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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 54, February 2001

Editor's Introduction

February's edition features conflicting assessments of the desirability and prospects for effective command and control of nuclear weapons in South Asia. From Bradford University's Department of Peace Studies, Dr. Shaun Gregory, while acknowledging that the issue presents formidable challenges, argues that "evidence from the region suggests that these requirements can be met and that many are presently in the process of being met on both sides." Replying directly to Dr. Gregory's paper, Admiral L. Ramdas, former Chief of Staff of the Indian Navy, paints a much less sanguine picture, arguing that "no matter how well structured" the command-and-control systems of any nuclear-armed state might be, they can never hope to "attain the mythical state of 'stable deterrence'." In this month's other guest contributions, Dr. Mark Smith, from the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies at the University of Southampton, details evolving efforts to tackle the proliferation of ballistic missiles; Dr. A.H. Joffe, Director of the West Asia Environmental Security Project, highlights the need to address the environmental consequences of producing weapons of mass destruction; and Disarmament Diplomacy editor Dr. Sean Howard critically evaluates NATO's recent arms control review.

Jenni Rissanen contributes two reports: in Geneva Update, the obstacles continuing to block progress at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) are considered; in BWC Update, the latest developments in what appears to be a faltering race to prepare a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention are assessed.

Documents and Sources includes material from NATO meetings, US-UK arms control discussions, and controversial testimony from the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). News Review is dominated by two stories: US-UK airstrikes in Iraq, and the concerted effort of the Bush administration to persuade others of the merits of its missile defence plans and the redundancy of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in its current form.


Our Senior Analyst, Nicola Butler, is leaving the Acronym Institute to strike out on her own as an independent consultant. All of us at Acronym wish to thank Nicola for all her work, especially her valuable support for the journal and website, and wish her every success in her career. © 2001 The Acronym Institute.