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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 31, October 1998

Editor's Introduction

October's issue features contributions from two former senior US arms control officials, each addressing different aspects of the growing threat to international arms control efforts posed by missile proliferation and attempts to tackle the problem militarily rather than diplomatically. Jonathan Dean, adviser on international security issues to the Union of Concerned Scientists, sets out in detail the case for the development of a "step-by-step global system of controls on production, transfer and possession of missiles for military purposes." Acknowledging the ambitiousness of such a project, Dean argues that "failure to act will lead to increasingly dangerous missile anarchy and, possibly, to the collapse of the non-proliferation regime." Jack Mendelsohn, Distinguished Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Academy, stresses the central importance to that regime of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Examining and rejecting the claims of opponents of the treaty that it is irrelevant, anachronistic and will prevent the US from protecting itself against attack from 'rogue' States, Mendelsohn concludes: "The real threat to the US...is that, if this...attack on the ABM Treaty succeeds, by the millenium the entire nuclear arms reduction process may have fallen victim to an unjustifiable desire to deploy an extensive, expensive and needless national missile defense."

In the first of an occasional series of reports on disarmament issues in the British Parliament, Nicola Butler, senior analyst at the Acronym Institute, reflects on a debate on the Government's recent Strategic Defence Review, and reviews written answers from Ministers on the details of British nuclear posture and arms control strategy.

October's Documents and Sources is dominated by the General Debate at the UN's First Committee (Disarmament and International Security). The section also features material from a meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention Ad Hoc Group seeking to draw up a verification protocol to the treaty, and a Special Statement on the impasse in nuclear disarmament from the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

News Review includes coverage of remarks about Russian nuclear modernization and disarmament priorities by First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov; discussions between India and Pakistan on nuclear-weapons confidence-building measures; US Congressional approval of measures to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention; and the latest widening of the gulf between Iraq and the United Nations.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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