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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 29, August - September 1998

Editor's Introduction

The latest issue of Disarmament Diplomacy features three guest contributions. In a powerful and comprehensive survey, Harald Müller, the Director of the Frankfurt Peace Research Institute, considers the ways in which May's nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have "changed the parameters of world politics, and in particular those of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, fundamentally." The tests, he argues, "are as significant as the fall of the Berlin Wall nine years ago. Unfortunately, they point us in the opposite direction: away from cooperation, arms control and disarmament, towards confrontation, arms racing and, eventually, nuclear war." Journalist Sandra Glass reports from Vienna on the intensive deliberations of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). From Bradford University's Department of Peace Studies, Shaun Gregory considers the merits of the French system of defence planning, pointing to numerous strengths and one "glaring weakness": the "constitutional centralisation of…policy in Presidential hands," a situation which Gregory describes as "anachronistic and unworthy of a State with profoundly democratic traditions."

The 1998 Session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) closed in Geneva in early September: developments in the Session's final weeks - including important progress paving the way for negotiations on a Fissile Materials Treaty (FMT) in 1999 - are summarised in Rebecca Johnson's Geneva Update. Johnson also looks back on the Session as a whole, one which contained many "frustrations and disappointments", although managing to achieve progress by the end.

Documents and Sources includes coverage of three summit meetings - of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin; CD statements from India and Pakistan; the latest appeal for a nuclear-weapon-free world from prominent figures including Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev; and extensive extracts from a major new statement on defence policy from China.

News Review includes coverage of mounting public protests against the May nuclear tests; US military strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan; two reported ballistic missile tests, by Iran and North Korea; the latest attempt by Congress to distance the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; and the latest, grim breakdown in relations between Iraq and the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM).

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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