Free «The purposes of arms control and disarmament» Essay Sample


This field deals with restrictions on utilization of the weapons meant for mass destruction. This exercise is made efficient by employing diplomacy which limits participation in mass destruction through international agreements as well as treaties among the nations of the world. Nations do play an important role in achieving this goal by putting obstacles for the countries planning to participate on the same. At a local level the government ensures that its citizens do not access weapons by whatever means. Much focus at a country level is aimed at obtaining fire arms from the citizens. Despite the exercise of arms disarmament and control the cold war raised sensitive concerns on issues of arm control and disbarment. Demands on the quantitative as well as qualitative assessment of the progress made in disarmament of arms has been complicated in the recent past because of the political milieu which keeps changing and the pressures which has increased on the available resources. In spite of the challenges experienced in this area, international bodies have proved to be quite significant in assisting in campaign for arm control and disarmament (Corporation and Eisenstein 1989: 13).

Many obstacles have been experienced in attempt to finding out if the information obtained in arms control and disarmament is complete. In most cases it has turned out that the nation in question either acted through deception or their actions were not in good faith. The ability of the international organization to completely solve the existing issues on arm disarmament has been limited by the political as well as the legal constraints. One of the difficulty issues about this issue is finding the contact between the international organization dealing with the issue and the national intelligence unit. There are numerous ongoing debates on the efficacy of the existing relationship between the intelligence unit and the organizations dealing with the disarmament of weapons. One of the factors which have boosted this field is the access to information of national importance. Through this the international organizations have been able to vigorously pursue their mandate. There are treaties which are made when it comes to disarmament of weapons in order to prevent arms races which may turn out to be very expensive. There are various ways which have been used to control arms around the world.

Initiative treaties

At times these treaties are used to stop military technologies which are spreading faster since new technologies are a threat to a nation's peace and unity. Other arms control agreements are necessary in order to minimize the damages brought about by warfare. The treaties entered into by the nations are seen by many as an essential tool against warfare. To others these treaties serve as a cost reduction mechanism as well as a hindrance to advanced development in weapon building. Arm control also serves as a way of restoring military action through restriction of weapons that make warfare very destructive as well as costly. Implementation of agreements that deals with arms control has been quite a hurdle. Most agreements that have been reached were based on the desires of the participants to implement effective terms. When a nation wants to quit from participating most of the times they choose to end their treaty contract. An example of this treaty was the Washington and London Naval Treaties (Burns, 1993: 503; Dewitt, D & Rattinger, 1992: 46).

Arms control theories

Many nations that participate in these treaties tend to work around their limitations in order to come up with something better. That is reason why the United States decided to improve the performance of their ships as well as putting emphasis on the weight restriction. For instance the United Kingdom managed to make a loop hole and this worked best for them. There are a number of scholars who worked tirelessly in backing arms control on a theoretical basis. One of the main function or objective of arm control and disarmament is to remove the dilemma associated with securities. Its main vision is to maintain security that is mutual between the participant partners as well as the maintenance of the overall stability. This overall security may cover areas like situations of crisis or initiation of grand strategies. The involved nations have been able to reduce damages caused by war as well as the associated costs by controlling of arms (Croddy and Wirtz, 2005: 13).

Brief history on arms control

The first rules ever to be implemented on the subject of arms control was during the time of the ancient Greece. The laid rules clearly gave instructions on how war was to be waged and any nation that was to go against the set rulers was liable for some form of punishment. There were two forms of punishment at that time. One was either to pay a fine or go through some kind of war. There is ultimately no record and if any only a few records in archives showing arms control during the time of its establishment by the Roman Catholic Church. At that time the church played a significant role in ensuring that there was peace throughout the land. During 989 to 1033 BC there was no much warfare because the Christian fraternity ensured Christians lived peacefully with other people. The use of some tools like crossbows by Christians was prohibited by the Catholic Church (Larsen and Smith 2005: 214; Blacker and Duffy 1984).

Increased war devastation was as a result of invention and development of firearms. At that time warfare was very brutal therefore creating the need for formulation and implementation of warfare rules which was to be followed strictly by the nations that decided to take part in the activity. These rules were aimed at giving the victims of war as well as its prisoner's fair treatment. Some rules were enforced in order to offer protection to people who did take part in the war as well as their properties. Formal agreements have been implemented just in the recent past because most of the records of early years only show the proposals on the same. The only record of the concluded treaty of the olden days was of Strasbourg Agreement which was dated 1675 restricting the usage of chemical weapons for instance bullets that were poisonous. The agreement was between the Roman Empire and France (Stark and Finke 2000; Dominic Rancer and Womack 2003; 47).

There were some other subsequent treaties after the first one.

For instance, the UK and the US signed a treaty which led to demilitarization of the lake region around the Northern America. This treaty was signed in the year 1817 though it did not achieve its purpose fully; the next Washington Treaty accomplished the task of demilitarization that was intended. During the industrial revolution there was as increase in invention of warfare mechanism and as a result there was a marked advancement in the area of firearms development. The devastation that resulted from the First World War led to the summoning of the twenty six nation leaders to a Hague Conference in the year 1899. The results of the conference were the implementation of the rules that were meant to guide wars as well as the promotion of the usage of weapons that were modern. Through this agreement a court of arbitration was permanently put in place. Further Hague conferences have been held in order to amend the rules and functions of the first conference. The First World War led to the abandonment of the third Hague Conference. The outcome of the First World War led to the restrictions on the usage of weapons of mass destruction. One of the challenges of the restrictions put in place was that it was not effective in achieving its goals (Bunn 1992; 46).

Between the first and the second world wars naval conferences were conducted in order to restrict the size and number of the ships which were to be used in wars. The ships were operated by the great five naval powers. In the year 1925 there was a conference that was held in Geneva and through the initiatives raised chemical warfare weapons were done away with. The end of the Second World War led to the formation of the United Nations as a body meant to promote the world's peace. This initiative was subsequently followed by the setting of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which was supposed to monitor the upcoming nuclear technology as well as weapons. Further spread of warfare weapons was blocked through Non-Proliferation Nuclear Treaty. This treaty restricted possession of nuclear weapons to the five countries that already had the weapons in their possession. The five nations in possession of nuclear weapons at the time included; China, the Soviet Union, the United States, France as well as the United Kingdom (Krepon and Caldwell 1991; 56).

The latest treaty signed between the US and the Soviet Union led to an agreement which was supposed to ensure that all the missiles within the ranges of 5500 to 500 kilometers were to be destroyed. A convention that was held in the year 1993 led to the banning of the usage of biological weapons as well as their manufacture. Many other restrictions and treaties have been signed to put further restriction on the usage of any form of nuclear as well as biological or chemical weapons. One of the major organizations which plays a great role in arms control is the Arms Control Organization though there are other firms involved in the same activity. This central organization was founded to enhance public understanding as well as supporting of the arms control (Kegley 2008; 76).

The United States established an agency which was to ensure its national security. This was to be achieved through formulation of strategies as well as policies that will formulate the necessary negotiations and implementations needed for peace to be maintained. The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) that was established integrated the arms control within the Americas policy. These policies directed the actions of the United States in the enforcement of the required control in the arms. Basing on the policies in place, the US ventured into determining the weapon capabilities of China as well as the Soviet Union. This research was enhanced by expanding the United States electronic capability and employing of both the private contract and federal agency research. The research that was done utilized optical technologies as well as the radio frequencies. The United States ventured into this research with the knowledge that in order to stop nuclear war it was necessary to understand the capabilities of the nations involved in mass destruction (Kegley 2008; 76).

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The National Policy on Arms Control and Disarmament

The John Kennedy's administration in the year 1961 worked hard to ensure complete ban on the usage of nuclear weapons as well as its testing. This was found out from the documents of the time. The administration of Kennedy played a major role in supporting policy initiatives that were meant to raise concerns on the testing of nuclear weapons. Due to the many dilemmas in the Kennedy's administration, the Soviet Union declaration of its action of starting to test its nuclear weapons provided a clarification to the US. As a result of the Soviets action the US and UK government put a ban on atmospheric nuclear test. This kind of misunderstanding kept on emerging in almost every administration. For instance the former US president George Bush administration in the year 2003 made their stand known on the use of nuclear weapons. His efforts were meant to block the unnecessary spread of mass destruction weapons on the basis that they are a major hindrance to the needed peace. He also put an initiative in place to ease the search and detection of large ships and planes being used to transport the weapons as well as the new technologies (Kegley 2008; 76).

Many considered the Bush initiative as a strategy aimed at postponing the mass destruction weapons of Korea. The PSI has further continued to block the activities that were termed illegal by the international community. From 1990 during the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq interception of ship operations have become common. The only difficult aspect in the operations is the search of air plane which can only be achieved by bringing the plane to the ground. Some of the challenges being faced by PSI include; political issues as well as legal authorization. Also the agreement rules are quiet difficult therefore it's been hard for the initiative in place to be efficient. As a result of all this resulting complications, many countries do believe that the only organization that has the mandate to intercept other nation's territory in search of nuclear weapons is the United Nations. Many of the initiatives put in place by the US have been termed as unwise and for this reason it will be difficult for the initiatives to be backed legally in the near future(Kegley 2008; 76).

Despite of the challenges the United States initiative achieved some of its objectives. For instance the nations in attendance agreed to mount a joint interdiction of military training as soon as it was possible. Main seas were named as the entry points of the interception. Australia also agreed to join force with the US in achieving their objectives. The PSI initiative of the US has not been fully supported by the nations in question. And for this reason gaining of the required support for it to be legitimized will not be an easy task. The much focus that has been directed to Japan and South Korea is a major hindrance to the application of this initiative to the named nations. Further actions include the US initiative against the usage of mass destruction weapons which will yield much fruits once the initiative is legalized and accepted by the participating countries (Kegley 2008; 76).

The United Nations Initiatives

Currently one of the main obligations of the world is to illuminate all kinds of mass destruction weapons. Arms control basically deals with regulating the weapons in use while disarmament focuses at fully elimination of nuclear weapons. Weapons of mass destruction include chemical, nuclear as well as biological mass destruction weapons. The world is working towards regulation of the use, production as well as the sale of these weapons. Some of the treaties that have been agreed on with the aim of complete elimination of weapons include the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This reveals the marked improvement in disarmament of arms. It has proven difficult to place an organization that deals with BWC and as a result some nations have decided to eliminate weapons using the non-proliferation objectives on there own. Countries within the same region have also joined forces and put restrictions on possession of nuclear weapons within their region of specification (United Nations 2005: 35).

Some treaties like the outer space has prohibited the use of weapons of mass destruction in the space and within the bodies found within the space. This treaty does not allow one to put these weapons on the floor of the oceans. The Geneva initiative also prohibits the utilization of weapons of both chemical and biological nature. Some other treaties have been initiated to ban nuclear testing as well as explosions. The only recommended use of weapons if they must be used is for the purposes of peace. The United Nations have put in place the convention arms which restricts usage of weapons that has inhumane effects. The effects that might be left by such weapons include undetectable fragments within the victim's body, weapons that can cause laser blindness as well as weapon remnants which can be very explosive to the surrounding environment. In 2001 the United Nation convention banned the trading of weapons whether they are small or light. Initiatives for tracking weapons on transit have been put in place in order to fully eliminate weapons that are being used in mass destruction. The utilization of landmines that pose great danger to people has also been banned by the UN.

Underlying key Challenges

One of the key obstacles to complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction is the achievement of universal application of these treaties. In order for universal application to be achieved political strength is needed which in turn makes the other obstacles easy to overcome. To gain the required political strength is not easy since every political leader or political government has its own ambitions which it might be looking forward to achieving. At times even if the political strength is gained it may not have been done in good faith which is necessary for peace maintenance. Also people and nations lack the knowledge on the importance of disarmament to the national security as well as the international security (Peters 2000, 132).

This result from the fact that the information about arms control and disarmament is only limited to specific ministries for instance the ministry of foreign affairs as well as the defense ministry. Universal application of the set treaties has not occurred because some many countries which are still developing have many other urgent issues that need to be handled. For that reason such countries tend to give limited attention to this subject. Countries which are not fully engaged tend to view the initiatives of disarmament as a mere objective that have been set (Bowie 1989: 41).

It has proved challenging to improve the compliance by the involved nations on the basis of treaty commitments. This has been complicated by poor understanding of the requirements posed by the agreements made. Some nations do not understand that there is more than ratification of the treaty. Other countries deliberately chose not to comply with the agreements of the treaty. Example of these countries includes Iran, Libya and Iraq. Other countries that fail to comply with the treaty clams that states dealing with nuclear weapons have personally not accomplished there commitments as far as disarmament is concerned. There has not been transparency in passing out of information about the same. One of the reasons why there is no transparency is that some countries have fears that their national security might be compromised if other countries know there status as far as warfare weapons is concerned. One of the obstacles to information transparency is the absence of historic information on the same. Many nations do not have the basic information on the number of nuclear weapons that are present in the world at the moment. Other states even do not anything beneficial about military expenditures as well as conventional weapons (Sidhu, Singh and Thakur 2005: 140).

Most of the time it's quite difficult to ensure the treaty agreements remains irreversible. For instance some nations just decide to withdraw from the treaties and as a result the remaining participating nations opt to come up with new withdrawal procedures. The importance of ensuring that fissile materials are not converted to new nuclear weapons has been overlooked because of the overstressing of Non-Proliferation treaties. It's difficult if not impossible to carry out intrusive inspections without compromising a nation's defense secrets that are legal.

 The vigorous methods which are employed when making an account of the weapons present often, ends up compromising the commercial secrets of the nation under investigation. Closure of loopholes that exist in the disarmament initiative treaties which, can be used by terrorist as well as other people who are not acting on behalf of the state, is very challenging. It is quiet difficult to control goods that can be used for mass destruction which are not tangible. For instance, information that is designed that posse danger to the initiatives of elimination of mass destruction weapons. Development of NPT control initiatives against illegal brokers, and black marketers is still proving to be very challenging (Dewitt and Rattinger 1992: 213)

Major contributions on arms control and disarmament

Some of the major contributions that have been made by the governments of the participating nations include treaty ratification. Usually governments have the privilege of correcting the agreements made during these treaties. Implementation of the enacted treaties completely lies in the government hands as well as the money needed for the implementation of the agreement. Therefore if the government plays its role effectively them the goals set by the arms control and disarmament can be achieved without much trouble (Wolfgang 2007; 125).

Since the government plays an important role in the fulfillment of the objectives set by the arms control it's important for them to participate fully in the eradication of the weapons of mass destruction. Other roles played by the government on the same issue include general oversight as well as public education. The parliament has the authorities and powers needed to ensure all the government programs in operation comply with the rules of the treaty. Since one of the major challenges to effective operations of the initiatives put forward was lack of sufficient information. It's essential for the government to educate its people on the importance of the treaties in enhancing national security. This can be accomplished by the normal government debates which are always in progress. Through this debate people and the necessary bodies may find the weaknesses and strengths on the policies in use in a given nation (Papacosma, Kay and Rubin 2001).

Another sector that plays an important role in the disarmament of arms is the human rights department or ministry. War deprives a person his rights as a human being. For example many people who lose their lives during warfare are deprived of their right of existence. Basing on the purpose of the usage weapon some human rights can be deprived. Examples of such rights may include human dignity, civil and equal rights. For this reason the United Nations has shifted much of its attention to the way warfare is conducted as well as the issues of gender in relation to weapons in use. For this reason the UN was forced to come up with a fair means of handling the whole issue. This resulted to a declaration of the definition of the term peace by the Security Council president who declared that for peace to the present there is need for gender equity.

Some of the recent developments include the inclusion of phrases that deals with the effects of warfare on women. Resolution 1325 was adopted by the United Nations in the year 2000 in order to address the warfare impacts on women as well as the roles which women can play in war resolution. This resolutions revealed the importance of women in implementation of the initiatives set forth to create peace and unity. The effects of warfare on women are immeasurable yet they are usually ignored when it comes to implementation of policies that prevents war. For example during warfare women development in economic and family matters are interfered with. As result women end up carrying the burden brought about by the impacts of war on themselves. For this reason some of the reforms that are underway include the action plan of gender that was incorporated under the department of Disarmament Affairs. These new inventions have been put in place because the United Nations realized that it can achieve its goal of disarmament by putting gender factors into consideration (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2008: 1).

Women also play an important role in complete elimination of light and small weapons that are traded illegally. These weapons are in use and supply around the world therefore women can be effective in solving this issue. Women have successfully campaigned against landmines that are against humanity. For example the ban against landmines was initiated by a woman who received a Nobel Peace Prize as a result of her hard work. The other works that were performed by these influential women included victorious battles in elimination of nuclear testing that were being done in the atmospheric space (United Nations 2006: 116).

Some of the anticipated future challenges

The main objective of the United Nation is the facilitation of disarmament progress. One of the major assumptions of the UN is that strengthening of disarmament can be achieved by integrating gender issues into the ongoing debates. For this to be achieved the participation of women on the same has to be increased. For the reason one of the challenges of the United Nation is to identify synergies that have potential and other opportunities that can fully and simultaneously support gender equity in effective disarmament. Some of the proposed assignments include exploration of the linkages involved in gender equality promotion as well as disarmament. Since United Nations is the core organization in implementing peace in the nations of the world its important for them to create the space needed in order for gender incorporation to take course. For the whole process to be productive there is need for carrying out an outreach on the importance of incorporating gender perspective into arms control as well as disarmament. Therefore much support is necessary if the whole process has to yield the necessary fruits (Commission to Study the Organization of Peace 1976: 57).

Future realities on arms and disarmament

The twentieth century has been characterized by improved weapon development as a result of the new technologies that has been discovered. This new developments comes a long with new challenges and issues in the area of disarmament as well as arms control. This takes us back to The Hague's concern between 1899 and 1970 which was mainly on the drastic effects of aerial bombardment as well as poisonous gases.

During the first and the Second World War Germany was a victim of disarmament in 1919 as a result of the naval treaties that were very controversial. The way this issue was handled revealed the inability of the involved nations to deal with the whole issue. After the Second World War the many ongoing campaigns and debates on the matter of arms control and disarmament stimulated superpower negotiations that were very bilateral (Panofsky and National Academy of Sciences 1989: 74).

The negotiations about arms control as well as its disarmament have become very complex by each passing day. This is because of the hard decisions that have to be made by the policy markers. One of the major issues being wrestled upon by the policy markers is whether they will be able to accomplish there objectives or if they are bound to lose. During the negotiations many important issues are usually curtailed in order for an agreement to be reached. The complication in the weapons of mass destruction has called for further advice from experts because of a number of unsuccessful conferences that have been held. Some of the challenges being experienced in this area are hard to tell because the supporters of the initiatives tend to minimize the risks while the nations opposed to the reforms overestimate the perceived risks.


They have been marked improvement in arms control and disarmament since the time of the ancient Greece. Much effort has been put into this issue by many organizations and nations. Despite the fact that supremacy of a nation is weighed depending on its nuclear ability it's very clear that in the coming year's complete eradication of weapons of mass destruction will be achieved. The international courts like Hague which deals with humanity issue will ensure accordance of justice to victims of warfare. Advancement in knowledge and technology is bound to ease the tasks of this department. And as a result effectiveness in its performance will be achieved.The current new technologies have made it easy to quantify the weaponry in use. For example by employing the current technologies one is able to amount of ballistic missiles as well as their characteristics. The ban on nuclear testing has been effective because of the new technologies in use as revealed by some research. Some of the implementation in place is site inspection which is carried out in order to determine compliances of the rules in place.


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