an area of the map for world news.
February 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 2)
Bush Withdraws from the
Views from nine newspapers in nine countries
Reykjavik Morgunbladid (conservative), Dec. 4:
The first few months after the Bush administration came to power,
it took unilateral decisions regarding international issues
without consulting its allies. After the attacks on Sept. 11,
the situation changed. President Bush suddenly started to seek
political support from abroad and he became the mouthpiece of
unity. The president’s decision to withdraw from the ABM (Anti-Ballistic
Missile) Treaty [with Russia] now clearly indicates a departure
from that diplomatic stance. This surely is a disappointment.
Madrid El País (liberal),
Dec. 14: As with Russia, China has opposed U.S. abandonment
of the bilateral treaty that Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon
signed in May 1972 and that has been the cornerstone of the
disarmament architecture built over three decades. Unlike Russia,
however, China lacks the nuclear potential capable of guaranteeing
the penetration of the nuclear shield planned by the United
States. As a result, some Russian commentators have expressed
their fears of a new arms race.
Karachi The News (left-wing),
Dec. 14: The United States should not kill the ABM Treaty...for
two main reasons. There is no clear danger to the United States
or its allies of a ballistic missile attack and it will be a
colossal waste of scarce resources. Secondly, Russia and China
have already rung the alarm bells that this will force them,
against their better judgment and pacific intent, to beef up
their nuclear missile force. Why should they have to do it?
Because once the United States breaches the ABM limits, who
can be sure about how many more missiles and of what kind it
will build? Moreover, who can guarantee that these extra-deadly
missiles will not be used offensively?
(liberal), Dec. 14: It has not been officially disclosed
as to whether there will be any reprisal on Moscow’s part, but
foreign policy sources report that such measures are expected.
There are a number of options Moscow can take that do not involve
extra defense spending. The Russian legislature and generals
think that Moscow cannot accept the American action without
some response. According to the opinion of some, abrogating
the treaty will leave the United States as the real loser, and
not Russia, as Washington is going to waste an enormous amount
of money on the national missile defense system, the efficacy
of which is questionable.
Sofia Trud (largest circulation,
most influential), Dec. 15: The only surprise comes from
the unprecedented calm reaction of Russian President Vladimir
Putin. There are three possible explanations: Russia is aware
that it cannot halt the U.S. anti-missile programs, takes a
deep breath, and contemplates an insidious countermove; Russia
already has the means to crack the American defense; Moscow
and Washington have come to terms on fundamental bilateral problems.
The Bush announcement is officially a part of these multilayered
agreements. The superpowers take a comfortable refuge under
a future common anti-nuclear shield and even afford themselves
the luxury of making further cuts to their strategic arsenals.
Singapore The Straits Times
(independent), Dec. 15: History will one day judge the U.S.
decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
in the same way it views the U.S. failure in 1919 to join the
League of Nations—as an abdication of responsibility, a betrayal
of humankind’s best hopes, an act of folly. By announcing the
decision now, in the midst of a war on terrorism that commands
worldwide support, the Bush administration has also displayed
a cynicism that will adversely affect the mood of cooperation
that has characterized international relations since...Sept.
Tokyo Mainichi Shimbun (centrist),
Dec. 15: The ABM treaty’s fate should not be determined
without full debate and agreement between the parties. That
Bush’s decision was made unilaterally, therefore, was a big
disappointment....In addition, China is against the missile
shield, as it would completely negate the deterrent power of
its nuclear arsenal. Stable relations among the big powers cannot
be attained with technology or huge investments alone; they
require clear explanations and a sincere diplomatic policy.
Vilnius Lietuvos Rytas
(independent), Dec. 17: Moscow, clearly knowing the United
States was planning to withdraw from the agreement, was informed
of a substantial increase in its defense budget next year. So,
it looks like Moscow was waiting impatiently for a public statement
from the U.S. administration....It is very clear that a new
military race is under way.
Manila Manila Bulletin (conservative),
Dec. 16: Bush reserves his most obvious insolence as the
leader of the world’s proven superpower for his announcement
to walk out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in six months,
whether his partner, Russia, likes it or not. Even now, he is
violating the treaty by developing anti-missile missiles. Russia,
needing U.S. aid, is weakly protesting. China, although not
a signatory to the treaty, is strongly protesting. European
leaders can see political problems, but are silent....Lacking
the political instinct of his predecessors, Bush is the bull
who cannot find his way out of the China shop.