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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 23, February 1998

Editor's Introduction

On 2 February, the State of the World Forum released a statement, signed by over 100 current and former political leaders from nearly 50 States, calling for immediate, major changes to nuclear policy and the abolition of nuclear weapons as soon as practicable. In February's Opinion and Analysis section, Senator Alan Cranston, the Chair of the State of the World Forum, assesses the potential importance of the statement and appeals for further signatures.

The issue features two other guest contributions. Professor Rut Diamint of Buenos Aires University casts a critical eye over the recent decision by the United States to resume sales of advanced weapons to Latin America. From the Brookings Institution in the US, Stephen I. Schwartz considers current American policy with regard to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Schwartz concludes that that policy is disturbingly inadequate, and that "ending reliance on nuclear weapons and creating usable offensive and defensive strategies will do more to strengthen US and world security than being able to rattle the increasingly anachronistic nuclear sword."

In Geneva Update, Rebecca Johnson reviews February's proceedings at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). By the end of the month, a programme of work for 1998 had still not been agreed, a lack of progress attributed chiefly by Johnson to the intransigence and lack of leadership of a few States.

Documents and Sources features a remarkable denunciation of nuclear deterrence by General Lee Butler, former commander of US strategic nuclear forces; the war-averting memorandum-of-understanding between Iraq and the United Nations; consideration of a draft convention of nuclear terrorism at the UN; US comments on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC); and an interview on NATO expansion with Vladimir Lukin, Chair of the Duma's International Affairs Committee.

News Review is dominated again by the crisis in relations between Iraq and the United Nations. It also features coverage of nuclear disarmament debates in Russia, controversy over Russian and Ukrainian cooperation with Iran, the Indian General Election campaign, details of the US Defense Budget request for 1999, and a US-Japan agreement on Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) cooperation.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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