preaching"


Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu-language Islam noted (2/18):  "IAEA has disclosed that the U.S. is also involved in the nuclear black marketing and American companies have provided nuclear equipment to many countries including Iran. Earlier there were reports to the effect that the U.S. had provided biological and chemical weapons to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.  The U.S. has also a visible role in making Israel an undeclared nuclear power.  Despite that the U.S. is the so-called champion of nuclear non-proliferation and the U.S. government has started black mailing many countries including Pakistan on this pretext.  Nobody has the courage today to ask U.S. what right it has to object to others for nuclear proliferation when it itself dropped the first atomic bomb?  At present, wherever the nuclear material or equipment are present, U.S. has a direct or indirect role in their making or processing.  In fact, U.S. had never been very serious about nuclear non-proliferation, as the American companies did not differentiate between friends and foes for their economic interest and for the black marketing of nuclear material." 


"Bush's Address"


An editorial in the center-right national English-language Nation read (2/13):  "Pakistan government would do well to ponder over the implications of President Bush’s remarks regarding proliferation made in his address at the Fort McNair National Defense University....  President Bush suggested direct action against proliferation networks reminding one of his doctrines of pre-emptive strike.  He also called upon the international community at large and the IAEA in particular to introduce tough measures to stop proliferation....  One hopes however that irrespective of the pressure from outside no innocent person would be punished on the basis of hearsay or suspicion alone.  What is required is a thorough enquiry by a body widely considered to be impartial." 


"Anti WMD Curbs"


The centrist national English-language News observed (2/13):  "U.S. President George Bush’s call for tougher global curbs on weapons of mass destruction and his drawing lessons from black market sales by Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist sends a meaningful message to Islamabad....  The new Bush initiative clearly implies that only those states will be permitted to maintain nuclear programs which are licensed by America....  The U.S. President will do well to make this world politically and economically stable rather than chasing weapons of mass destruction. All weapons are destructive including the cave man’s stone-axe if it is used for a destructive purpose."


 "Dangerous Implications Of Bush’s Electoral Speech"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized (2/13):  "President Bush has repeatedly named Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in his speech because he (Qadeer) is a Pakistani and a Muslim. This (proliferation issue) is a pretext that America wants to use to rollback Pakistan’s nuclear program in order to disarm the only nuclear power of the Muslim Ummah.  By announcing that direct action would be taken against those responsible for nuclear proliferation, President Bush has opened up a new chapter, which appears to be all about Pakistan.  America has already dented its credibility by resorting to lies and depending on incorrect information for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq.  Now this statement points to a dangerous direction.  General Musharraf has pardoned Qadeer Khan, but Bush speech shows that he has not.  General sahib is a personal friend of Bush and he (Musharraf) should know what he (Bush) is going to do with Pakistan.  Is he (Bush) not after Musharraf in addition to Abdul Qadeer Khan and Pakistan?  This is something to be reflected upon by our General President. Is America not inching towards the so-called 'Spring Offensive?'" 


"Bush’s Arrogance"


Islamabad-based, right-wing Urdu-language Ausaf remarked (2/13):  "The U.S. President reached the height of arrogance when he threatened that no country would be allowed to enrich uranium or make nuclear materials even for peaceful purposes.  Who has given this right to the U.S. to impose its will on others?  This attitude is called ‘might is right’....  Being the only nuclear power in the Muslim world, Pakistan has a role to play to safeguard the honor and dignity of the Muslims.  In order to live honorably, it’s important that Muslims show some courage and refuse to be intimidated by hollow threats by President Bush." 




KENYA:  "U.S. Reaping What It Sowed In Pakistan"


Jonathan Power wrote in the independent left-of-center Nation (2/17):  "In 2002 Washington learnt that a Pakistani plane was picking up missile components in North Korea, presumably in a barter deal for nuclear weapons technology.  But nothing was done to rock the relationship with Musharraf.  Now once more, despite the new revelations, nothing appears to be being done.  Washington's options in punishing Pakistan seemingly are now foreclosed, as long as the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban continues.  It is a tragedy that today's US administration is reaping the whirlwind from mistakes made by its predecessors."


"Why The U.S. Practices Double Standards"


Mahmood Mamdani argued in the independent left-of-center Nation (2/16):  "As the Bush administration's War on Terror unfolds following a neo-Reaganite agenda, we need to beware of the many local alliances it is likely to forge, each thwarting reform in its own place....  The fact is that many left wing regimes from the soviet Union to China have successfully reformed from within.  The prerequisite of reform was a defence of sovereignty and, in that context, the right to reform.  In contrast, Iraq was not allowed to reform from within.  If North Korea has escaped that same fate, could it be because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, which Iraq did not?  The real irony is that the new-conservative juggernaut invites the world to draw the lesson that the only effective safeguard of one's right to reform in the post 9/11 era may be the possession of WMD."




CANADA:  "Corralling The Bomb"


The liberal Toronto Star commented (2/16):  "Does the U.S. face 'catastrophic attack' by foes armed with nuclear weapons? Improbable as it seems, U.S. President George Bush contends it does. 'The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons,' he told the National Defense University a few days ago. This alarm would be more credible had Bush not wildly hyped the threat from Iraq's non-existent weapons to justify his invasion. And if he weren't in such a rush to modernize Washington's own 10,000 weapon arsenal. Still, nuclear technology is spreading, and that's a danger Prime Minister Paul Martin and his new cabinet can't afford to ignore.... one of the least credible presidents in recent time preaching restraint. In his Nuclear Posture Review of 2002 he served notice the U.S. is poised to strike first with nuclear weapons, even against an adversary that doesn't have them. Bush has asked Congress to fund new 'tactical' nuclear weapons. He's increased the budget to produce more fissile materials for new bombs. And he's readying a nuclear test site. The world needs to worry about Al Qaeda laying its hands on a bomb, to be sure. But the hypocrisy in Washington fairly reeks."


"WMD:  A Primer"


Eric Margolis pointed out in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (2/15):  "Last week, Bush warned of nuclear proliferation and called for a worldwide ban on the trade of nuclear material. This when U.S. ally Pakistan has been exposed as a major proliferator, Israel is covertly helping build India's nuclear capabilities and the U.S. plans to deploy a new generation of nuclear weapons designed to attack Third World targets. Chemical weapons, which are not WMD, are blistering, choking, or toxic agents. Mustard gas possessed by Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt and other nations is World War I technology. Horrible as they are, these are strictly battlefield weapons, requiring large, clumsy holding tanks, and depend on favourable winds....   Nerve agents would be extremely lethal if released by terrorists in a large building, mall or airport but, again, they are weapons of localized destruction, not mass destruction....  Biological agents, like anthrax, botulism, Q-fever, tularemia and plague, are the most feared, yet least understood weapons. They are difficult to produce, store, transport and deliver....  Biowarfare agents are weapons of uncertain, limited destructiveness. Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons. The two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945 killed 103,000 people. In one night alone, U.S. firebombs incinerated 100,000 civilians in Tokyo....  Fuel-air explosives, or thermobaric weapons, used by Russia in Chechnya and by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq, can be as destructive as small, tactical nuclear weapons. So can America's recently deployed 21,500-lb. MOAB bomb....  Given these facts, it's important to dissipate the hysteria and confusion over WMD. Even if Iraq had chemical or biological weapons in 1993--which it did not--they were not true WMD.  Iraq had no means of delivering them to the U.S., and they could never have posed the threat Bush claimed. No terrorist group is likely to sneak enough chemical or biological material into the U.S. to cause more than localized damage. Attacks like those on the World Trade Center may be horrible, but they are not mass destruction. Even a small nuclear device would cause only limited destruction. Ironically, the most lethal, yet most ignored, WMD faced by Americans happens to be their beloved cars, trucks and SUVs in which some 43,000 die each year in traffic accidents."



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