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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 66, September 2002

Editor's Introduction

September's issue marks the anniversary of the horror and devastation of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In her editorial, Rebecca Johnson reflects on the need to learn different kinds of lessons about power and violence in the era of asymmetric warfare and terrorism, including the need to prevent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from falling into the wrong hands, wherever the wrong hands may be.

The risk of WMD-use permeates the rest of the issue. From India, disarmament advocate and author Achin Vanaik argues for urgent diplomatic efforts to prevent a combination of nuclear crisis and complacency in South Asia pushing the region into disaster. From the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Jonathan Tucker makes a powerful case for prompt negotiation of a Biosecurity Convention to minimise the growing risks of bioterrorism. The potentially catastrophic consequences of space weaponisation are explored by Philip Coyle, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, and John Rhinelander, Vice Chair of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS).

The 57th anniversary of the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sets the sombre tone for a wide-ranging News Review. In addition to summarising developments related to the themes of our three guest papers - the India-Pakistan standoff, discussion of a space weapons treaty, and new concerns over bioterror - the Review includes coverage of the furious debate surrounding the permanent crisis in UN-Iraq relations; the divergent reactions of the US and Russia to the formal demise of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; an apparent, tentative breakthrough in US-North Korea relations, opening the prospect of renewed nuclear and missile discussions; continuing US accusations of proliferation-friendly policies and actions by both Russia and China; the release of a report from the US National Academy of Sciences strongly lauding the virtues of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); a flurry of international activity responding to the multiple dangers of WMD-terrorism, including the adoption of a $20 billion non-proliferation programme by the G-8; the appointment of a new Director-General for the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); and the decision by the world's most heavily-mined state, Afghanistan, to join the Ottawa Landmines Convention.

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© 2002 The Acronym Institute.