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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

International Information Programs
Office of Research
Issue Focus
Foreign Media Reaction

May 6, 2005





**  Dailies urge the nuclear non-proliferation (NPT) conference to build a "new framework."

**  Liberal and developing world outlets seek a "complete abolition" of nuclear weapons. 

**  Critics blast U.S. "hypocrisy and double standards."

**  Western outlets criticize Iran and the DPRK's "flagrant violations" of the NPT.




An 'updated and improved' NPT--  Moderate outlets argued the "bad and outdated" NPT "must be strengthened."  Because the current NPT is "increasingly unable" to halt nuclear proliferation, Qatar's semi-official Gulf Times opined, "mounting proliferation challenges" must be met by "strengthening the treaty and plugging the loopholes."  Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz agreed that the "time has come to formulate new rules" to avoid what Germany's right-of-center Die Welt termed the threat of "nuclear anarchy."  Pessimistic writers cited "deep disagreement and mistrust" in a "thoroughly divided" world to warn it is "hard to imagine" the conference can craft a "more effective international system" to prevent proliferation.


'Ridding the world of WMD should be the aim'--  Left-leaning global dailies urged the five declared nuclear weapons states under the NPT to "move towards the ideal of total elimination" of nuclear weapons.  Canada's Saskatoon StarPhoenix viewed global disarmament as a "noble goal that sanity dictates" while the Japan Times agreed that the nuclear five must listen "humbly to voices calling for a nuclear-free world."  Papers such as Pakistan's center-left Dawn decried the NPT-approved "nuclear monopoly of a few" as "sheer hypocrisy," asserting that there will be a "general reduction in the temptation to proliferate" only if the five nuclear powers "carry out their long-standing promise to disarm." 


Washington is a 'prime target of criticism'--  "Rigid" U.S policies were particularly unpopular among leftist observers.  They saw clear "hypocrisy and double standards" in the way Washington "preaches abstinence" while developing new types of nuclear weapons.  Such policies "contradict the spirit of the NPT," according to a German commentator.  They fit into a "wider picture of disdain for international law," added Britain's left-of-center Guardian.  Norway's social-democratic Dagsavisen also assailed U.S. "contempt for its own commitments," joining other analysts to conclude U.S. actions "permanently violating" the NPT treaty "have discouraged global efforts on nuclear disarmament."


An 'unacceptable' attitude--  Western editorialists warned of a "new nuclear arms race" if the NPT cannot halt "Pyongyang and Teheran's nuclear ambitions."  They backed "effective means to confront" these "patently insane rogue-state leaders."  They agreed that Iran "can't be trusted" to pursue peaceful nuclear energy and emphasized the "seriousness of potential nuclear threats" from Pyongyang.  The centrist Winnipeg Free Press declared that "only international sanctions can enforce" the NPT's "moral authority," concluding that if "Iran and North Korea are impervious to reason, the next step may have to be coercion."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, rmrmail@state.gov


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 42 reports from 21 countries over 30 April - 6 May, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Nuclear Options"


An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian read (5/4):  "America's record, in sharp focus since 9/11 and the war on Iraq, fits into a wider picture of disdain for international law and institutions.  In recent years it has rejected the comprehensive test-ban-treaty, withdrawn from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, pushed research on new nuclear weapons--and hinted at using them against non-nuclear countries.  True, it has reduced its nuclear stockpile by more than 13,000 weapons since 1988, but it still has 4,900 warheads on missiles, slung under bombers or carried on submarines."


"Hypocrisy And The Nuclear Deterrent"


The center-left Independent maintained (5/2):  "Existing nuclear nations, by arming themselves further, lay themselves open to accusations of hypocrisy and double standards.  How can the EU ask Iran not to go down the nuclear route, while one of its members is busy upgrading its own weapons system?  And how can the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency credibly police nuclear refining facilities around the world while the US and Britain are co-operating to build a new enrichment plant, in contravention of the non-proliferation treaty?"


"It Ain't Broke But Needs Fixing.  The NPT Still Needs Bolstering"


An editorial in the independent Financial Times read (5/2):  "A deal on Iran would greatly bolster the NPT.  But a general reduction in the temptation to proliferate can only come if the NPT's five avowed nuclear weapons powers carry out their long-standing promise to disarm.  For they cannot expect others to devalue nuclear weapons if they evidently do not themselves".


GERMANY:  "U.S. Prevents Disarmament"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg argued (5/3):  "The NPT is one of the most successful international agreements...and only over the past few years have Iran and North Korea clearly shown the limits of the NPT.  That is why an adjustment of the international rules...would be urgently necessary.  Even the U.S. is pressing for such a move, but the rigid, uncompromising U.S. attitude makes the necessary renewal almost impossible, since the country itself is permanently violating the treaty....  In order to prevent the erosion of the peaceful effects of the Treaty, the control over civilian programs must be extended.  Arms program must be drastically reduced but the non-nuclear powers hardly see a reason to subject to further restrictions of their sovereignty as long as Washington only wants to apply the NPT and all follow-on agreements on other nations.  The Cold War is over, but the U.S. continues to sit on thousands of useless nuclear warheads, and even develops new nuclear weapons....  States like North Korea and Iran may force the international community to think about a new NPT, but the greatest obstacle on the path to this goal is currently the U.S."


"Fortress Against Bombs"


Stefan Ulrich noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/3):  "The NPT...can be described in simple words: as a chair with three legs.  On the first leg stands 'Disarmament of Nuclear Powers', on the second 'Nonproliferation of the Bomb', and on the third, 'Nuclear Power for All'....  This chair held for three decades but now it is wobbling and needs to be repaired....  North Korea having left the NPT and Iran's nuclear secretiveness indeed create fears of a chain reaction.  That is why the Bush government will deserve every support if it wants to catch Iran and North Korea and plans much stricter rules against the proliferation of the bomb.  But good treaties are well-formed compromises, and it is part of a compromise that all sides give up something.  If America and the other nuclear power preach abstinence to the world, then they are not allowed to boast about new weapons such as mini nukes and nuclear strategies.  The U.S. government is already thinking about seeking salvation beyond the NPT by forming coalitions of the willing...but in the long run, the problem of nuclear bombs can be resolved only with a global answer, as a stricter NPT would offer.  But the prospects for such a treaty are only small.  Too many countries have an interest in sawing this chair."


"The Future Of Nuclear Weapons"


Michael Stürmer judged in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (5/3):  "The situation of the NPT is not very favorable, even though it has been the one of the most successful treaties of all times....  It is an element of global architecture but four decades after its signing, nothing is any longer unthinkable....  The strengths and the weaknesses of the NPT have been obvious...and now the non-nuclear countries have called upon the nuclear countries to reduce their arsenals even more, even though depots have reached the smallest numbers of nuclear arms in decades.  The havenots, however, are ignoring the fact that the NPT is threatened much more by states that break the rules, by secret arms deals, and by terrorists who are striving for the ultimate weapon....  And two states are now about to violate the rules of the NPT:  North Korea and Iran....  If nothing happens all calculations for the Far East will become unstuck...while Iran is a test case for the future of nuclear weapons--and for cooperation between Europeans and Americans.  In this respect, we cannot expect too much cooperation from Putin, and even less from China.  If the NPT disintegrates, nuclear anarchy will follow, since numerous countries are able to build the bomb.  That is why two aspects are important: political cohesion of the powers in the UNSC, and the strengthening of the UN monitoring regime....  The problem remains which sanctions can be imposed if a state violates the NPT and how can they be implemented.  In the meantime, India and Pakistan have become established nuclear powers and are treated politely.  But the future of this great treaty will be decided not in New York but in Iran and North Korea."


"Bombs For All--Double Standards Of Nuclear Powers Promotes Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons"


Harald Schumann concluded in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (5/3):  "The NPT is contradictory in itself and has permanently been boycotted by its authors, the five nuclear powers.  When the 188 signatories convene in New York to review the NPT, they will be able to take note of the decline of a correct idea, for the basic construction of the Treaty can no longer be maintained.  It promises all signatories free access to the civilian use of nuclear power if they give up nuclear weapons.  But every nation with a civilian nuclear energy is also a nuclear power state in waiting, not only in Iran....  That is why the policy against proliferation could be taken seriously only if it destroys the grand delusion of the nuclear community: the political and military use of nuclear fission cannot be separated politically and materially....  The treatment of the three nuclear powers that followed but did not join the NPT is no less counter productive...and the governments in Islamabad and Tel Aviv even enjoy the military support of the U.S. government, something which massively undermines the credibility of the entire NPT regime. And if we measure the nuclear powers against their own commitments to the NPT, then all their warnings of Armageddon caused by an uncontrolled proliferation turn out to be hypocritical....  The entire policy of non-proliferation has been characterized by the principle of double standards.  This must fail.  The emerging nations from the South will, in the long run, not subject to a nuclear weapons regime without legitimacy.  Those who apply ambiguous yardsticks when it comes to the access to nuclear technology will in the end have no more to control."


"Negotiating Marathon"


Centrist Stuttgarter Zeitung noted (5/3):  "At the beginning of this negotiating marathon in New York, it has been clear that there are no simple answers to the complex question of non-proliferation.  But the NPT is without alternative and must be strengthened, by making stricter controls of the IAEA binding for all signatories and by making it more difficult for signatories to cancel the NPT.  In addition, North Korea and Iran must be made clear as soon as possible that their attitude is unacceptable.  Otherwise, there is the threat that many other countries imitate their behavior and that a new nuclear arms race begins in the Middle and the Far East."


"No Longer Functional"


Rolf Clement said on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (5/2):  "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is no longer in keeping with the times....  The superpowers of that time took over a kind of guarantee that no further nuclear powers would develop in their sphere of influence....  But now the spheres of influence have been dissolved, and it is now possible to earn a lot of money with nuclear technology....  The nuclear weapon has turned into a political weapon....  We have to deal with a political vicious circle.  On the one hand, the NPT provides the offer to help use [nuclear technology] for civilian purposes....  The interest in the countries, which are at the threshold of becoming nuclear powers, to subject to strict rules is rather small because they would thus give away political means for negotiations.   In this confusing situation, it is hard to imagine that a result will be produced in the coming weeks in New York that will be acceptable for the majority of countries in the world."


"Need For Revision"


Andreas Flocken remarked on regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (5/2):  "If the NPT is to remain an effective instrument, it must be revised, loopholes be closed....  This problem and others must urgently be resolved at the New York NPT Review Conference.  This is certainly a difficult task...but there is no reason to be pessimistic....  But Washington, too, must be willing to meet the commitments it accepted in the NPT.  This includes in particular the reduction of its own nuclear arsenal.  U.S. plans for the production of mini-nukes contradict the spirit of the NPT, for it is one goal to disarm and to ostracize nuclear weapons.  With the development of small bunker-breaking nuclear weapons, the operational threshold for nuclear weapons will be lowered.  Nuclear weapons are turning into war-waging weapons.  This is a fatal development, for they have mainly served to deter, and were thus political weapons.  A conventionalization of nuclear weapons should not happen.  That its another reason why the NPT conference in New York should not fail."


RUSSIA:  "NPT Outdated"


Boris Volkhonskiy commented in business-oriented Kommersant (5/4):  “That this world has survived is due largely to the NPT.  Because of that treaty, irresponsible regimes have been unable to get hold of the A-bomb and bring about a global catastrophe.  The paradox about technological progress is that, any novelty, with access to it necessarily limited to the elite, will become open to the public.  In that sense, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is absolutely right when he calls the NPT outdated....  If nuclear technologies had emerged through proliferation alone, there would have been no Hiroshima and Nagasaki or physicist Andrey Sakharov.  One can understand the U.S. carping that North Korea and Iran may soon go nuclear-who wants an ?irresponsible leader’ swinging an atomic bomb?  But that looks like trying to catch a train long gone.  With nuclear technologies spread far and wide, there is nothing you can do about it.”


"New Challenges"


Vadim Markushin said in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (5/4):  “The main thing is to stop peaceful nuclear energy programs from waxing military.  Over the past five years, most of the complaints have been about Iran and North Korea....  Iran is ready to build its own nuclear bomb, according to U.S. experts....  NPT is not only about keeping non-nuclear countries from gaining access to nuclear weapons.  It is also that the chief nuclear nations--the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France-have not exactly been prolific with disarmament initiatives, either.  More importantly, they don’t meet their commitments.  The U.S.' withdrawal from the ABM treaty and refusal to honor a ban on nuclear tests make it the prime target of criticism.”


AUSTRIA:  "Nuclear Disaster"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer commented in independent Der Standard (5/2):  “It is disillusioning that the only possible assessment before the NPT Conference, which is due to start in New York today, is that the international community is so thoroughly divided that it was not even possible to agree on a program and the proceedings, to say nothing of content. This is the result of a world that after 9/11 has become polarized to the breaking point. The thirteen steps that the signatories of the 2000 NPT Conference agreed on, are not even worth the paper they were written on:  Among others, the importance and urgency to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was stressed, and it was once again confirmed that nuclear armament was the ultimate goal of the treaty. Nowadays, the US wants to hear nothing about this--on the contrary, it is busy working on 'mini-nukes.’ This is a climate that is unlikely to inspire the have-nots of the world to practice continued renunciation.”


DENMARK:  "Lack Of International Commitment Could Spoil Non-proliferation Conference Hopes"


Left-wing Information judged (5/3):  "The reason that many leading experts are predicting that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation conference could fail to achieve anything is because of the very policies being pursued by many of the leading actors....  For example, the Bush Administration has planted the seed of doubt regarding its commitment to abandoning the future use of nuclear arms.  The President is refusing to sign the Test Ban Treaty and he is also investing in the future production of mini- A-bombs."


"Problematic Non-proliferation Conference Ahead"


Karl Erik Nielsen observed in center-right Berlingske Tidende (5/3):  "The U.S. and Iran appears to be heading towards a confrontation.  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is hoping that some positive results can be achieved at the forthcoming non-proliferation conference, but acknowledges that problems exist with Iran and North Korea." 


HUNGARY:  "Nuclear Little Tigers"


Gyorgy Fodor held in liberal-leaning Magyar Hirlap (5/4):  “The nuclear club is totally indignant about Tehran’s and Pyongyang’s games, while each one of its members, with the alleged exception of Great Britain, is continuously modernizing, miniaturizing and developing its nuclear weapons.  It makes one smile that, according to a separate agreement, by 2012, Moscow and Washington will lower the number of their nuclear warheads by 80% compared to the 1990 level.  So, they are going to throw out most of the current 8-10 thousand worthless, rusty and outdated warheads, and they will be left with a couple of thousand state-of-the-art, multi-purpose, sexy warheads....  The treaty might have fulfilled its purpose for a couple of years, but today it is bad and outdated.  In 35 years, technology has made such huge progress that the bomb might eventually show up even in flea markets, and old ladies will be carrying them in their purses against muggers.  Perhaps Bush & Co. ought to extend their unselfish work of spreading democracy also to spreading common sense globally. They should start in the White House.  Even one tiny nuclear warhead might cause a headache and a hangover.  The problem must be dealt with.  The bomb is with us.”


NORWAY:  "Nuclear Double Moral"


Social-democratic Dagsavisen commented (5/3):  "George W. Bush and John Kerry disagreed on most everything during the Presidential Campaign last fall, but on one issue they were in complete agreement: The largest threat to security in the world today is the spread of nuclear weapons for terrorists and predatory states. The agreement that is to stop this from happening is now under renegotiation in the UN in New York....  When the non-proliferation agreement went into force in 1970, all countries without nuclear weapons committed themselves to leave all plans on acquiring such weapons behind. Even though India, Pakistan and Israel--and probably also North Korea--have obtained nuclear weapons since then, the agreement has been a success--after all, more than 180 countries still do not have nuclear weapons. But the world’s five old nuclear powers have not kept their part of the deal: To work on abolishing their own weapons. The British are not the only culprits. The U.S. has rejected the ban on nuclear testing and plans to develop new types of nuclear weapons in the future. Such contempt for its own commitments does not make it easier for Bush to fight what he calls the greatest threat against world peace.”


SWEDEN:  "Stop Up NPT Loopholes"


Foreign Editor Per Ahlin wrote in independent, liberal Stockholm-based Dagens Nyheter (5/3):  "It is obvious that the NPT has loopholes....  An updated and improved treaty certainly would be a welcome means in the struggle to avoid a new arms race. But the obstacle to success is political--the intrinsic injustice of arms controls, which gives some the rights that are refused others, does not show any sign of disappearing....  The obligation that non-nuclear states have to not procure weapons corresponds, according to the NPT, to demands that the nuclear states disarm....  The U.S. has turned its back on a total ban on nuclear testing, retired from the ABM treaty and started development of new nuclear weapons. This policy makes it difficult for the U.S. to credibly argue that other states should do without what the U.S. has. This argumentation easily becomes hollow....  That is the perpetual question regarding arms control. Why should certain states be allowed...when others cannot? As long as the answer is absent, there is a risk that the dangerous (weapons) spiral will continue.”




ISRAEL:  "A Treaty That Has Outlived Its Usefulness"


Reuven Pedhazur opined in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/5):  "The nuclear policy of the Bush administration actually reduces the possibility of promoting the attempt to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.  The U.S. president refused to join the treaty to ban nuclear tests, abandoned the treaty for preventing the development of anti-missile defense systems, and called for the development of new and advanced types of nuclear weapons once again.  In light of these steps by the United States, it is clear that the chances of success for the month-long conference are not great....  However, the aggressive attitude of the U.S. administration, which while placing an emphasis on its own nuclear weapons, is simultaneously trying to put a stop to the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, is actually very convenient for Israel....  Next month, the fate of the NPT will be decided.  Quite a number of those participating in the conference are convinced that the treaty in its present form has outlived its usefulness and that the time has come to formulate new rules, which will enable the international community to carry out proper supervision, to impose punishments and even to prevent additional countries from arming themselves with nuclear weapons.  Israel hopes these rules will be accepted before Iran crosses the nuclear threshold.  [Israel] is not relying on the fact that it will be the NPT that prevents Iran from completing the development of its nuclear weapons."


"Low Profile Vs. Activist Approach"


Zeev Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/4):  "Israel may not be at the center of the debate of the conference, which is to examine the validity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)....  However, the Egyptians are making an effort to put Israel at the center of the discussions on the grounds that it is the only Middle Eastern country that is not a signatory to the NPT, and that a committee should be formed to apply constant pressure on it.  By focusing on Israel, the Egyptians are ignoring flagrant violations by others:  the argument with the Iranians over their nuclear activity continues, after having misled the IAEA over the last 18 years.  Egypt also has forgotten Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, 'the father of the Pakistani bomb,' who sold his country's nuclear secrets.  In any case, the current assessment is that if Egypt tries to push its anti-Israeli proposals, the United States and other countries friendly to Israel will prevent passage of decisions that include sanctions."


"Nuclear Weapons Are Spreading, But The World Is Powerless"


Yossi Melman asserted in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/3):  "Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conferences have only one purpose: to save the international treaty from disintegration.  But the chances of this succeeding are close to nil.  Despite the fact that the preparations ahead of this conference have gone one for an entire year, its organizers have not managed to set an agreed-upon agenda.  However, there are harsh disagreements [at the conference]....  Furthermore, it would be hard to ignore the question marks hovering above the U.S. administration's attitude.  At the previous conference [five years ago] the U.S. pledged to act to reduce its nuclear weapons arsenals, and also agreed to ratify the [Comprehensive] Test Ban Treaty.  But a new administration is in place, and President Bush refuses to ratify [that] treaty and conducts a policy that can be seen as turning its back upon the United States' previous commitments."




The English-language pro-government Arab News held (5/3):  "When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) came into force in 1970, the ultimate aim was that the world should be rid of all nuclear weapons....  Thirty-five years later, as delegates meet at the UN...many will argue that the NPT has failed. Israel, India and Pakistan--none of whom signed the original treaty--all have nuclear weapons. North Korea, which did sign but later withdrew, says it now has the bomb. Iran is still a signatory but is suspected by Washington of having a nuclear weapons program, which Tehran denies....  Nonetheless while the NPT remains an agreement without teeth, it is still not without purpose. The problem is that among the nuclear power signatories, the U.S. has been distorting that purpose. For the Americans stopping the spread of nuclear weapons means at bottom--stopping the danger that any state will seek to challenge U.S. world hegemony....  The deterrent effect of a nuclear capability is, however, what has informed the weapons programs of India, Pakistan, Israel, even North Korea and maybe also Iran....  That any state has contemplated the immense expense and considerable effort of its own nuclear program represents a major failure of post-Cold War diplomacy, primarily by the Americans. Had America capitalized immediately upon the end of the superpower standoff by fulfilling the original ambition of the NPT and initiating genuine nuclear disarmament talks, the world might now be well on the way to ridding itself of the threat of thermonuclear destruction. The problem is that the Americans are still committed to further nuclear weapons development and testing....  This is not the same, however, as saying that the NPT is useless....  Indeed it is the framework around which global disarmament will one day be built. But until Washington accepts this, no genuinely constructive process can begin."


JORDAN:  "Time For Maturity"


The elite English-language Jordan Times opined (5/3):  "The U.S. has again escalated tension with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programmes.  The campaign picked up steam with reports of US negotiators planning to convince a monthlong nuclear non-proliferation conference that Iran and North Korea must halt their programmes....  The seventh review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which went into effect 35 years ago is drawing representatives of 190 countries.  They should be working constructively to at least regulate nuclear activity, if not altogether abolish the use of such terrifying power.  Pledges from the five nuclear countries to move towards disarmament should be accompanied by cool-headed action on their part vis-a-vis the newcomers to the club. The three outsiders, Israel, India and Pakistan, should be made to at least adhere to the NPT, if not convinced to renounce the race to acquire more nuclear power.  The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the monster power unleashed by an innocent discovery in physics, should not be allowed to wane.  All nations must show maturity and commitment to maintaining life on this already precarious planet of ours." 


QATAR:  "NPT Regime Needs A Thorough Revamp"


The semi-official English-language Gulf Times maintained (5/3):  "Few believe that the month-long UN meeting on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that started in New York yesterday would produce any ground-breaking initiatives.  Nonetheless the NPT still provides a basic benchmark in a troubled world. Its greatest strength is its near universality; almost all the countries in the world, with the exception of India, Pakistan and Israel, are signatories....  Its greatest weakness is that there is a very close relationship between the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and the creation of fissile material for nuclear bombs. Under the present regime, it is possible for countries to step up to the edge of the treaty constraints and then jump outside it. North Korea is a typical example....  So the doubts about the NPT’s competence to deal with the much more complex problems of non-proliferation in today’s world are genuine and need to be addressed urgently....  There were fears that without such an agreement there might be 15 or 20 nuclear-armed states....  In that goal the NPT has been largely successful.  But today...many wonder if the treaty still serves a useful purpose....  A whole series of episodes had highlighted weaknesses in the regime--North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT after it was found to be cheating on its commitments, not to mention Iran’s reported efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of a peaceful nuclear programme....  As part of the bargain on which the treaty rested, the five declared nuclear powers had undertaken  eventually to give up their nuclear arms. And they have simply not been honouring this commitment.  The mounting proliferation challenges that the world face today can only be met by strengthening the treaty and plugging the loopholes that many have been exploiting to pursue dubious nuclear programmes."


SYRIA:  "Towards A WMD-Free World"


Muhammad Khair Al-Jamali observed in government-owned Al-Thawra (5/3):  "The New York meeting, of the states that signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, provides an opportunity to warn against the dangers of nuclear weapons and the double-standard policy that the united states pursues over this issue....  The U.S. applied pressure on North Korea, Iran, and all the third world countries that have nuclear programs for peaceful purposes to force them to stop their programs under the pretext that these programs might be developed for military use. But Israel's name was never mentioned, although the US knows more than anyone else that Israel had 200 nuclear warheads according to statistics carried out two years ago....  The international community must adopt a resolution to free the whole world from nuclear weapons and all other WMD."


UAE:  "Again, The U.S. Is Double-Dealing"


The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf News declared (5/5):  "One policy for allies, one for perceived enemies, is no way to win arguments....  Every five years, the 187 signatory states to the Non-Proliferation Treaty review their handiwork in a month-long conference at UN headquarters.  After much discussion, very little, if any, progress has been made to enforcing the treaty.  The haves want to keep everyone else out of the club, most of the have-nots want it to stay that way, there are a few have-nots who desperately want to join the club, and some who are known to be secret members but will not confess to it.  The purpose of the treaty is not only to stop proliferation but, as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reminded delegates at the start of the conference, for the haves to reduce their arsenals to zero.  So, while non-proliferation has not been as effective as it should, the nuclear powers have all but disregarded their responsibility also.  To make matters worse, the United States, in order to take the global eye off this particular ball, has charged North Korea and Iran of seeking to produce nuclear weapons by enriching uranium.  And, just to compound a felony, it has granted five nations the right to do what it condemns Iran for. Such hypocrisy, indeed.  It obviously pays to have powerful friends."




JAPAN:  "Effective Means Necessary To Confront Nuclear Challenge By North Korea"


Liberal Mainichi asserted (5/4):  "North Korea's suggested nuclear testing and Iran's suspected nuclear weapons development appear to undermine the validity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Echoing harsh criticism by President Bush and UN Secretary General Annan of Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, Japan firmly called on the secretive state to completely abandon its nuclear weapons development programs and immediately return to the six-party talks.  Participants of the ongoing NPT review conference need to understand the seriousness of potential nuclear threats by North Korea and come up with effective means to confront the nuclear challenge posed by Kim Jong Il, because containment of his nuclear ambitions would hold the key to the success to the NPT.  Unfortunately, some of security policies of the Bush administration seem to be an obstacle to the success of the international accord.  The U.S. withdrew from the ABM Treaty, refused to ratify the CTBT and plans to develop newer and smaller nuclear weapons.  Washington's policies have discouraged global efforts on nuclear disarmament.  If NPT members fail to agree on the planned Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, the influence of the international pact could be drastically undermined.  Members of the treaty, both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, need to conduct serious discussions in order to make the world a safer place."


"Nonproliferation Plus Disarmament"


The liberal English-language Japan Times declared (5/3):  "The 1970 treaty is riddled with inefficacy, as illustrated by North Korea's nuclear-weapons program, Iran's moves to enrich uranium, and the existence of an international black market for nuclear equipment and technology. Restoring confidence in the NPT regime largely depends on the conference.  Confidence building requires resolving, or at least reducing, the deep disagreement and mistrust that exists between nuclear haves and have-nots. All treaty nations have the collective responsibility to craft a more effective international system for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons....  On the agenda are three general subjects: disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful use of atomic energy....  It is hard to reject criticism that the nuclear states have not been doing enough to reduce their deadly arsenals....  For the conference to succeed, Washington should make clear that it is determined to protect and reinforce the NPT system, and begin to move more positively toward nuclear disarmament....  How to deal with North Korea is a crucial question. The country continues a policy of nuclear brinkmanship, defying international calls for dialogue....  The conference should send a clear message to the North Koreans: Give up your nuclear ambitions and return immediately to six-party talks....  Nonproliferation is a major pillar of U.S. security policy. But this does not mean that the U.S. alone can bolster its nuclear strategy. America, now developing new types of nuclear weapons to fight terrorism, would win more confidence internationally if it listened humbly to voices calling for a nuclear-free world."


"NPT Confab To Show Differing Views On Arms Control"


Liberal Asahi observed (5/2):  "An NPT review conference is set to start amid a growing challenge to the non-proliferation regime from alleged nuclear developments by North Korea and Iran.  Since the difference of opinions between the 'nuclear-haves' and 'have-nots' are bigger than ever, the meeting is likely to begin without a pre-agreement on the formal discussion agenda....  It is certain that Pyongyang and Teheran's nuclear ambitions will be high on the agenda, but because the non-nuclear powers fault nuclear-club members for not doing enough to effect the CTBT, the conference might turn into a venue for exchanging criticism."  


INDONESIA:  "Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Indeed Becomes Toothless Tiger"


Leading independent Kompas asserted (5/4):  "It makes sense if the Conference on the Review of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which opened in the UN Building in New York on Monday, was welcome to pessimism.  The problem is, the different views among the attending nations that meet every five years is fundamental and it seems very difficult to reach a compromise....  The deadlock at this conference appeared before event it began because different views have been so apparent over the last few months.  The U.S., in this almost month long conference, wants the focus on Iran and North Korea.  Meanwhile, the majority of nations complain about the five nuclear owner countries, which are considered to have moved slowly in abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and call for their dismantling of nuclear arsenals in stages....  However, if there is an issue that continues to be contentious, it is the issue of the fairness principle.  The fairness principle not only regards ownership of weapons of mass destruction by the five nuclear powers, but also by a country like Israel....  With the world’s perspective colored with unfairness, it's natural if the NPT Conference is shadowed with deadlock before it even begins.  However, countries outside those five nuclear powers must continue their fight to seek fairness in this difficult field.”            


MALAYSIA:  "U.S. Worried About Iran Nuclear Program"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian editorialized (5/2):  'The conference attended by 190 countries to discuss issues on Nuclear Non-proliferation in New York, became more important as Iran and North Korea have been accused of running secret programs to build nuclear arms. North Korea chased out nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and declared it had a nuclear bomb. Iran has been accused of running its uranium enrichment program with the help of Russia.  President George W. Bush is worried as Iran was part of his original Axis of Evil. He continues to pressure IAEA to force Iran to halt its program, and is prepared to drag matter of Iran to the UNSC and demand sanctions be imposed. The U.S. has crossed swords with Teheran several times before on this issue. Bush must be worried because former Iranian president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said that Iran wants to have its own nuclear program to defend its sovereignty and national pride."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Non-Proliferation Treaty, Weakened By U.S.”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun stated (5/3):  “The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, held every five years, opens Monday in New York and continues until the middle of the month.  One of the first things that grabs your attention is the problem of non-member states.  The Bush administration wants to allow only five countries that do not have nuclear arms to be able to process uranium, namely Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Argentina.  Opposition to that from most non-nuclear nations is only natural.  The most serious problem is that nuclear nations are not abiding by the treaty in good faith.  The U.S. has the most nuclear weapons but is avoiding making reductions, and is trying to develop a new nuclear “bunker buster” bomb.  Also, the U.S. is determining its nuclear experiment budget while rejecting the comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is supported by most nations.  The issue of nuclear arms will ultimately only be resolved through complete abolition of nuclear weapons.  That will require all the nuclear nations to take action.  The U.S. has the greatest stockpile of nuclear arms, so its responsibility in that process cannot be overemphasized.”




INDIA:  "Unreal Exercise"


The pro-economic-reforms Business Standard editorialized (5/5):  "While the Non-Proliferation Treaty may be alive in letter, in spirit it is quite dead.  Ever since the NPT was wheeled out by the nuclear powers 37 years ago as a means of maintaining their oligopoly over nuclear weapons, the haves have expressed their worries over proliferation and the have-nots have asked for disarmament.  The unvarnished truth is that neither has got what it wanted.  Far from disarming, countries have acquired more nuclear weapons....  The nuclear club of five that the NPT created looks as out-dated as the British monarchy, and the rules it creates are no better--as becomes evident when the Articles of the NPT are examined....  The U.S. says nuclear weapons are essential to its security.  And it has turned a blind eye to blatant violations by China and France.  On the other hand, the strict observance of provisions by India, even without being a signatory to the treaty, has been ignored....  It serves little purpose to pretend that the NPT is alive and well.  The time has come to consider a new framework.  Such a new framework must start from the opposite premise of the old one, namely, that it is possible to prevent proliferation.  The assumption today must be in tune with reality, which is that lots of people have got a bomb and more will acquire it--and all of them need not be state players....  A new framework must therefore look for establishing universally applicable multilateral obligations....  But even if all this happens, the problem of non-state threats (the idea of a rogue state is self-serving, considering that only the U.S. has so far used the bomb) will remain.  But that is not something which a treaty can provide for; it needs other measures to be taken and those cannot and need not be the subject of treaty discussions.”


"When U.S. Talks Nuclear To India" 


The centrist Indian Express contended (5/5):  "Media reports have been suggesting that India is about to receive 'civilian nuclear co-operation' from the U.S.  While analysts have speculated that this might include the supply of foreign reactors and nuclear safety assistance, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) have been silent about the details....  It is abundantly clear that the U.S. has no worthwhile current expertise in any of the type of reactors involved in the Indian nuclear power program.  Hints that the U.S. is willing to co-operate with us in nuclear safety appear to be an attempt to create doubt in the minds of the Indian public that perhaps the DAE is not capable of ensuring adequate safety in our installations without tangible help from the U.S. ...  The U.S. strategy, however, appears to go deeper.  They would like to extract the maximum concessions from India in the nuclear arena and in return make vague promises about benefits to us in the non-nuclear areas.”


PAKISTAN:  "Nuclear Hypocrisy"


The center-right national English-language Nation noted (5/6):  "While the members of the nuclear club maintain that terrorists taking recourse to low intensity warfare constitute the greatest threat to their security, they continue to add new warheads to their nuclear arsenal while advising those outside the exclusive club to adhere to the NPT.  This is sheer hypocrisy....  As long as some countries place strategic importance on nuclear weapons as a deterrent, others are likely to emulate them.  A beginning has to be made therefore by the big powers towards the elimination of WMD to encourage others to follow suit....  It is time the U.S. and European countries direct their homilies on nuclear programs to Israel also.  At this stage, it is realistic to give nuclear power status to all counties known to be in possession of nuclear weapons.  Their inclusion might help the world move towards the ideal of total elimination of not only nuclear, but all, WMD."


"Nuclear Proliferation And NPT"


Popular Urdu-language Khabrain noted (5/5):  "The U.S. has sought Pakistan, India and Israel’s support for NPT in order to have comprehensive relations with the world....  America wants to implement NPT’s additional protocol, which authorizes IAEA to inspect nuclear installations of non-permanent member of UNSC without notice.  This NPT-related demand by U.S. cannot be acceptable for Pakistan, India and Israel until these countries are recognized as nuclear powers....  Pakistan, India and Israel’s standpoint in this respect is right; what is wrong with recognizing the countries as nuclear powers when they actually possess the capability."


"IAEA's Right Approach"


Karachi-based center-left independent national Dawn remarked (5/5):  "The task of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and ensuring N-disarmament has fallen victim to big-power chauvinism.  It is assumed, for instance, that WMD are safer in the hands of the recognized powers--the so-called P-5--than in the hands of the unrecognized club (Pakistan and India--Israel’s position being one of what is called 'strategic ambiguity')....  One must welcome the IAEA's stand that Pakistan, India and Israel should be included in nuclear disarmament talks.  Speaking at the IAEA’s review conference in New York on Monday, Director-General Mohammad El Baradei said N-disarmament could succeed only if it were universal.  Dr. El Baradei had said this on earlier occasions, too, but this is for the first time that he has made his views known to a high-level global conference.  This is the right approach.  There can be no universal N-disarmament without involving the two South Asian powers and Israel.  Ridding the world of WMD should be the aim, rather than perpetuating the nuclear monopoly of a few."


"Selectivity In CTBT"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn contended (4/30):  "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has long been in limbo, notwithstanding the fact that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan raised the issue in New Delhi on Thursday....  Non-proliferation is a laudable aim.  The more states possess WMDs the more the world becomes an unsafe place.  But containing nuclear proliferation requires an honesty of purpose.  At present, this is missing in American and European policies on the issue.  You cannot check proliferation while pampering Israel, the Middle East’s only nuclear power.  Pressuring Iran and placing it under sanctions while aiding Israel in spite of its violation of UN resolutions on a number of issues--occupation, genocide, HR excesses - has deprived the US-EU policies on non-proliferation of a moral content."




CANADA:  "Nuclear Power Debate Requires Canada's Lead"


The left-of-center Saskatoon StarPhoenix editorialized (5/5):  “A month-long conference has begun in the UN to try, once again, to find a way to ban all nuclear weapons. It's a noble goal that sanity dictates should occupy a significant part of human enterprise. But the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which is up for its quinquennial UN debate, has been knocked off the rails by a combination of shirkers, nuclear-power intransigence, patently insane rogue-state leaders and a growing need for non-fossil fuel energy....  Even those who argue that the U.S. still needs nuclear weapons...agree that it's critical to rid the world of the older generation of bombs. Intransigence on this issue has been picked up by developing states as a reason to ignore rules limiting their nuclear programs....  There is no question that Iran, which hid its nuclear program for 18 years, can't be trusted....   However, given the serious concern about the environment and the role nuclear energy can play in mitigating CO2 emissions, it's hard to deny any country--particularly a developing one--the chance to tap into an energy source....  For Canada and the world, this use of Einstein's brainwave is becoming increasingly important.”


"Hypocrisy Won't Defuse The Bomb"


The liberal Toronto Star opined (5/5):  "Those who witnessed the horror of 9/11 will never forget it....  Yet as the UN tries this week to shore up the frayed 35-year-old Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), who can even begin to picture the horror even a small atomic bomb would wreak in New York, Seoul, Tel Aviv or Mumbai?....  A nuclear military attack, accident or terror strike would do far greater damage than 9/11 to global stability. Yet while Americans and others fear terrorists striking with a Hiroshima-style bomb in a pickup truck, or carried in a packsack, the nuclear-armed countries see no need to retire their arsenals....  In short, the world is awash with 30,000 nuclear weapons, spreading technology and fissile materials. There is serious concern that 'unsecured' weapons may fall into the hands of rogue states, or rogue actors. Can the 2005 NPT review help defuse this threat?  There is no guarantee, for political and practical reasons. The U.S. and other nuclear powers have reneged on the 'grand bargain' at the heart of the 1970 treaty, inviting others to do the same....  Worse, U.S. President George Bush has lowered the nuclear bar. He has served notice that the U.S. can envisage striking first with nuclear weapons, even against an adversary that doesn't have them. He asked Congress to fund ''tactical' nukes. He increased the budget for fissile materials for bombs. Has rejected the test ban treaty. And ordered a test site readied. Given this dismal scene, the UN has its work cut out strengthening the treaty, at the margins. Even so, it must try. The threat is just too great.... Can the treaty be strengthened in any real way in this review round?....  The odds might be better if the U.S. and other nuclear powers would respect their pledge to disarm. They would be in a stronger moral position to impose sanctions on countries that refuse to sign the treaty, or renege on it, or simply cheat."


"Updating Creaky Old Nuclear Treaty Will Be Contentious"


Jonathan Manthorpe observed in the left-of-center Vancouver Sun (5/4):  "Despite the throbbing, daily headlines about the nuclear weapons ambitions of Iran and North Korea, the 35-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty has been remarkably successful.  The knowledge necessary to build nuclear weapons is more than 60 years old and widely available.  Yet there has been no dramatic proliferation of this weaponry.  The club of five principal nuclear powers--the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain--has remained the same for half a century.  The only other countries known to have nuclear weapons are Israel, India and Pakistan.  Those three have not signed the NPT and clearly feel the security provided by owning nuclear weapons is more important than international disapproval.  But as the UN begins a month-long review of the NPT...there is strong concern that the treaty is creaky with age and increasingly unable to contain the spread of nuclear weapons....  The Iranian situation goes far more to the heart of the future of the NPT and international policing of nuclear programs.  Like many developing countries, Iran resents the restrictions placed on the construction of nuclear energy programs by the industrialized nations that already have this capacity....  The head of the IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, has already suggested a way forward.  He has called for a five-year moratorium on new fuel-making facilities and for future fuel production to be put under the control of international bodies.  This bird does not appear to be ready to fly.  Both the U.S. and Iran rejected the moratorium for ideological reasons, as have France and Japan, which are heavily dependent on their nuclear programs for energy production."


"The Next Step"


The centrist Winnipeg Free Press stated (5/3):  “On Saturday, and again on Sunday, Iran made clear that it will not be deterred from resuming nuclear-enrichment activities, which Washington, Europe and Canada believe are part of a continuing effort to build nuclear weapons.  Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that neither the present Iranian government nor any future one would so much as 'take a step against the people's interest' by abandoning the nuclear program.  Another aspiring nuclear power also cast a cloud over the talks.  North Korea on Sunday successfully test-fired a missile with nuclear capability over the Sea of Japan, the second such test recently.  The North Korean missile does not have intercontinental range, and the extent of the country's weapons capability remains uncertain, but Pyongyang's increasing skill in developing nuclear throw-power is worrying as dictator Kim Jong-Il shows no sign of scaling back his aggressive ambitions....  Neither Ayatollah Khamenei nor Mr. Kim are reasonable men, however, as least not in any way that 'reasonable' might be understood in Ottawa, Washington, London or Paris.  There is a multilateral committee, led by Washington and including Japan and South Korea, prepared to negotiate with North Korea, but Mr. Kim has refused to meet with it for months as he pushes ahead with his weapons program.  Another international effort led by France and the U.S. is attempting to sway Iran from its nuclear course, but without success.  The U.S. and other nations believe that only international sanctions can enforce the moral authority of the non-proliferation treaty and stop the spread of atomic weapons.  That is something that the non-proliferation conference must consider this month.  If Iran and North Korea are impervious to reason, the next step may have to be coercion.”



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