- The Washington Times - Friday, February 6, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Toronto Star

Pakistan’s nuclear secret

So now we know. The father of Pakistan’s H-Bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, may be a national hero, but he’s also a greedy fellow who for 15 years has been running a sleazy weapons bazaar on the side.

That’s the picture President Gen. Pervez Musharraf wants to draw, at any rate, now that Mr. Khan stands accused of selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

The truth is likely to be darker, and may well implicate Pakistan’s senior political and military echelons in proliferation-for-profit.

Successive Pakistani regimes tolerated, if not encouraged, a culture where top scientists felt free to flog nuclear secrets to some of the world’s most problematic countries, increasing the risk that terrorists might one day lay their hands on nightmare weapons. …

Without American moral leadership, this threat will not recede. Yet President Bush is singularly ill-placed to preach restraint. He made it clear in his Nuclear Posture Review of 2002 that he’s prepared to use nukes first, even against a non-nuclear adversary. He’s funding new “tactical” nukes, has budgeted for more fissile materials and wants a test site readied.

In short, he’s making the unthinkable thinkable, by lowering the bar to using nuclear weapons.


That fence over there

TEL AVIV — … With all due respect to the importance ascribed to the fence by Israeli security officials, deep inside Palestinian territory is not the proper place to put it.

A fence that carves up Palestinian communities, imprisons entire villages or prevents their residents from reaching their lands to farm them properly, might block terrorist cells but only at the price of deepening and disseminating even further the hatred of Israel in otherwise peaceful populations. The long-term destruction could overshadow the immediate gains.

Israel’s need to defend itself from terror can sometimes lead to depriving individual Palestinians of their property rights or their right to freedom of movement.

But if the harm to the lives of the citizenry turns into damage on a wide scale, and if the route on which the fence is going up is blatantly not meant only to prevent terror but to prevent the Palestinians from ever establishing a viable state of their own with territorial contiguity, then Israel is acting in clear contravention of its own interests.

Moscow Times

Upcoming nuclear war games

MOSCOW — Later this month, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will hold their largest exercises since the early 1980s.

The official explanation, according to a report in Kommersant, is that the war games are designed to help Russia prepare to counter terrorist threats. But no sensible person could believe that the launching of cruise missiles over the Atlantic and satellites into space combined with the test-firing of ballistic missiles would make the military better able to interdict a group of terrorists, even if they had managed to get hold of a nuclear weapon.

When the military last held war games of a similar scale, in 1982, both the Kremlin and the White House knew perfectly well what they were for — to simulate a global nuclear war. The planned exercises will also simulate a U.S.-Russian nuclear war, and the Russian side should not pretend otherwise. The strategic exercises are clearly intended to send a message to Washington, but also to the voters at home as President Vladimir Putin comes up for re-election… . Russian commanders, though they would not admit it in public, continue to believe that a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia is possible, and thus that they should plan for it… .

If they are serious about fighting terrorism, political leaders on the banks of the Potomac and the Moskva should prod their generals to game joint interdictions of nuclear terrorist attacks rather than U.S.-Russian nuclear wars.

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