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Arms Control after Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges [Paperback]

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Item description for Arms Control after Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges by United Nations University...

The stated reason for invading Iraq was its alleged clandestine pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in defiance of UN resolutions. Even though the allegation was proven false, the international community remains preoccupied with the threat of the proliferation and use of such terrible weapons. This has three interlinked components: non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. Some countries, from within the shelter of the NPT, could either develop a full-fledged weapons capability, covertly and illegally, or else acquire all the materials and expertise needed for a weapons programme and withdraw from the treaty when they are ready to proceed with weaponization.

There is good reason to fear the erosion and possible collapse of the whole NPT regime over the longer term: treaties already negotiated and signed could unravel through non-ratification or breakouts; the testing of nuclear weapons could be resumed; and there is a lengthening list of proliferation-sensitive countries of concern. Both the 2004 NPT Review Conference and the UN World Summit in 2005 failed to address the urgent challenge of arms control.

The questions discussed in this book include doctrinal issues regarding the use of force in general; the implications of a shift in the utility of nuclear weapons from deterrence to compellence and of a focus on non-proliferation to the neglect of disarmament; the place and role of the United Nations in controlling the spread and use of WMD; the regional dynamics of proliferation concerns in North-east Asia and the Middle East; the policy drivers of the NPT and extra-NPT nuclear powers; and the threats posed by the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons and missiles by non-state actors.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: United Nations University
Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 15, 2006
Publisher   United Nations University Press
ISBN  9280811312  
ISBN13  9789280811315  

Availability  1 units.
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1Books > Subjects > History > Military > Weapons & Warfare > Nuclear
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Arms Control
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics

Reviews - What do customers think about Arms Control after Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges?

arms control policy in the eyes of the UN  Sep 26, 2008
The Anglo-American attack on Iraq was motivated by the need to remove all of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This marked a new approach in dealing with WMD proliferation. In their compilation "Arms Control after Iraq", editors Waheguru Sidhu and Ramesh Thakur offer a clear view on the changed international fight against such weapons.

A trend away from non-proliferation based on deterrence is happening after the Cold War and the 9/11 attack. The more active, coercive based regime uses compellence rather than persuasion. The US is criticized for using force too eagerly and for working outside the framework of international treaties and organisations. The US operates with "coalitions of the willing" and speaks about "goats and sheep". This bypasses the neutrality of the UN. Some nations might even want to get nuclear arms to deter the US from attacking them. The coalitions of the willing may have success on short term, but on long term such actions outside the UN framework hollow out international institutions and increase the incentive to obtain nuclear arms.

The Security Council had instituted two inspection bodies to remove all WMDs from Iraq. The first one, UNSCOM, was criticized for having ties too close to American intelligence services. Its successor, UNMOVIC, was more capable, more independent and disposed of more technical expertise. The first three months of operation went very smooth, but the mission was unexpectedly ended by the Anglo-American invasion. Was the US/UK led aggression against Iraq premature? The attack was questionable from the start - no explicit consent of the Security Council was given - and ultimately no WMDs were found. The national intelligence from Washington proved to be wrong. The war may have been prevented if UNMOVIC had been given time to fulfil its mission.

The role of the Security Council is central for guarding international peace and security. Its unity is essential to back up inspection agencies and acts against WMDs proliferation. The Council was successful in instituting the inspection agencies and economic sanctions in the case of Iraq. The Oil-for-Food program enabled Iraq to purchase foods, medicine and other essential civilian goods without using the oil revenues for rearmament. But the Oil-for-Food program was used by Iraq to reward members of the permanent five members (P5) who were friendlier to Iraq, causing further weakening of the support for the disarmament regime.

Differences between the P5 have consequences for other cases as well. North-Korea obtained nuclear weapons while under the protection of China's veto umbrella, and its decision to retreat from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was not challenged by the US, which agrees to the right to retreat from international treaties. Lack of unity also enabled Iran to escape sanctions and may lead to Iran's possession of nuclear arms.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime is threatened by the risk of erosion. Some nuclear weapon states (NWSs) are increasing their nuclear stockpile. A few NWSs are irresponsible and export technology and expertise in violation of international treaties. The break-down of the Soviet Union poses another danger. These developments could lead to non-state actors such as terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons.

Another threat to the NPT is the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude of nuclear weapons states. Why is it that some states are allowed nuclear weapons while others are denied their possession? For example, the US is researching the use of tactical nuclear weapons such as bunker busters. The ban on the use of WMDs is mainly normative, and increasing one's nuclear arsenal shows no normative leadership. Ultimately, a disarmament decision would never be taken in isolation: the nuclear states should to set an example, make an effort to reduce their own stockpile of nuclear arms and be willing to invest more energy in a regime that prevents proliferation. Chemical and biological weapons are universally banned, and so should nuclear weapons.

Other topics discussed in the book are missile proliferation, the changing nature of war in the international theatre, the role of intelligence, how non-state actors could use nuclear materials, and possible changes in the functioning of international organisations to reduce the proliferation of WMDs. A large part of the book is dedicated to regional perspectives. Some parts of the book overlap each other as the multiple authors write on related subjects.

Is the view offered in the book objective? The book is published by the United Nations University Press. One of the editors, Ramesh Thakur, is an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. Although the importance of the US is acknowledged, it is clear that the authors are critical towards the US policy in respect to international organisations and WMDs proliferation. This comes as no surprise since the US has often made clear to operate outside UN frameworks if necessary.

A long-term vision of peace, security and international cooperation is laid out in which WMDs are controlled and eventually banned from the earth. This long-term vision is contrasted with the short-term thinking of some current members of the Security Council, notably the US. It remains to be seen which approach serves world peace best. The long-term view of the authors is normative and sometimes a bit idealistic. On the other hand, much of the criticism towards national agendas makes sense. The war in Iraq did need a replacement justification after Powell's WMDs were not found.

No mention is made of precision weapons and surgical operations. The last decade has seen much improvement in this field. The resulting decrease in collateral damage, and how this effects the calculation to move from persuasion to coercion, would make an interesting normative discussion that is not explored in this book. Lastly, chemical, biological and conventional arms control is given little attention.

Should you read the book? Readers who are interested in arms control and the role of international organisations therein should. Although the authors have a slightly internationalist perspective, they offer a variety of views and insights based on current trends. The structured organization of the compilation enables the reader to find quickly backgrounds about those topics that are of interest to him.

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