Other Gas Crisis - Chemical Weapons: Part I   [open pdf - 1MB]

"A long-standing national security objective of the United States is to eliminate the use of chemical weapons in war. In theory, US policies to achieve this objective have two major interrelated and complementary aspects. The first deals with chemical weapons arms control and disarmament; the second with military strategies and capabilities to deter and, if necessary, defend against chemical warfare. Essentially, chemical weapons arms control is to be pursued, and appropriate military capabilities are to be maintained, until such time as effective international agreements remove existing and future threats of chemical warfare. In practice, the situation appears to have worked out quite differently over the last decade. The United States now seems neatly impaled on the horns of a dangerous dilemma with respect to its policies regarding chemical warfare. On the political and diplomatic fronts, the United States is publicly and firmly committed not just to the negotiation of limits on chemical weapons, but to what would be a far-reaching and precedent-setting accomplishment: complete chemical weapons disarmament. This commitment involves helping to develop, and becoming party to, a complete ban on chemical weapons as soon as possible. Frequent reaffirmations of this commitment, and optimistic projections as to when an agreement might be attained, have led to heightened expectations and considerable international pressure to produce. Unfortunately, the United States seems to be discovering-belatedly and to its chagrin-that an acceptable disarmament agreement, especially with the Soviet Union, may not be as readily available as some had believed, due primarily to differing views with respect to the degree of verification required."

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Parameters: United States Army War College Quarterly, v.9 no.3, p.70-80
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