Before the convocation of the UN Millenium Summit, US President Bill Clinton announced the temporary postponement of the deployment of the NMD system, this move means that Clinton leaves this thorny problem to his successor for solution. This is a sensible decision and is therefore widely welcomed by the international community.
According to the American logic of conduct, whenever there is a thing conducive to its domination of the world, the United States would always cling obstinately to its own course. The reason why Clinton announced a "temporary suspension" of the ambitious NMD program is, in fact, the word "difficulty" that has blocked the way.
The United States has thus far conducted three NMD tests, but failed in two of them. Many scientists have pointed out that the NMD technology is far from mature and contains "fatal weaknesses". Moreover, implementation of the NMD program costs huge funds, with the budget standing as high as US$60 billion, which is, as is pointed out, actually a money-spending "dark abyss".
The majority of the US general public think that the government should use the money in education, medical service and other aspects related to the national economy and people's livelihood, rather than make sophisticated weapons and use the money gained from taxpayers in "setting off fireworks" to the outer space. It is no wonder that implementation of the NMD program has become a matter infuriating the general public.
That is not all, the US development of NMD first violates the ABM treaty signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972. It is really below national dignity for a great, powerful country to fail to observe the treaty itself signed. The United States has repeatedly persuaded Russia to revise the treaty, but was firmly objected by the Russian government.
The Joint Statement published in Beijing this past July by heads of State of China and Russia points out, "Implementation of this program will cause most serious negative consequences not only to the security of Russia, China and other countries, but also to the security of the United States itself as well as to the stability of the global strategy".
This represents the international community's strongest voice against US deployment of the NMD system. The US development of the NMD program has also aroused the opposition of its NATO allies, particularly France, Germany, Italy and other countries. At the Group 8 Summit and the ministerial conference, some countries also made different degrees of criticisms of the United States, thinking that US deployment of NMD would likely trigger large-scale arms race, and would even entail nuclear proliferation, thus posing new threat to the security and stability of the entire Eurasian continent.
Obviously, the matter regarding US deployment of NMD is also unpopular internationally.
In the face of heavy domestic and international pressure, Clinton, "after making careful consideration", decided not to deploy NMD for the time being.
As far as the United States and President Clinton himself are concerned, this can yet be regarded as a sensible move.
However, don't think that the US NMD program will thus stopped, what Clinton promised is only "temporary suspension". A Bill passed by the US Congress last year demands that the government deploy NMD as soon as possible wherever it is technologically practicable.
As far as the Democratic and Republican parties are concerned, their attitudes toward NMD are not completely different. The Republican Party's presidential candidate George W. Bush declared that once he was elected, he would begin to deploy NMD within the shortest possible time. Although Al Gore, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, agrees with Clinton's decision, in his election program, however, he also advocates "limited development of NMD".
It seems that whether or not the United States will finally give up NMD depends on whether the just voice of the international community and the United States itself can get united to form into a force, so that US leaders will go to the end along the road of sensibility and discard their NMD program that harms others but not benefits itself.
(People’s Daily 09/05/2000)