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[EDITORIALS]The Shield No Other Nation Wants

May 30,2001
The member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization decided not to approve the Bush administration's missile defense plans, despite efforts of the United States. The North Atlantic Council which is made up of NATO foreign ministers, stopped short of endorsing the missile defense shield Wednesday, agreeing only to "continue substantive consultations" with Washington. Even the most important allies of the United States do not perceive the missile defense shield as necessary.

NATO foreign ministers opened doors for further negotiation by not mentioning the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in the joint statement issued by the council. But NATO allies promised "appropriate assessment of threats and address the full range of strategic issues affecting our common security," which exhibited dissenting viewpoints with the United States.

Germany and France played an important role in opposition to the missile defense shield by the NATO allies. It seems that Germany and France are guarding against concerns that anti-missile shield will stir up arms race and the designs of the United States to seek global hegemony.

The United States is struggling to suppress opposition from Russia, not hesitating to employ the use of patronage for political advantage, such as making suggestions to purchase S-300 ballistic missile systems made by Russia. Washington is also trying to persuade Korea and Japan to approve the missile defense plan by taking advantage of the geopolitical weaknesses of the two nations. But Korea cannot give in to the demands of the United States taking into account its relationship with North Korea and China.

The Bush administration's plan to push the missile defense shield has encountered difficulty in the United States with a switch in the balance of power in the Senate. Examination is required to assess the possible threats and the assertion by the United States that the characteristics of the threats are changing due to the advent of the post cold war, which is a valid point. Even if there are possible threats of terrorism from the "rogue states," like North Korea and Iraq, whether the missile defense shield is the best measure to cope with them should be weighed. The Bush administration's missile defense plan is facing naysayers inside and outside the United States. Full scale reexamination is required.



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