February 23, 2004
BUSH NON-PROLIFERATION SPEECH: INTERNATIONAL ACTION IS 'BADLY NEEDED'
** 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
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
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
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
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."
“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.”
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.”
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
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
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."
“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 WMD...by 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
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
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 University...is 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
RUSSIA: "Axis Of Evil
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
"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
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
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
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
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):
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
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.'"
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
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
"Looking Beyond The NPT"
C. Raja Mohan wrote in the centrist Hindu (2/18): "The sweeping agenda unveiled by
President Bush...to 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."
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
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."
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
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
"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."
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."
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
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
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
"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."
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....
Bush...is 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
"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."