Submission from Dr Dan Plesch, Director,
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, School of Oriental
and African Studies
Policy on nuclear and other WMD non-proliferation,
arms control, and disarmament should be integrated with strategy
on conventional weapons to implement a holistic approach within
a new Strategic Concept for the Regulation of Arms Possession
Existing agreements on non-proliferation,
arms control, and disarmament should be viewed as platforms for
expansion rather than relics in need of repair.
The NPT regime faces an uncertain
future and the importance of the 2010 meeting hinges on all
states parties (and those 3 outside) working cooperatively
to address the issue of nuclear weapons and civil energy in the
context of global and regional security needs.
Non-proliferation policy has produced
useful innovations in law-based approaches but needs to be reconnected
to the strategy of security through effective and verifiable agreements.
1. The UK Government initiatives on nuclear
disarmament, WMD, cluster munitions and the Arms Trade Treaty
show a significant commitment across the spectrum of the non-proliferation
and disarmament agenda. It has been noted before that WMD disarmament
and non-proliferation are two sides of the same coin. Similarly,
while there is no linkage between conventional and WMD control
strategies there is much to be gained to developing them in a
mutually reinforcing manner. There are now latent and converging
interests in addressing major conventional weapons holdings and
proliferation as well as WMD. Globally, the core constituency
actively pursuing nuclear and WMD non-proliferation and disarmament
can usefully combine with the broader coalitions interested in
controls on conventional armaments.
2. President-elect Obama's public commitment
to a world with no nuclear weapons is the first time that an American
President has been elected with such an explicit commitment to
disarmament; with far less public attention Russia appears to
have made a range of proposals on security and disarmament. Barack
Obama has given support to issues such as removing nuclear weapons
from hair-trigger alert that have not been accepted by the Department
of Defence despite decades of pressure from the NGOs. The international
challenge is to ensure that initiatives such as this, helped by
former senior officials, are not a false dawn similar to the rejection
of nuclear weapons by General Butler and others in the mid-1990s.
Much of the outcome will depend on internal U.S. dynamics. However
a nuclear-only approach will need to be complemented by a broader
approach to security so that nuclear-only initiatives do not founder
on a lack of integration with wider issues, not least in the Middle
3. There are a number of convergent global
issues and interests that favour the development of a global approach
to the regulation of the possession and proliferation of major
conventional weapons. These include:
(1) nuclear and other WMD disarmament requires
attention to regional security issues that include a conventional
(2) holdings and production of conventional arms
in general are emerging as an issue in debates on the Arms Trade
Treaty and on weapons systems or categories under SALW and Cluster
(3) some states see progress on "General
and Complete Disarmament" as linked to nuclear disarmament
in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)and
globalisation of some provisions of the CFE/CSBMs and Open Skies
offer a means of realising this NPT provision rather than regarding
it as an obstacle to progress on nuclear disarmament.
(4) Recession driven defence cuts in the shorter
term will provide strains on U.S. international commitments that
regional agreements may ameliorate.
(5) An major expansion of effective arms control
is an effective preventive measure to the well-known conflict
pressures arising from international economic slump.
(6) The European agreements on Conventional Armed
Forces in Europe (CFE) and the associated Confidence- and Security-Building
Measures (CSBMs) and Open Skies regime provide a strong and unprecedented
institutional platform for expansion that should not be allowed
to collapse through NATO-Russia disputes.
FROM START TO
4. The next NPT meeting is scheduled for
2010 and much needs to be done to avoid the problems of 2005.
The international community's earlier breakthroughs are again
an inspiration here: for the long-standing legal commitment (embodied
in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty ) to "general
disarmament" of all weapons save those needed for internal
policing is actually in sight. Just as the acronym START (Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty) denotes the nuclear-arms talks leading
to the treaties of 1991 and 1993, today's equivalent could
be SCRAPA Strategic Concept for Regulation of Arms Possession
5. In 1989, NATO and the Warsaw Pact began
talks on arms reductions: by 1991 they had signed a treaty
that saw 52,000 of their tanks, warplanes, artillery guns
and helicopters destroyed. Ronald Reagan reached agreements with
Mikhail Gorbachev that led to many thousands of nuclear missiles
going the same way. More than 20,000 nuclear warheads have
been dismantled, leaving some 30,000 intact. In this same
period, near-universal agreements banned chemical weapons and
the test-firing of nuclear weapons; as a result, global test-firings
since 1996 have been reduced almost to zero (previously the
US and the Soviet Union had been firing off hundreds a year).
6. The continuation of the Nunn-Lugar programme
and recent initiatives to revive the FMCT talks are positive signs.
Useful innovations in practicalincluding non-violentmethods
of controlling dangerous commodities including nuclear materials,
for example in transport and logistics, have come gradually as
the disarmament and arms control mainstream has both dwindled
and split. The novel legislative approach embodied in UNSCR 1540 is
certainly a step in the right direction in the battle on illicit
WMD transfers but it has suffered through problems of implementation
at the state level. Efforts to create new initiatives for example
on the "illicit trade" in small arms and light weapons
are floundering on narrow conceptions of security sector reform
(SSR) and the international rule of law.
7. With respect to conventional arms, the
overwhelming vote in the General Assembly for a coordinated UN
process to consider the feasibility, scope and parameters of a
global Arms Trade Treaty reflects an increased international concern
in arms control debates with humanitarian, human rights and development
standards and impacts. However, to achieve these ends, this concern
needs to also be directed at initiatives to reduce holdings of
major weapons systems, ordnance stocks and production, and not
only to the control of the conventional weapons trade. Moreover,
the parallel surge of interest by the international donor community,
reflected in the OECD Development Assistance Committee, in using
such standards to measure the success of security sector reform
requires the development of an integrated, risk-based approach
to equipment and weaponry, and hence to disarmament, in the re-shaping
of military, security and policing institutionsone without
the other will not deliver sustained security.
8. What is needed is not to set aside the
useful aspects of the new, piecemeal approach towards proliferation
but to reunite them with a renewed "classical" process
based on strategies towards disarmament and the use of treaty
and rule of law methodswith the associated principles of
equity, objectivity, universality and transparency. This new combination
could achieve a more rational division of labour and subsidiarity.
Such an approach should fill dangerous gaps in the pattern of
coverage and effort, and minimise the double-think and double
standards that are rife in current policies and practices.
A REALISTIC PROSPECT
9. Much can be done to advance a Strategic
Concept for the Regulations of Arms Possession and Proliferation-
including setting deadlines to conclude negotiations and implement
agreements. It took just eighteen months to overcome the ideological
and technological issues governing the cold-war armies. Today,
with this precedent as a guide and no ideological barrier comparable
to the confrontation with communism, a "general disarmament
agreement" could be scheduled within two years of the talks
starting. The basis for a global-disarmament compact is provided
by current agreements. There have been arguments for and against
timetables. One notable success was the 1996 CTBT, agreed
by a date set at the 1995 NPT meeting. For public opinion
used to target dates for climate change and the Millennium Development
Goalsdisarmament targets are an obvious next step.
10. A way ahead is to adapt procedures that
have worked in the past rather than engage in developing a new
set. The "best practice" here lies in the UNMOVIC work
in Iraq and in the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA). UN inspectors should have access to the permanent members
of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom
and the United States) as well as to the "smaller" nuclear
powers (India, Pakistan and Israel). These procedures will also
be effective in restricting terrorist access to nuclear technology;
and they can be adapted to work with biological and chemical weapons.
11. In practice, the Start and intermediate
nuclear force (INF) agreements of the Reagan-Gorbachev era should
be extended to all states, and include missile defence and Star
Wars systems. The European agreements reducing and regulating
tanks, artillery, helicopters and war planes should also be globalised
and include naval vessels. Most of the technical work has already
been done for all these agreements; implementation could be as
swift as in the most effective existing agreements. 75% of all
stocks would be verifiably "Scrap'd" in two years; the
remaining quarter would be cut again by 75% in the next two years;
until, after a decade, they are all gone.
12. An international coalition must build
upon the important precedents set by the Canberra Commission,
the Blix Commission, governmental initiatives by the likes of
Norway, Germany and the UK, and non-governmental reports from
BASIC to Amnesty across the spectrum of human security. The bonus
for citizens in every country, taxpayers, the poor and the global
economy as a whole would be immense.
13. The following paragraphs are an adaptation
of the informal proposal to globalise the INF Treaty made by a
number of States to the UN Conference on Disarmament in November
2007. It extends it to include other major agreements made at
the end of the Cold War and include sea-launched systems. It is
designed to complement both the recent proposals on security suggested
by Russia and by Barack Obama.
14. "Basic elements of an international
legally-binding arrangement on the elimination of strategic, intermediate-range,
shorter-range and short range missiles; verification of nuclear
weapon manufacturing and stockpiles; verification of biological
disarmament and verification of conventional armed forces holdings
and manufacture, open for broad international accession"
The States Parties to this Arrangement,
Guided by the objective of strengthening
strategic stability both globally and regionally, Convinced
that the measures set forth in this Arrangement will help
to reduce the risk of outbreak of war and strengthen international
peace and security,
Determined to act with a view
to achieving effective progress towards general and complete disarmament
under strict international control,
Desiring to contribute to the realization
of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Have agreed as follows:
16. Article I
1. Each State Party to this Arrangement upon
entry into force of this Arrangement and thereafter shall not
produce or flight-test any strategic, intermediate-range and shorter-range
missiles or produce any stages of such missiles or any launchers
of such missiles.
2. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
eliminate all its strategic-range, intermediate-range and shorter-range
and short-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, as well
as all support structures and equipment associated with such missiles
and launchers, being in its possession or ownership, or being
located in any site or on any vessel under its jurisdiction or
control, under categories subject to an agreement, so that no
later than the agreed date after entry into force of this Arrangement
and thereafter no such missiles, launchers or support structures
and equipment shall be possessed by each State Party.
3. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
permit inspections on its territory consistent with the provisions
developed by UNMOVIC with respect to nuclear and biological weapons
and carry out the verified elimination of such weapons and supporting
technologies and infrastructure according to a timetable agreed.
4. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
not produce or test any weapon system of category types described
in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty regardless of
whether they are fitted to land, air or sea systems.
5. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
provide data to other States Parties to this Arrangement concerning
weapon systems of all category types within the CFE Treaty whether
operated from land or at sea.
6. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
adhere to the Open Skies Treaty.
7. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall
adhere to the Vienna Confidence and Security Building Measures
developed by the OSCE.
17. Article II
Rules of Accounting and Definitions of Types
of Weapons systems
Provisions for Rules of Accounting and Definitions
of Types weapons and supporting technologies are subject to an
agreement pursuant to the adapted provisions of START, INF, UNMOVIC,
18. Article III
Limitations on numbers of weapons and supporting
technologies are subject to an agreement,
19. Article IV
Exchange of an Information Related to the Obligations
Provisions for exchange of an information under
categories of data, related to the obligations provided for by
this Arrangement, are subject to an agreement pursuant to the
provisions of START, INF, UNMOVIC, CFE, CSBMs and drawing on the
20. Article V
Each State Party to this Arrangement shall eliminate
all its strategic, intermediate-range, shorter-range, and short
range missiles and launchers of such missiles, and all support
structures and support equipment associated with such missiles
and launchers in accordance with the procedures which are subject
to an agreement. Each State Party to this Arrangement shall reduce
the other categories of weapon systems and supporting equipment
and manufacturing capability subject to agreement.
21. Article VI
Rules of Compliance Verification
Rules of compliance verification are subject
to an agreement.
22. Article VII
Definitions shall draw on the relevant paragraphs
of the treaties listed herein.
23. Article VIII
The Organization for Implementation of the Arrangement
The States Parties to this Arrangement shall
come to an agreement about mechanism of implementation of the
subject and the objective of this Arrangement.
24. Article IX
Duration of the Arrangement
This Arrangement shall be of unlimited duration.
25. Article X
Amendments, Signature, Accession, Ratification,
Entry into Force, Reservations, Depositary, Authentic Texts.
Amendments, signature, accession, ratification,
entry into force, reservations, depositary, authentic texts are
subject to an agreement.
30 November 2008