29 April 2019
Dr Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies & Diplomacy, SOAS, has written an article for the European Leadership Network calling for tangible and verifiable measures to implement weapons control.
The article calls for a new approach to disarmament, as comprehensive as those adopted to mitigate the effects of climate change, and refutes the Trump Administration's argument that nuclear disarmament, and indeed disarmament in general, can only take place securely in times of harmony.
Reviewing the history of disarmament throughout the 1980's and 1990s, the piece argues that fear of losing control and the impact of public political processes resulted in the INF and START Treaties. In Europe, agreements to provide confidence in the exercise and deployment of armed forces came into place, and later in measures to limit equipment. From 1990, disarmament and arms control slipped further and further down the agenda.
Plesch states that we are witnessing the collapse of some of the remaining treaties until recently universally regarded as essential to international security. Regional crises and destabilising weapons developments crowd each other in news streams: North Korea, India and Pakistan, the South China Sea, Iran, Yemen, hypersonic missiles, cyber war and anti-satellite weapons.
The article calls for support for The SCRAP Treaty, which brings together best practice in weapons control and would revive and universalise the confidence and security building measures of the Open Skies and Stockholm Agreements, including naval, and drone technologies.
In closing, the piece restates the important connection between human rights and disarmament, noting how they have been integral in civil society and a number of states’ policies, and how today there is a growing global fear of self-destructive war.