Arms Control Without Arms Control: The Failure of The Biological Weapons Convention Protocol and a New Paradigm for Fighting the Threat of Biological Weapons   [open pdf - 612KB]

After being terrorized by the October 2001 anthrax attacks..., it was anticipated that the United States would support a new protocol touted as a new compliance mechanism for strengthening the Biological Warfare Convention (BWC). However, in December 2001, the United States rejected the protocol as ineffective and fatally flawed. Backed by years of study and test inspections, the United States argued that traditional arms control approaches to biologically based substances can not work...Despite the rejection of the protocol, the United States and the rest of the world recognize the tremendous threat biological weapons pose to peace and international security. Despite the inability to craft effective verification measures, the prohibitory norm remains strong as evidenced by the fact that no country admits to developing or possessing biological weapons (BW). Still, there are a number of states and terrorist groups actively seeking to acquire and use these weapons. In recognition of the threat, the United States advocated moving beyond signing up to another ineffective arms control agreement and finding a new way to focus on a strengthened international commitment to combat the BW threat in all its forms.. Using the US proposal as a blueprint, the states parties to the BWC adopted a modest work program to strengthen the implementation of and compliance with the legal obligations of the Convention. The time for "better-than-nothing" proposals is over. A united world, acting in concert across a broad front of areas utilizing the full panoply of financial, diplomatic, economic, and military resources at our disposal, with the firm determination to rid the world of these weapons of terror, is our best hope for success.

Report Number:
INSS Occasional Paper 49
Public Domain
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