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14. Arms control in the new security environment



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While bilateral
and multilateral treaties cannot carry the full weight of managing
international security problems, arms control continued to play
an important role as one instrument of security policy in 2002.
Public statements by major powers—including the USA—confirmed
their belief that other approaches cannot substitute for certain
features of multilateral arms control.

While a lack
of political agreement over the priority to be given to different
threats, risks and challenges is a barrier to further progress
in many areas of arms control, there is a growing awareness of
the need to take further action to ensure compliance with existing
agreements and address identified cases of non-compliance. Recent
developments suggest that the issue area in which political agreement
can be reached among the widest circle of states is around the
proposition that nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons
should not spread to new states or to any non-state actor.

The recognized
need to give higher priority to addressing treaty compliance
and proliferation concerns has led to a wide range of initiatives
of different types. While the essence of arms control remains
constant—self-restraint either with regard to national military
capacities or with regard to decisions, such as the denial of
authorization to export, that could support military capacities
in other countries—events in 2002 underlined that this objective
is being sought through at least four distinct, complementary
but non-hierarchical approaches.

First, many
different activities are continuing to take place in the framework
of multilateral and bilateral arms control treaties and arrangements.
These treaties and arrangements—the scope of which include
NBC and conventional weapons as well as many types of missiles—continue
to provide a central element of the framework for overall efforts
to control armaments and military capacities.

Second, certain
country-specific approaches have been developed that combine
different political, legal, economic and military instruments
to achieve disarmament. The United Nations Security Council continued
to be directly engaged in efforts to eliminate weapons of mass
destruction and prohibit ballistic missiles in Iraq. In Resolution
1441 the Security Council took a number of decisions unanimously
and warned Iraq that it would face ‘serious consequences
as a result of its continued violations of its obligations’.
At the end of 2002 a number of countries, principally the USA
and the UK, prepared for military action against Iraq to add
credibility to the decisions contained in Resolution 1441.

Third, in
June 2002, the leaders of the Group of Eight formed a Global
Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass
Destruction to provide material, technological and financial
assistance to states (in the first instance the Russian Federation)
that lack the means to implement shared disarmament, non-proliferation
and counter-terrorism objectives.

Fourth, the
states that participate in multilateral export control cooperation
continued to develop common standards implemented through national
laws and regulations. Some states that do not participate in
such arrangements (such as China) made important changes to their
national export control systems.

Taken together,
these activities, in each of which the role of the USA has been
prominent, can be characterized as order-building diplomacy carried
out among groups with relevant membership. This approach, which
has been described as ‘effective multilateralism’,
best balances current needs and realities within the international

Ian Anthony

(United Kingdom) is SIPRI Research Coordinator and the Leader
of the SIPRI Internet Database on European Export Controls Project.
In 1992–98 he was Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Project.
His most recent publication for SIPRI is A Future Arms Control
Agenda: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 118, 1999 (2001), for
which he is co-editor (with Adam Daniel Rotfeld). He is also
editor of the SIPRI volumes Russia and the Arms Trade (1998),
Arms Export Regulations (1991) and SIPRI Research Report no.
7, The Future of Defence Industries in Central and Eastern Europe
(1994), and author of The Naval Arms Trade (SIPRI, 1990) and
The Arms Trade and Medium Powers: Case Studies of India and Pakistan
1947–90 (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). He has written or
co-authored chapters for the SIPRI Yearbook since 1988.