Friday, November 10, 2006

Ah, Bush has set the world afire. Not good, not good–



• United States slams International Community
even as it tries to quell anger

• China calls emergency meeting UN Security Council,
while America broods

Washington, DC (Asia Pacific Press) — The United States carried out a missile test over the Indian Ocean Sunday, drawing global rebukes and triggering an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting set for later today.

News of the missile test quickly ratcheted up tensions between America and the international community, and signaled a move by Washington to a much less collaborative position.

As a result, the test by the Americans has left traditional US allies in a quandary over their long-term strategy toward Washington.

International response has been swift, and negative.

Japan, which called the test "absolutely impermissible," and set up a special task force to deal with the crisis, according to the English-language news service of Kyodo News .

Iran called the US missile test a "grave concern to all nations," according to the Washington Post .

"America attempts to extend its empire, via military coercion through its ballistic missile program, and this constitutes a threat to international peace and security," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a statement.

Amidst international flurry, China called the emergency United Nations Security Council meeting for Friday afternoon, threatening to arrive at sanctions against Washington. President Hu Jintao, in Moscow for a summit on nuclear proliferation, singled out President Bush in a speech about the urgent need for a ban against such testing.

"The United States broke the rules by testing a long-range missile in international waters," Jintao said. "This provocation underscores the need for action — not just behind closed doors at the UN Security Council, but in a global determination to prevent the spread of such power."

At the same time, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China "urge[d] all sides to maintain calm and exercise restraint," and remained ready to "play a constructive role."

The United States warned Friday it would take "self-defense" action if further provoked by the United Nations Security Council, which is considering tough sanctions on the modern empire for conducting the missile test.

Tensions have surrounded the United States since it became known that the leader of the terrorist group, PURE, is an American. Oliver Benjamin Lowell is thought to be the group's leader and responsible for planning the attacks on South East Asia on July 27, 2006 . Washington has yet to apprehend the suspected crusader. But U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld maintains that the situation is not a crisis and it was not the intention of the U.S. to unsettle the region.

"If the U.N. Security Council makes a further provocation, it will be inevitable for us to take further self-defense measures," the US Secretary of State said in a statement carried by Voice of America .

The U.S. has been strident since its test, although it did not specify what further action it was considering in response to U.N. resolutions, nor what it would consider a provocation.

"There is a limit to our patience," the statement said. "The missile test conducted in international waters was necessary to the security of the globe, not just the United States."

Fears have increased of military skirmishes, particularly in disputed waters off the Persian Gulf.

The waters were the sites of a deadly plane crash last month.

"For now, it seems quiet," said an attaché to the Iranian embassy here, Aram Farshchian, 43. "But if Bush provokes us with military power, many say our government should actively and firmly counteract it."

In Washington, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Peter Schoomaker, expressed confidence that the U.S. could fight a conventional war against any new foe if necessary, despite continuing conflicts elsewhere.

But President Bush, who has refused to cancel an eight-day tour of South Asia, and is currently en route to his first visit to the region since the July attacks by crusaders, tried to lower the temperature.

"I don't think that anybody in our administration thinks there is a crisis," Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One early yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, talks at the United Nations Security Council over possible sanctions against the U.S. were moving forward quickly.

Vitaly I. Churkin, Russia's U.N. ambassador said Thursday there was wide disagreement among key world powers on what a new U.N. resolution should include, and that therefore putting the elements together will take time because the issues are "complicated."

A list of proposals was sent Wednesday to the four of the five permanent veto-wielding council members — Russia, China, Britain, France — and several additional countries that are considered most closely affected by the missile test: Oman, Iran, Pakistan and India. The United States is abstaining from the discussions.

The Security Council debate is likely to involve "a lot of political polemics" over whether the missile test violated an earlier Council resolution, says Daniel Pinkston, head of the International Crisis Group think tank.

Nevertheless, even Washington's friends, east and west, are questioning the ethics of the action. Tokyo, and Seoul insist the test violates a resolution passed three months earlier, in July 2006, in the wake of North Korean surprise medium-range missile test. At the time, the UN banned Pyongyang from any further ballistic activity. But now UN insiders say the resolution applies to all surprise medium-range missile tests, not just from North Korea. The question will be how much lead-time is permitted before any such test is construed as a surprise.

Sanctions unlikely to help

Toughen sanctions would almost undoubtedly prompt an angry response from Washington and make an early resumption of four-party talks impossible, but the U.S. has is such a resourceful country that nobody thinks it will suffer from any sanctions, except save for petroleum embargo.

"Many around the globe do not want to appear to go easy on America, but no one wants to fall into the trap of effectively ending relations with the United States. Such relations," says Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, "have and will continue to have its advantages for the rest of the democratic world.”

Nor are many diplomatic observers under the illusion that sanctions would make any difference. "Even if Washington is punished by the U.N. Security Council, I don't believe that would change the Pentagon's attitude," predicts Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Some observers are optimistic that once the initial international outrage has died down, the U.S. Missile test might actually spark new impetus for talks between Iran and America. Although others say the only way to quell regional anger at this point is if Washington can produce Lowell and deliver him to an International court, if not one governed by the growing Pan Moslem Collation.

Other analysts say Washington has poked the mid east and South East Asia too hard in the eye for that, considering that President Ahmadinejad last week intimated he has lost all patience with the Americans after his warning not to execute the missile test was flatly ignored.

In the meantime, "there is almost downside for America" in launching its rocket, points out David Kang, Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Southern California, "and they have put other countries in a really difficult situation."

The launch, he argues, leaves the United States "tactically stronger, because they got away with what they wanted."

U.N. Diplomats said a draft of the proposed resolution would be circulated in about two weeks.

Tehran News