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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 30, September 1998

Editor's Introduction

Editor's Introduction

This month's three guest contributions each address the issue of how best to advance the twin causes of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament in the wake of recent setbacks, and in the face of the continuing obduracy and conservatism of the nuclear-weapon States. From the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Joseph Cirincione focuses on a major negative factor in the current arms control equation: the "paralysis" of US non-proliferation policy, resulting "from three factors: the political paralysis of the Clinton Presidency; the power of the conservative Republican leadership to set the national security agenda; and the cautious, minimalist threat reduction approach pursued by Administration officials." From the Henry L. Stimson Center, Cathleen Fisher argues that reports of the death of arms control - an abyss contemplated in the last issue by Harald Müller - may be greatly exaggerated. However, Fisher argues that new thinking is urgently required to avoid such a disaster: "recent challenges to the non-proliferation regime are yet another reminder that the problems of the messy post-post Cold War world will demand new tools and approaches." Anti-nuclear activist Angie Zelter argues the importance of direct citizen protest, an ingredient of disarmament missing from the State-centric panoply of treaties and regimes. Focusing on the implications of the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice for the UK's deployment of its Trident system, Zelter argues "that no State has the right, moral or legal, to become or remain a nuclear-weapon State," and that "if Governments refuse to adopt a course of nuclear disarmament, it is the moral and legal duty of citizens to protest against, and disrupt where possible, nuclear-weapons business-as-usual..."

Documents and Sources includes material from the UN General Assembly General Debate; the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency; a ministerial meeting to discuss a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention; and the 40th ratification of the Ottawa Convention, enabling the Convention's entry into force in March next year.

News Review includes coverage of President Clinton's decision not to visit India and Pakistan in November; another subcritical nuclear test by the US; signs of hope in US-North Korean relations; deepening despondency surrounding Iraq-UN relations; growing controversy in the US over the bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan; and a downward revision by the US State Department of the scale of the task of global demining.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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