Interpreting Shadows: Arms Control and Defense Planning in a Rapidly Changing Multi-Polar World   [open html - 409KB]

The focus of arms control is changing. It now deals with issues affecting all nations and not just the super powers. The policy options available to counter proliferation span responsibilities in different American agencies. A cohesive arms control effort will require greater interagency cooperation, because it will involve both inherently political and military issues. In reviewing current policy options some key findings emerge. First, the United States needs to develop closer relationships with countries that will have an impact on key regions. Key considerations in building these relationships are that the country has a similar government, an open economy, a professional military, and adequate infrastructure to support joint military exercises. Second, deterrence is still required, but nuclear deterrence by the United States is no longer credible and can be counterproductive to non-proliferation. The result is that conventional deterrence as the primary method of deterrence needs to be developed and demonstrated. Additionally, because of their quick deployment and long-range precision-strike capabilities, the role of the Air Force will probably increase in scenarios with regional powers possessing weapons of mass destruction. Third, economic sanctions are ineffective and hurt the population and not the leaders they are targeted against. There may be situations where multilateral sanctions would be appropriate; however, the United States should discontinue implementing unilateral economic sanctions. Fourth, export controls have been used to limit proliferation and support the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, more can be done to limit the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons through unilateral and multilateral export controls. Fifth, military assistance, when provided, needs to focus more on infrastructure development and deal less with weapon system sales. Building a nation's infrastructure has the dual purpose of aiding their economy and facilitating joint military exercises. Finally, confidence-building measures need to be pursued with more than lip service, because for confidence-building measures to succeed takes as much work as other options discussed.

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INSS Occasional Paper 26
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