As the world waits anxiously to see if the looming threat of nuclear-armed war in South Asia will be averted, our editorial considers the dangerous assumptions and double standards that characterise nuclear weapon possession. The India-Pakistan security breakdown also features prominently in the News Review, together with the signing of the controversially thin Moscow Treaty on US-Russian strategic nuclear reductions.
A new technology with potentially devastating military and terrorist uses is explored by Disarmament Diplomacy editor Sean Howard, who assesses the security implications of nanotechnology, the rapidly-evolving science of atomic-scale engineering, and urges urgent consideration of arms control responses, sketching possible options for discussion.
Two aspects of the struggle for chemical and biological (CBW) disarmament are considered in guest contributions from scholars at the Harvard Sussex Program on CBW Armament and Arms Limitation. Daniel Feakes explores the growing role and influence of the European Union (EU) in multilateral discussions on strengthening the existing regimes. Pamela Mills examines the potential for increasing Middle East participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), arguing that progress in this regard is crucial both for the CWC as a whole and in helping to advance prospects for peace in the region.
The News Review also features initiatives to confront the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism; intensifying diplomatic efforts to restart weapons inspections in Iraq; continuing delay in resuming US-North Korea talks; US and British proposals on bioweapons and the BWC, and further developments following the upheavals in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
We regret that several errors appeared in last issue's News Review item, 'US Diplomatic Offensive Removes OPCW Director-General'. The vote to dismiss the Director-General was given as 48 in favour, 6 against and 43 abstentions - this should have read 7 votes against, with Belarus added to the six states named. John Gee of Australia was identified as the OPCW's Deputy Director, rather than Deputy Director-General. In paragraph 6, it was stated that a motion of no-confidence in the Director-General was carried by the OPCW Executive Council on March 28 by 17 votes to 5 with 18 abstentions. Though the numbers are correct, this fell short of the two-thirds majority of all Council members required to carry a motion. The editor is grateful to readers, particularly Pamela Mills, for clarification provided.
© 2002 The Acronym Institute.