Challenges to the Arms Reduction and Nuclear Disarmament

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To live in an anxiety free world and non -violent environment, the utility and use of weapons should be reduced. Arms reduction plays a fundamental role in state security and government’s decision-making regarding political and economic affairs as well as the relations with other states. It is necessary for the development of a nation or a region to resolve the disputes with their neighbors. International disputes have always given a fair chance with dialogue between the parties as an integral component. Different states can coexist with friendly neighbor resulting in greater benefit of the people of the country. It brings peace and stability in the region. For the progress of humanity peace is an essential element. To avoid war and hostility, an element of understanding and mutual survival will be established among the states. Hence states will learn to co-exist peacefully. The attainment and flaws of the arms limitation are described below.

No argument regarding nuclear disarmament can be concluded without considering the global arms reduction mechanism. In the cold war period, arms limitation decisions included many stages. During the initial stage, the two nations attained symmetry in armament holdings through bilateral arms reduction and demobilization. During the final stage, states established principles regarding the dangers of nuclear weapons and to limit the use of nuclear warheads by states. Given the pursuit of national interests, an element of uncertainty is developed among states. Nuclear powers face many challenges because of the political considerations of the international community. To limit and reduce the use of anti-ballistic missiles and capability, the two nations Soviet Union and the United States agreed and signed a treaty known as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 1972. Both sides agreed not to develop missile defense system at sea, air and in space. Soviet Union and the United States negotiated the ABM treaty to limit the intensity of the nuclear arms race. Both the sides believed that limited the defense systems can reduce the need to build new or offensive weapons and to overcome all defenses that your opponent can muster. By prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons will bring stability, ameliorate safety dilemmas, enhance deterrence, and in the long run prevent war.

For allies, the issue of arms limitation is the termination of existing treaties. For instance in 2002, United State left the ABM Treaty which limits the number of missiles that United States and Russia can keep. Another problem is non-compliance. The meaning of current regime is changing. They were created at different times against the background of a variety of political and military threats. To put an end to the significantly improved weapons, another treaty of multilateral nature as the Comprehensive nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was signed in 1996. Russia signed and ratified while the United States signed (but not ratified) and agreed to the prohibition of nuclear tests for both civilian and military purposes in all environments. The weapons kept by both the states were enough to cause destruction on large scale. However, the possibility of violent struggle existed between the two nations. Therefore, a number of such type of initiatives were taken to prevent hostility between the two great powers.

There was a ban on countries using missiles to protect themselves from incoming missiles. For survival countries increase size and quality of military resources to gain military and political superiority over one another. By doing so, states develop conflicts, the example of Pakistan and India can be considered as a context. Conflict is based on politics, religion and territory between India and Pakistan. A lot of states from across the globe supported the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was signed in 1968. The purpose of the NPT was to stop the spread of nuclear technology and weapons innovation to develop collaboration between countries and promote the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Besides prohibiting the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, a nuclear-free zone was created. Nuclear warheads are not allowed in that area, not only of that country but also other countries were forbidden from keeping weapons, selling them or pilling them in stocks for use. Hence, the neighboring countries will feel safe and secure.

Still, however, a lot of issues and problems have been faced by states in the elimination of nuclear weapons. This is also because some states more importantly the nuclear powers like India, Pakistan, and Israel are yet to sign the NPT which has challenged the utility of the regime.

Some states have nuclear weapons and can use them in their defense, but don’t use them to threaten the other state. As the other state does not have similar weapons in its possession and cannot fight back. This is the concept of negative self-assurance between states.

Therefore, a fundamental principle should be followed by states not to develop nuclear weapons, and those who already have should not have excess numbers that can be stockpiled for use in the distant future.

A convention was signed in 1993 known as the Biological and Chemical Weapons Convention (BCWC). This was aimed to prevent the use of Bacteria and other viruses that were used earlier to destroy men, animals or food. But the issue of chemical and biological weapons is less important than the deployment of nuclear weapons. In addition to adhering to a non-universal protocol, there are several reasons why the bio-chemical weapons problem persists.

It is clear that the 1925 Protocol does not contain any production or ownership information and prohibits their use. Many countries maintain reservations, often restrict compliance with obligations only if they are associated with other parties, or allow hostile states to lose their freedom if they do not comply with the provisions of the Protocol. Additionally, there are no conditions for viewing the records. Thus, the possibility of revenge instead of survival under the 1925 Protocol prevented significant use of biological and chemical weapons during World War II. However, it was not successful.

Under the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed forces in Europe (CFE), no nations or group of nations at present has the ability to start a military invasion in Europe. Limits on the use of military equipment were observed by countries after the Cold War. A number of conflicts among nations have seen the use of anti-personnel mines. Because of the destruction caused by mines, they were prohibited, not allowed to be pilled in stocks, not to be produced or transferred. This was to reduce the intensity of causalities to end conflicts between states. Restriction was imposed on the use of anti-personnel mines. However, this convention does not have legal interpretations.

Some conventions were successful in achieving their objectives and some were not. Some states have nuclear weapons and the capability to threaten other states, while many states don’t have nuclear weapons and cannot defend themselves. However, the disputes can be resolved peacefully as the major source of conflicts which can reduce the utility of weapons. The selection of arms reduction initiatives should be based on mutual agreement of the parties or states. As states security is a crucial concern for a state itself. Whether absolute disarmament would be possible or not? The questions will continue to persist.

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Saba Adnan
About Saba Adnan 1 Article
Miss Saba Adnan is student of Peace and Conflict Studies at the National Defence University, Pakistan.

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