Arms Control: Domestic and International

Arms Control: Domestic and International

Arms Control: Domestic and International

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
May 23 1999 6:25 AM

Arms Control: Domestic and International

Collateral damage to arms control may result from the Kosovo crisis, according to the Washington Post's lead. Negative reaction in Russia endangers, if not dooms, Duma ratification of the START II strategic arms treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. China is less promising a partner for non-proliferation in South Asia due to heightened tensions. Based on analyst prognostication, the piece is devoid of countervailing opinion and full of calamitous quotes: "We may be looking at the end of bilateral, negotiated arms control."

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The boom economy has disproportionately and enduringly benefited blacks concludes the New York Times in its statistic-laden lead. A study concludes that black men aged 16 to 24 are working in greater numbers, earning more, and closing the pay gap that peaked in the early '90s. African-American men are gaining marketable skills, transferable experience, and contacts that will help them to cope even if the miracle economy falters.

The Los Angeles Times leads with the alarming surge in the number of kids being shunted into special ed in the city school district.

In a NYT op-ed, President Clinton attempts to shore up support for the air war in Kosovo. He claims that the present strategy is working and has the "best chance" of securing NATO's goals. Milosevic is to blame for ethnic cleansing, not ancient hatreds. Had NATO faltered, the conflict would have spilled over to the fragile surrounding democracies, resulting in a "moral and strategic disaster."

In approving a proposal to send in 50,000 peacekeeping troops to the region the NYT says that the administration was "hoping to deflect political pressure" to send in combat troops. The front-page overview, titled "TIME RUNNING OUT FOR NATO TO SEND FORCES TO KOSOVO" deflates those hopes. Deadly mistakes and compassion fatigue threaten to erode alliance support. For an invasion force to bring the war to an end before winter takes its toll on the refugees, complex logistical questions--including which units to send, which reserves to mobilize, and how to armor the troops--must be settled.

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The air war reached a new level of intensity with 684 sorties flown, according to a LAT front-pager. NATO bombed a military barracks commandeered by the KLA weeks ago. Seven fighters were killed and 25 injured. NATO also struck a prison that it claimed was part of a military installation and caused fatalities among the ethnic Albanian inmates.

The Post reports late-breaking news that 500 ethnic Albanian men, captured by the Serbs and presumed to be dead by their families, were among the refugees exiting Kosovo in the first mass expulsion after an eight-day lull.

The LAT fronts an analysis of the politics of gun control, concluding that because of the "widening gulf" between the positions of presidential hopefuls the issue is likely to be flogged by both parties. While Vice President Gore cast the deciding vote for the gun control background check requirement, Gov. George W. Bush "embraced the gun lobby's top state-level priority" by announcing his support for legislation barring cities from suing gun manufacturers. The NYT says a "third way" may be forming in the gun control debate. The Democrats succeeded in framing the issue as one of child safety.

The Post says that gun control advocates compromised by temporarily setting aside the bulk of their agenda and enacting a requirement that records identifying gun purchasers be expunged within 90 days. The paper also points to a large bore loophole, which allows unregulated sales by private parties outside of gun shows--thus a private dealer can display a firearm inside and sell it in the parking lot without performing a background check.

The NYT fronts an article on the soon to be released Cox report, concluding that the report by the dogged nonpartisan committee is likely to "reshape the Clinton Administration's commercial diplomacy toward China." In light of the many previews of the Cox report, you might be surprised to read that the committee "agreed not to divulge their explosive findings." The conundrum is resolved if you follow the jump from the front page to the middle of the piece, where the Times explains: "They did not leak until after its report was completed. The report will be released on Tuesday, concluding a masterful roll-out by the committee members and their reporters of choice. The Cox hype approaches Phantom Menace proportions and will no doubt be as bedeviled by high expectations it has set for itself, if administration mouthpieces have anything to do with it.

According to the NYT visitors to France can look forward to a quintessential experience this summer. French workers have planned a strike to coincide with the tourist season. Last year the French welcomed World Cup visitors with a airline strike. This year workers have shut down the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay to demand that the Culture Ministry create at least 1,000 new jobs. Visitors to Louvre may now mill around the museum and pick up free pamphlets from striking workers.