International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

December 27, 2002

December 27, 2002




**  Some worried that the U.S. MD program would spark a "destabilizing arms race."

**  Critics claimed deployment was aimed at "placating the defense industry and reassuring public opinion" rather than eliminating a credible ICBM threat.

**  Others asserted MD funds could be more efficiently used against low-tech terror threats.




MD 'risks undermining an already fragile strategic and global equilibrium'-- Numerous writers stressed the threat of igniting "another arms race."  The liberal Toronto Star opined that "Washington's contempt for arms control encourages countries such as North Korea to...arm to the teeth.  This is anarchy, not security."  Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post ran with an argument often aired in the pre-9/11 MD debate:  Deployment increases rather than alleviates the missile threat, adding that the U.S.' determination to deploy has spurred China's "developing better and longer-range missiles" and Pyongyang's "threatening to restart testing programs."  Others saw merit in responding to the threat from "rogue states"; Seoul's conservative Segye Ilbo noted approvingly that MD is "part of the U.S. effort to pressure North Korea."  But London's mass-circulation Sun stood almost alone in wholeheartedly backing President Bush's decision, intoning that "Star Wars is an essential element of our defence--and of America's."    


Many cited political and economic motives for the MD announcement--  Many dailies cited both the 2004 election and the predicted windfall for "the big technical-military industry" for the "rushed" deployment decision.  Norway's social-democratic Dagsavisen said the "increase in rearmament" comes "to the weapon industries' complete pleasure."  With regard to the timing of the system, China's Communist Party-run Global Times called it no "coincidence that the completion of the MD system deployment and the presidential election are both in 2004."  Slovenia's left-of-center Dnevnik added that "President Bush most probably expects that people protected by this system...will have no doubts about who to vote for." 


Even a functioning MD would divert resources away from the anti-terror campaign--  Many dailies responded to the MD plan with irritation and resignation, carping how Washington plans to expend billions on "machinery that may not work to deter a threat that may not materialize."  London's reflexively anti-Bush Guardian deemed it a "high price to pay for a false sense of security."  Some other papers likewise noted that, even were the system to perform perfectly, it would drain resources from efforts to thwart catastrophic, albeit low-tech, terrorist attacks.  A Czech business daily concluded, "The issue is not whether or not there should be an anti-missile umbrella" but rather "whether its funding could not be spent more efficiently elsewhere in the fight against international terrorism."

EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 34 reports from 20 countries over 18-24 December.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  “Not In Our Interest”


The liberal Guardian stated (12/19):  "The formal U.S. request to upgrade the Fylindales early warning radar station in Yorkshire marks the beginning of a long road down which Britain should not travel....  Bush’s claim that terrorist groups could launch missiles at the U.S. has no basis in known fact....  Bush’s decision to deploy by 2004 ignores recent test failures and looks, overall, more like a premature political gesture than a useful military measure.  Billions of dollars are about to be spent on machinery that may not work, to deter a threat that may not materialize.  This is a high price to pay for a false sense of security....  In the end, that is a matter for the U.S. government and U.S. voters. Britain can not stop Bush pursuing such schemes.  But it does not have to help him....  A Fylindales upgrade could make this country a target....  More broadly, missile defence is irrelevant to, and cannot deter, the principle security threat facing Britain--that posed by terrorists....  It is not just a question of a few extra aerials at Fylindales.  It is a question of whether Britain, in return for commercial and technological inducements, and in the name of U.S.-Nato solidarity, is prepared once again, as in the 1980’s to become a U.S. missile base.  The answer must be no”.


“Missile Defence”


The independent Financial Times commented (12/19):  "The decision to deploy is no surprise...its timing looks a bit rushed, and perhaps political....  The UK government is clearly inclined to say yes, though it has to consider whether it is not exposing itself to fresh threats well before knowing whether the U.S.’s proposed anti-missile umbrella is leakproof....  Despite Washington’s reassurances, some in Beijing still see the U.S. system as an attempt to blunt its relatively small nuclear deterrent in, for instance any US-Chinese crisis emerging over Taiwan....  For its part, Britain must ask itself what protection the U.S. system could afford....  In the end, U.S. missile defence will probably--technology permitting--go ahead.  It is hard for outsiders to tell the U.S. that it cannot indulge in legitimate self-defence.  But the US must show its system is for that purpose, nothing more”.


"Some Crucial Questions Need Answering About Fylingdales"


The centrist Independent stated (12/18):  "[The request by the United States for use of the Fylingdales base for the Missile Defence System] is a key moment in the programme's development....  MPs critical or suspicious of Bush's attachment to 'the son of Star Wars' are right to be incensed that the American request has been revealed so close to the Christmas recess.  There needs to be  a proper debate on Britain's part in the Project.  The efficacy of a missile defence by no means proven....  An unreliable missile shield is no shield at all.  We deserve to know how much our co-operation with the U.S. will cost us, and how soon Washington would meet its commitment to extend its shield beyond the American continent.  Without such a guarantee, Britain could find itself a 'soft' target for enemy missiles without enjoying any of the protection a reliable system might afford.   Some may ask why....  Britain should be at all wary about 'son of Star Wars.'  The answer is that any programme that alters the global security balance so sharply merits close and critical scrutiny.  That scrutiny must be all the closer when, as with missile defence, out own national security could be at risk."


"Vital Base"


An editorial in the mass-circulation Sun stated (12/18):  "[Blair’s] championing of American values post-terror attacks was brave, correct and of great comfort to the United States.  Now he has to do it again....  Star Wars is an essential element of our defence--and of America’s.  Blair has a surprisingly good relationship with Bush.  It would be madness if the PM said No to Rumsfeld.  He must say Yes.  Quickly.”


FRANCE:  “A ‘Shield’ Against Evil”


Economic Les Echos editorialized (12/19):  “The White House denials were less than convincing.  In fact they only lasted a few hours until the head of the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, publicly recognized that the anti-missile defense system, officially launched by George W. Bush, would have limited dissuasive power on a country such as North Korea....  The message is clear the tug-of-war with Baghdad should not overshadow the threat from Pyongyang on the world’s security.  The fears became legitimate with the announcement by the North Koreans that they are developing their nuclear arsenal....  The question is whether the anti-missile defense shield, that will be put in place within the next two years, could actually ward off an attack from a rogue state.  Or in other words, immunize the Good from Evil....  According to Donald Rumsfeld, the shield, though not proven, is better than nothing.  But if there is one lesson we learned from Sept. 11, it is that a handful of terrorists with box cutters is enough to weaken the most powerful country on earth.  We have to wonder then if Washington is not merely placating the defence industry and reassuring public opinion.”


GERMANY:  “Fizzling Out In Outer Space”


Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (12/19):  "President Bush has now given his approval for the installation of Missile Defense which all of a sudden no longer seems to be unfounded.  North Korea is boasting about the possession of a nuclear weapon and also as a producer of medium-sized missiles.  In addition, the regime is working on the development of a long-rage missile that could easily hit the U.S West Coast.  But some years will pass until it works, and it will also take some years before MD is established.  But even if MD works, it will be unable to protect the United States from attacks with nuclear weapons which a dictatorial regime could also send via U.S. mail into the country....  This makes clear why star wars can no longer excite the people.  This threat has been ‘atomized,’ the superiority of missiles or the defense against missiles no longer decides over the vulnerability of a nation....  But the United States continues to afford MD, because it is used to thinking in worst-case scenarios.  But advanced security policy would be more innovative.”


"Another Arms Race"


Frank Herold stated in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (12/18):  "MD is a reason for concern not because of its apparent inefficiency, but because of the basic policy principles informing it.  In the 1980s and 90s security policy rested on the belief that only disarmament or at least arms control could bring about a safer world.  Bush's decisions in favor of MD is a relapse into 1960s illusions, when weapons production seemed the only road to more security.  MD will prove that such thinking remains wrong since MD is inefficient, it will lead to another arms race."


ITALY:  "A War A Day For Bush"


A front-page commentary by Aldo Rizzo in centrist, influential La Stampa (12/18):  "George W. Bush has officially announced that, as early as 2004, the major, controversial U.S. strategic plan on the 'space shield' will enter its initial concrete phase.  (This reflects) confidence in U.S. technology...but it is also, and most of all, a political response to the threat posed by the 'rogue states.'  The message is that America will defend itself in any case, so be careful....  And Bush referred exactly to North Korea in his 'revival' of star wars....  The threat posed by Pyongyang may not be so concrete, and not even so immediate, but Bush had the problem of explaining why there is so much determination against Iraq, which, among other things, is undergoing international inspections, and less attention to North Korea.  Hence yesterday's announcement, meaning that Pyongyang's missiles will never make it to New York.  Yet it would be reductive to justify the decision to deploy the 'space shield' with the perception of the North Korean danger.  The 'strategic defense' plan is a long-term project, dating back to the Reagan era....  That program has now been confirmed, and the commitments made towards the big technical-military industry have been confirmed as well.  A different question could, however, be asked, i.e, whether George W. may not be forcing a sense of international alarm, from Baghdad to Pyongyang, and later in Tehran, on behalf of the U.S. superpower, right at a time when complicated problems and relative risks would require a cool mind and cool initiatives."


"Bush Says 'Yes' To The Space Shield: 'The World Will Be Safer'"


New York correspondent Arturo Zampaglione wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (12/18):  "Yesterday's announcement by the White House seems to be linked to developments in North Korea, even though U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld denied any short-term political calculations.  'It is a strategic decision,' he said, 'destined to change according to the situation and technological progress.'  The Pentagon, in fact, still does not have the 'know-how' to guarantee the United States total immunity from missiles, but believes that it could acquire such capability within a short time by beginning to work on it actively."


"Bush: Green Light To The Anti-Missile Shield"


New York correspondent Alessandro Plateroti writes in leading business  Il Sole-24 Ore (12/18):  "The anti-missile shield--the pillar of George Bush's electoral campaign and a White House dream since the Ronald Reagan era--is about to become a reality:  by 2004, in fact, the United States will provide the Fort Greeley base, in Alaska, with 10 interceptor missiles.  The plan is to install 10 additional missiles--thus covering the entire north American territory--by 2005 and 2006.  For Europe and Asia, instead, missile defense will go into effect in a second phase, with no exact date yet....  Italy has not been asked to participate in the initial phase of the project yet. According to experts, the project will have huge economic and technological repercussions for the nations involved."


RUSSIA:  "MD May Affect Russia-U.S. Treaty Ratification In Duma"


Nikolai Poroskov remarked on page one of reformist Vremya MN (12/24):  "All the United States' NMD plans may really affect is the ratification by the Duma of the treaty on strategic offensive reductions that the Russian and American presidents signed last May.  With U.S. anti-missile systems appearing near the Russian border, some deputies may vote against that treaty."


"The Order Is Given To 'Go!'"


Yevgeniy Bai wrote in reformist Izvestiya (12/19):  "This year the United States managed to withdraw with minimal damage from the American-Russian ABM treaty, which prohibited the deployment of systems like the one that it is now starting to build in Alaska.  But, having successfully overcome the political barrier, the United States has still not been able to raise the actual technology of missile interception to an acceptable level.  The test carried out on 11 December, the eighth in all, failed when the "infernal machine" that was supposed to hit the enemy missile was unable to separate from the launch vehicle....  Nevertheless the military people have persuaded the President that there is no time to lose and that all the flaws in the technology will be overcome 'operationally.'  Many experts doubt that the military will succeed in fulfilling the plan under the conditions of the brief Arctic summer.  Some reports suggest that Bush will therefore have to agree to the deployment in Alaska by October 2004 not of ten but of five interceptor missiles.  If that is achieved, the President will be able to declare on the eve of the election that he has fulfilled his promise and made the country safe from attack by 'rogue states.'"


"Arms Race Resumes"


Moscow's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta commented (12/19):  "In announcing the deployment of missile defense, Bush demonstrated that the United States has no intention of coordinating or even discussing with Moscow its moves in the missile defense sphere.  Not for nothing did Marshal Sergeyev, the Russian Federation president's aide, say yesterday that Russia has been provided with 'no weighty arguments to indicate that the deployment of missile defense will not bring about a reduction in the effectiveness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.'...  The official reaction from the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry was restrained and boiled down to an expression of 'regret' in connection with the 'galvanization of the U.S. attempts to develop so-called 'global missile defense.'  However, analysis of the two sides' real moves shows that, while evading a public confrontation, which is inappropriate in the context of the joint war on terrorism, Washington and Moscow began a new round of the arms race about a year ago."


"Bush Says 'Now'"


Reformist Izvestiya (12/18) front-paged this piece from Yevgeniy Bai in Washington:  "Washington has set about implementing its ambitious (MD) plan in spite of protests from Moscow and Beijing.  True, those have been muted somewhat lately....   As if testing America' s patience, North Korea has over the past few days made several statements seen in Washington as undisguised provocation....   According to U.S. military experts, the deployment of even five interceptor missiles is enough to protect the United States from a possible North Korean attack....   This year the United States has managed to pull out of the ABM treaty with minimal damage."


AUSTRIA:  “White House Determination”


Security affairs writer Burkhard Bischof commented in centrist Die Presse (12/19):  “Whatever you think about the current US government, there’s one thing you’ll have to say about them: They’re certainly consistent. In 2000, George Bush boosted his election campaign by announcing he would build a missile defense shield.  In 2004, while he’ll probably be running for re-election, the first interceptor missiles will be stationed in Alaska....  George Bush sees his plans through, no matter what. At least his stubborn determination makes him predictable to a certain extent.”


BULGARIA:  "Action And Counteraction"


Center-right, West-oriented Dnevnik commented (12/20):  "Both opponents and proponents of NMD realize that considering the current state of world affairs, when terrorist attacks are no longer a figment of novelists' imagination, a new security system is quite necessary.  The series of messages coming from North Korea lately made it clear that Pyongyang most likely possesses nuclear weapons and cannot be trusted to continue a self-imposed ban on testing long-range missiles....  It is not clear yet what is hidden in the bunkers around Baghdad, so the work on a new security system must start somewhere somehow."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Bet On The Anti-Missile Umbrella"


Adam Cerny wrote in a business daily Hospodarske noviny (12/18):  "There is hardly anything surprising in George Bush's decision to start deploying the anti-missile system.  After the 9-11, the U.S. Administration concluded that it is necessary to take all steps that would prevent any similar attack from happening in the future. Prevention has become the key term to any strategic planning, including the option of taking action even before potential strike.  The issue is not whether or not there should be an anti-missile umbrella, but rather how effective will it be.  The weak point is that it does not provide sufficient guarantees of its reliability.  That could pose a question whether its funding could not be spent more efficiently elsewhere in the fight against international terrorism."


IRELAND:  "Bush Gives Go-ahead For Star Wars II"


Conor O'Clery, North America editor, wrote in the liberal Irish Times (12/18):  "US President Bush has given the go-ahead for the construction of an anti-missile system in Alaska by 2004, despite protests from around the world at the deployment of a new generation of missiles, and the failure of more than half the interceptor missile tests....  The US withdrawal from the ABM treaty was criticised by many US allies concerned that work on a missile defence shield that depended on intercepting an incoming missile with another missile could spark a new global arms race."


NORWAY:  “Missile Defense”


Social democratic Dagsavisen commented (12/19):  "President George W. Bush has given the order to start with the building of a missile defense in the year 2004. This won’t give anything else but a false feeling of security....  The only thing one gains is an increase in rearmament  - to the weapon industries’ complete pleasure.”


POLAND:  "Star Wars"


Stanislaw Lem wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (12/23):  “President Bush, who is so passionate about his commitments, has decided to launch the Star Wars Program.  The first of the anti-missile launchers will be mounted despite the fact that two of eight recent tests failed completely. Every single shot costs a hundred million dollars, and the project is to consume more than billion dollars by 2006. Proponents say that the accuracy of the system will grow over time.  Nevertheless, it looks like the U.S. President will sink billions to achieve his fancy thinking.”


SLOVENIA:  "Rocket Empire"


Darko Strajn wrote in left-of-center independent Dnevnik (12/20):  "With the placement of interceptor missiles in Alaska by 2004....  President Bush will fulfill his promise to American people. And a new presidential term will also begin in 2004. President Bush most probably expects that people protected by this system...will have no doubts about who to vote for....  Visionary Bush may even believe that this system can really function. But - since his order for deployment of the system came right after an unsuccessful test - realization of the Star Wars plan may prove to be of secondary importance. The American empire is getting ready for interception of strikes coming from imaginary attackers, old acquaintances from supposed terrorist international alliances and the “axis of evil” countries. The question whether this so-called alliance of evil is capable of attacking the United States is of secondary importance. What is really important is that defense capabilities of the United States grow, and therewith the expenses for scientific research, development of fantastic technologies, and very expensive production and deployment of weapons known from Hollywood movies.”


SWEDEN:  "Stop the Arms Race"


Stockholm's Social Democratic Stockholm tabloid Aftonbladet (12/19):  "The Swedish government has criticized the missile defense system and proposed negotiated arms control agreements for the tactical nuclear weapons that still are deployed in Europe.  That would be an excellent way to proceed.  The reaction to the American (missile defense) decision should not be resignation but rather trigger increased efforts to bring about a non-nuclear world."


"Shield Over U.S. Has Many Holes"


Diplomatic correspondent Bengt Albons opined in independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter (12/19):  "The missile defense system that the Bush administration wants to deploy within two years is a limited one, both in scope and in terms of technology.  It is not a 'missile shield,' but it might stop occasional missiles from reaching targets in the United States....  Politicians who recommend deployment of the system point out that the U.S. has no defense against a missile that is launched against an American city....  The provocative decision by North Korea to resume its nuclear weapons program and the terrorist threats make the Americans uneasy.  This has brought comprehensive support for the missile defense program and accelerated its completion.  The fact that it is now being deployed means that it has come to stay."




TUNISIA:  "U.S. Antimissile Defense Deployment: The Warlike Under A Lucky Star"


Editor Fatma Ben Dhaou observed in independent French-language Le Quotidien (12/20):  "Neither the Canadian nor the Chinese 'No' nor even the Russian intense regrets seem to have dissuaded the Americans to deploy the new Antimissile Defense....  President Bush who feels threatened by 'invisible powers'...did not find another way but to activate a warrior project he terms "defensive." This project will lead 'friends and partners' of America in a destabilizing arms race that risks undermining an already fragile strategic and global equilibrium....  Even before being ready, this project succeeded in accentuating more and more the climate of distrust that reigns among the great military powers....  As always only the people who look to regain their rights will pay the bill.  The more turbulent rounds of the star wars will be played out on earth."




CHINA:  “China ‘Worried’ About Missile Scheme”


Hu Qihua declared in the official English-language China Daily (12/20):  “China expressed ‘worries’ Thursday about a plan mulled by the United States and Japan for a joint missile defense shield.  It said such a move should not threaten the security interests of other countries in the region.  Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing in Beijing: ‘Like many countries in the region, we are worried that the cooperation on a missile defense system between the United States and Japan may have negative effects on regional stability and security.’  Liu said Thursday that the development of the missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific should not infringe on the security interests of other countries.  He also said that China hoped that a U.S. decision to deploy a limited missile defense shield by 2004 would not upset global security.  ‘We always hold that only through the good co-operation of the international community can we effectively solve the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,’ Liu said."


“NMD May Restart World Arms Race”


Hu Xan commented in the official English-language China Daily (12/20):  “Instead of bringing the United States and its allies real safety, the decision announced by President George W. Bush on Tuesday to begin deploying a National Missile Defense (NMD) system by 2004 will only undermine world stability and the global strategic balance by encouraging a new arms race.  Bush’s decision is a turning point in the history of this long-disputed missile defense plan, and means the plan has now entered the implementation period.  Some analysts have said that the timing is just a political ploy aimed at influencing the 2004 election.”


“Why Does Bush Start The Deployment Of The NMD System So Hurriedly?”


Niu Xinchun opined in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (12/23):  “First, Bush’s unusual behavior is a result of the impact of September 11 on the U.S. foreign policy and national defense policy.  Second, Bush’s behavior can make U.S. taxpayers feel at ease, so they will pay money contentedly for the NMD system.  Third, the U.S. attempts to convince its allies that are still doubtful about the U.S. NMD system.  Fourth, it cannot be a coincidence that the completion of the NMD system deployment and the presidential election are both in 2004.”


CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SAR):  "U.S. Missile Defense System Will Damage Global Strategic Stability"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (12/22):  "Bush's remarks emphasized that the establishment of the missile defense system aims to 'protect the security of the U.S. and its allies' as well as to deal with the threats from 'rogue states' such as North Korea.  This rhetoric is just an excuse.  Compared to other countries around the world, the power of U.S. strategic nuclear and conventional weapons is overwhelming.  Therefore those countries hostile to the U.S. should be feeling a threat to their security, not the other way around.  As far as 'safeguarding the security of U.S. allies,' apart from resolute support for the missile defense system from Britain, Australia and Japan, most of the European Union member states and other countries friendly to the U.S. have objected to this system and its potentially dangerous consequences.  Bush is nevertheless trying to impose this unnecessary 'protection' on his allies.  This is ridiculous."


"Too Many Questions"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post observed (12/19):  "Unanswered questions abound over the U.S.'s missile defense system.  While its reasoning remains unclear, China, Russia and North Korea have as much right to increase military defenses as the U.S. does in constructing and deploying so threatening a network of missiles.  President George W. Bush's avowed self-defense system is far from complete and will be put in place as it is developed.  It flies in the face of international agreements on non-proliferation of weapons.  He can hardly be surprised that China is developing better and longer-range missiles or that North Korea is threatening to restart testing programs....  Political pundits would prefer to think that Mr. Bush's bid for re-election in 2004 is more likely the reason.  But given the desire to rush into place a system that has so far proven to be technically flawed, it would also be seen as a warning.  Mr. Bush should realize that while he seems intent on weapons proliferation, his actions are being seen on this side of the Pacific as a green light to follow by example in the name of self-defense."


JAPAN:  "Japan's Enhanced Study On MD Development Too Hasty"


Liberal Mainichi observed (12/19):  "JDA chief Ishiba's remark during his Washington meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, promising enhanced study on MD development/deployment, was a little too abrupt and even hasty.  If Japan goes ahead with study on the development and deployment of a missile defense system, currently researched with the U.S., it would radically depart from Japan's defense policy.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda, speaking at a daily press briefing on Wednesday, dismissed Ishiba's remark, saying Japan's MD project would not go beyond the 'research' stage....  Then what was the 'motive' and 'purpose' of the Defense Agency chief's bombshell statement?  Hadn't there been mutual understanding on the issue between senior aides to PM Koizumi and JDA officials?  There is speculation that Ishiba made the statement to demonstrate the strong will of Japanese defense officials.  Whatever its real purpose, the statement was indeed problematical, if it gave the U.S. the impression that the GOJ has decided to go ahead with MD development and deployment.  Given rising concerns over the DPRK's WMD ambitions, Japan should be properly prepared for emergencies.  Discussions on MD development and deployment should not be made in a manner that will only deepen public distrust."


SINGAPORE:  "Dangerous Waste"


The pro-government Straits Times editorial opined (12/23):  "The decision makes no sense - politically, diplomatically, militarily or technologically. To begin with, America faces no immediate danger from long-range intercontinental missiles....  Other than a blind, ideologically-driven commitment to the idea of missile defense, there is no credible reason for the Bush administration's decision to deploy a system that it acknowledges is undeveloped. Mr. Rumsfeld's statement that he liked 'the feeling, the idea of beginning and putting something in the ground or in the air or at sea, and getting comfortable with it, and using it and testing it, and learning from that' was not an explanation as much as it was a poor excuse.  The excuse, though, is likely to cause harm, for it will provide China, especially, with an excuse to expedite its program to expand its arsenal of ballistic missiles....  This, in turn, will prompt the Indians to build up their nuclear forces to counter the Chinese, and no doubt, Pakistan will follow suit to counter the Indians. A missile-defense system that its more starry-eyed American advocates say will make ballistic missiles obsolete, will end up provoking an arms race in Asia. If only a fraction of the money the Bush administration is planning to spend over the next few years on missile defense were spent on destroying loose Russian nukes or strengthening security at Russian nuclear sites, the US will contribute more to global security, as well as its own. Missile defense is a dangerous waste of money."


SOUTH KOREA:  “North Korea’s Nuclear Issue Should Be Resolved Through Dialogue”


Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (12/19):  “President Bush’s instruction to deploy a missile defense system in Alaska from 2004 can also be seen as part of the U.S. effort to pressure North Korea....  We have to be concerned about deployment of a missile defense system in Northeast Asia, which will most likely incite China to develop missiles and trigger a regional arms race....  There are voices in the U.S. criticizing President Bush’s hard-line North Korea policy and calling for the U.S. to engage in direct negotiations with the North....  Some predict that North Korea will be the U.S.’s next target in 2003 after resolution, in one way or another, of the Iraqi issue.   The U.S. and the DPRK should tackle issues through negotiation before such gloomy predictions come to pass.”




ARGENTINA:  "The US Deploys Its Antimissile Shield"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion, commented (12/18):  "President George W. Bush does not stop in the aggressive arms race launched by his administration after the September 11 attacks, and he is not willing to lose a minute in reinforcing the US defense strategy and overwhelming military supremacy. The head of the White House announced that he ordered to start deploying a national defense system at a military base in Alaska, which will be ready to be working in some 18 months, in 2004....  Bush's official announcement was made one week after a failed test of a missile interceptor system in the Pacific Ocean....  The Pentagon has a 7.8 billion dollar budget for research and development of this system, which has been harshly criticized by China and Russia, but the US continues with it. The USG decision to advance in its deployment was also made just a few days after North Korea announced it would continue with its program to develop nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the White House's spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, said the decision to advance with the project has nothing to do with the Korean program to enrich uranium to be used in nuclear weapons."


CANADA:  "Killing Arms Control"


The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (12/18):  "U.S. President George Bush promised to 'add to America's security' by building missile defences, and he intends to deliver....  But whether this will make the United States more secure remains an open question.  Despite endless research since Ronald Reagan first dreamed of a Star Wars shield in 1983, the Pentagon still doesn't have a reliable system.  Just last week an exotically named 'exo-atmospheric kill vehicle' failed to hit its target, the most recent in a string of failures.  Even if a credible system emerges, deploying it could cost $250 billion.  And China and others may opt to field more missiles, and build shields of their own in a new arms race.  Seen this way, Bush's decision to approve Star Wars Lite is less a sign of his success in defending the U.S. than of his lack of interest in thwarting a proliferating better international arms control.  But the Bush administration balks at being bound by global agreements....  Washington's contempt for arms control encourages countries such as North Korea to adopt the same attitude, and arm to the teeth.  This is anarchy, not security."



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