Arms control in crisis?
Arms control appears to be in a state of crisis. This Clingendael Spectator dossier compiles nine analyses which were previously published as episodes in a series on the different dimensions of this global challenge.
THE CRISIS IN ARMS CONTROL: WHAT CRISIS?
This introductory episode provides an oversight of the most important recent developments in arms control. What crisis are we exactly talking about?
NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL: THE END OF AN ERA?
In the second episode: the return of nuclear weapons in international politics. Investments in arsenals have increased, rhetoric on nuclear weapons returned and arms control agreements are in trouble. Is nuclear war becoming an actual option?
ARE CONVENTIONAL ARMS CONTROL TREATIES ALL DEAD LETTERS?
Arms control is often associated with weapons of mass destruction. Yet all current armed conflicts are fought with conventional weaponry. Third stop: are conventional arms control treaties all dead letters, or can Europe’s sleeping beauties be brought back to life?
ARMS CONTROL IN IRAN: PREVENTING A FULL-BLOWN NUCLEAR CRISIS
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) has eroded to a point where the return of the crisis seems imminent. The fourth episode highlights the continuing importance of the JCPOA for both nuclear non-proliferation and regional security. Worst-case scenarios can be avoided as there is still a chance to prevent a relapse to a full-blown nuclear crisis.
THE OPCW AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS: TOWARDS CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
The Chemical Weapons Convention is widely recognised as the most successful multilateral disarmament instrument. Yet, recent developments (especially in Syria) show that the prevention of chemical attacks and the prosecution of perpetrators remains highly complex. The fifth episode analyses how the OPCW can maintain the Convention effectively in the face of political contestation.
LIABILITY OR ASSET? THE EU AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS
With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and increased uncertainty about Washington’s security commitments, EU nuclear deterrence has reappeared on the political agenda. The sixth episode considers the prospects for such a proposal. Does the EU need its own nuclear deterrent? And what would be the implications for the EU and its role in global affairs?
THE END OF NEW START: THE START OF A NEW BEGINNING?
At present there is only one treaty in force that limits nuclear arsenals. That treaty, New START, limits the strategic arsenals of the United States and the Russian Federation. According to New START inspectors, the Treaty works well and according to Russia it is the “gold standard” in arms control. This 7th analyses new approaches, now that treaty comes to the end of its 10-year run in February 2021. Should we be concerned?
THE INDIA-PAKISTAN NUCLEAR IMBROGLIO: WHAT WAY FORWARD?
India and Pakistan, two of the most belligerent countries in the world, are among the few states to possess nuclear weapons. Episode 8 shows how ‘peace through deterrence’ seems no longer feasible in the current state of affairs. There is a crucial role to play for the international community in stimulating bilateral talks, while the two countries can rebuild trust by strengthening cooperation on non-nuclear issues.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ARMAMENT: RETHINKING ARMS CONTROL
New technologies give rise to previously unconsidered scenarios in arms control. In the final episode, Sibylle Bauer explains how technological developments blur traditional categories of weaponry and reduce the time window for human decision making – arguably creating an ‘illusion of human control’. Confidence building and strategic empathy, along with decompartmentalising arms control agendas, will be key to finding a way forward.
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