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Controlling the Arms Trade Since 1945

Дата публикации: 20 сентября 2007
Публикатор: Александр Павлович Шиманский
Источник: (c) http://russia.by
Номер публикации: №1190296431 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!

For the first forty years after World War II, measures to restrict or control the global trade in weapons were slow to gain prominence on the international arms control and disarmament agenda. Although numerous partial proposals had been advanced or launched, these gained few adherents and had no appreciable impact on the volume or sophistication of the weapons traded. Yet the global arms trade has arguably played as large a role in post-1945 world politics (in terms of wars fought and lives lost) as the nuclear arms race between the superpower blocs, and the change since 1945 in the "international military system" has been unprecedented. With the end of the Cold War, a number of initiatives to control the arms trade were launched, some of which rapidly bore fruit. The United Nations, for example, has since 1990 mandated the imposition of five arms-transfer embargoes (in the context of various conflict-resolution efforts), more than in the previous forty years. This article will discuss the various proposals to control the arms trade and explore some of the reasons it has resisted international controls in spite of its importance. It will begin with an overview of the development of the global arms trade since 1945 and the different national regulations and policies governing arms transfers, review the history of post-1945 control initiatives, and analyze the problems with and future prospects for controls on the arms trade.

One of the reasons that initiatives to control the arms trade have failed is that consensus on the nature of the "problem" to be solved has not been achieved. To begin, there is disagreement over whether the arms trade is a global problem that can only be tackled with broad international treaties and agreements to restrict the transfer of certain types of weapons, or a regional problem directly connected with particular conflicts. Although most analysts accept that arms transfers must be evaluated in their specific regional contexts (since a transfer of sophisticated fighters that appears "normal" in the Middle East may be highly destabilizing in Latin America), it is difficult to establish discriminatory controls. Since the sale of arms is often a test of a patron-client relationship, the refusal to supply one ally with weapons that another had already received would be perceived as a major diplomatic and political snub. Likewise, there is no agreement over whether the arms trade contributes to regional conflicts (in which case controlling it would reduce friction), or is merely a reflection of them (in which case the underlying insecurities need to be addressed first).

There are also different possible justifications for controlling the arms trade, none of which is shared by all suppliers and recipients. Perhaps the broadest justification is the desire to make war less likely, or less destructive should it occur, by restricting the volume and sophistication of weapons acquired by states. But often arms transfers have been justified precisely as a means to make war less likely, by creating a military balance or stalemate between states that might otherwise go to war. Many states (especially in the developing world) also view attempts to control the arms trade with suspicion: they regard controls as a means for military "have" powers to freeze a particular global distribution of military power, or to maintain an existing technological lead by restricting the access of "have not" powers to modern weapons. The reluctance of states such as China and India to agree to multilateral arms-transfer controls signals their unwillingness to accept a position of possibly permanent military inferiority, and there is little doubt that many of the initiatives that will be discussed in this essay have been designed by supplier states to maintain their technological lead. Finally, it is often argued that limits on the arms trade could save money by reducing spending on armaments or on the military as a whole. But expenditures on arms imports are actually only a small percentage (usually less than one-third) of total military expenditure in most states, and there is no guarantee that the money saved would be devoted to nonmilitary purposes. Limits on overall military expenditures might have a more direct economic benefit, although attempts to analyze the impact of military spending on economic growth and development have not produced clear evidence of a negative link.

Despite these debates, the arms trade has assumed such proportions (and prominence in public debates) that a number of serious measures for control have been actively pursued. These include efforts to increase transparency of the arms trade through the establishment of a United Nations arms transfer register, initiatives to reduce the overall volume of arms transfers to the developing world, attempts to restrict arms deliveries to specific zones of conflict (such as the Middle East), measures to prevent the proliferation of unconventional weapons or weapons of mass destruction (such as ballistic missiles or chemical and nuclear weapons), and proposals to enhance national control over illegal (black-market) weapons transfers. Not all of these proposals require actual reductions in the volume or sophistication of weapons transferred, and in some cases the goals sought could be achieved with controls that simply regulated the flow of arms to particular states or regions. Some measures (such as the U.N. register) are quantitative and focus on the numbers of weapons being transferred; others (such as the Missile Technology Control Regime) are qualitative and focus on particular technologies or systems.

To discuss this range of initiatives, this essay will adopt a broad definition of control that includes all measures designed to restrict, regulate, or moderate the international flow of weapons. In this sense, states almost always exercise some restraint over their arms transfers, since few countries trade weapons as freely as goods such as bananas or televisions, and seldom do they export arms without any consideration of the possible consequences. Thus this essay will discuss not only proposals for global negotiated multilateral restraints, but also regional, bilateral, tacit, and imposed restrictions or regulations. It will begin with a discussion of unilateral or national controls, discuss local or regional arrangements, and then examine global or multilateral initiatives.

Global Arms Transfers: An Overview

To evaluate or understand proposals to control the arms trade, one must have some sense of its scope and character. Between 1963 and 1988, arms transfers more than quadrupled in real terms, from about $12 billion to more than $50 billion dollars per year (constant 1988 dollars). This growth in the importance and volume of the arms trade in the post-1945 period was a consequence of three major developments. The first was the Cold War rivalry between the superpowers, which resulted in massive transfers of weapons by the Americans and Soviets to their respective allies in Europe in the 1950s, and after 1955 in competitive transfers to friends and clients in the developing world. The second was the process of decolonization, one consequence of which was the establishment and equipping of modern armed forces in a large number of newly independent states in Africa and Asia. The third trend was the reestablishment and expansion of the European arms industries. As Britain, France, and Germany (and later Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Spain) rebuilt their arms industries after World War II, they found that to produce sophisticated modern weapons at the technological frontier (and to compete with the United States and the Soviet Union), they had to export large quantities of arms. These states (so-called second-tier producers) rely heavily upon arms exports for the well-being and survival of their arms industries, and are thus reluctant to agree to quantitative limitations of their arms transfers.

Throughout the 1980s, an annual average of about $52 billion worth of arms was bought and sold. Although more than 40 states acted as suppliers, the majority of the arms (more than 75 percent) was exported from the leading industrial world arms producers--the United States, the former Soviet Union, Britain, France, and Germany. On the recipient side, about 120 states imported significant quantities of arms in the late 1980s, and about 80 percent of those weapons were delivered to the developing world, particularly the Middle East. The preceding tables provide a snapshot of global arms deliveries from major suppliers and show how these deliveries are distributed by recipient region. The top ten arms recipients at different points in the 1963 to 1988 period are also listed. Together these tables illustrate that the arms trade is not a "global" phenomenon, but rather one that is concentrated among a few states. The top five suppliers account for three-quarters, and the top ten recipients for about half, of total arms transfers. These tables also illustrate, however, that arms transfers are not exclusively restricted to these few states. Weapons deliveries from many lesser suppliers can play a large role in particular regional conflicts and wars (such as Brazilian and North Korean transfers to the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War), and global measures to limit the overall arms trade are unlikely to be effective unless lesser producers are also included.

Evolution of National Control Systems

The most basic controls on the arms trade are the unilateral export controls applied by supplier states, virtually all of which have formal decision-making procedures for arms transfers. Overall policy is expressed either in a government guideline that can be changed by executive decision, or by a legal framework. The United States, for example, has congressional reporting requirements for all arms exports greater than $50 million, and major sales are widely discussed and debated. In France, however, government agencies work closely with defense firms to find markets and cultivate clients, and although final approval rests with a political committee--the Commission interministérielle pour l'étude des exportations de matériels de guerre, or the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Study of War Equipment Exports (CIEEMG)--the initiation of sales occurs primarily on a bureaucratic or commercial level, not a political one. In Canada, export decisions are made within a policy framework publicly explained by the government in 1986, but individual export decisions are seldom debated publicly; in Brazil, until the early 1990s arms exports were pursued with almost no political restraint or oversight being exercised.

In general, the procedures in most states include a licensing requirement for all arms exports (based on a "munitions list") and a government approval process that includes high-level representation from the foreign ministry, defense department, intelligence community, arms control agencies, and other interested bodies. The United States is somewhat unusual in that, as stated above, large export deals must also have congressional approval (or not be vetoed by Congress). Most transactions are government-to-government deals, meaning that an arms firm sells its wares to its national government, which in turn makes a deal with a recipient state. Of course, in most cases the decision-making procedures incorporate political and economic factors that may promote arms transfers, and there is no necessary element of restraint in the regulation policies of many suppliers. But all states are (most of the time) conscious of the potentially harmful consequences of arms transfers, and have forgone particular deals that would be controversial or destructive. One can, however, distinguish four broad categories of national control systems, as determined by the weight given by states to political, commercial, or ethical considerations.

The first type of system is represented by the United States and (until 1991) the Soviet Union (since the future position of the successor states is unclear). Because of their large domestic markets for arms, neither the U.S. nor the Soviet defense industries have depended on arms transfers for their well-being, since only about 15 percent of total production was exported (although exports were important for particular weapon systems). This meant that the dominant factors governing arms-transfer decisions were foreign policy considerations: arms were supplied to friends and clients, and not to states that were potential adversaries or were aligned on the opposing side in the Cold War. In many cases (such as Soviet arms supplied to Egypt in the 1960s, or American arms supplied to Egypt after 1979), both superpowers exercised restraint over the types of weapons they supplied clients, attempting to prevent them from obtaining a potentially destabilizing military advantage in a region. Finally, both the United States and the Soviet Union have, since the early 1960s, been reluctant to export military technology to assist clients in building their own defense industries, a stance that reflects concern over maintaining their military technological lead. This concern is reflected in many U.S. arms-transfer control policies of the late twentieth century (such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, which will be discussed below).

The second type of system is represented by France, Britain, and to a lesser extent Italy and Spain and other smaller industrialized producers such as Belgium. The decision-making structure of these producers, and the actual policies they pursue, reflect the relatively strong influence of economic factors and the concomitant weak influence of other political or military considerations. These states exported around 40 to 50 percent of their arms production throughout the 1980s, and their industries depended on either high levels of exports or on state subsidies in order to maintain production. Their export regulation mechanisms hence have tended to emphasize commercial or economic considerations, only rejecting sales when strong political pressures are present. France, for example, sold about $7 billion in advanced weapons to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, only to face its own weapons in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Until 1989, Poland and Czechoslovakia also appeared to follow similarly unrestrained policies (within the overall framework of Warsaw Pact alignments). Their post-Cold War policies were not yet clear as of 1992. Overall, this group of states had not until the early 1990s been concerned with trading away their technological lead, and had participated extensively in coproduction and licensed production arrangements with developing-world arms producers. There were some moves, however, within the European Community (EC) to harmonize national policies in order to achieve greater control over arms exports. With the creation of the single market in 1993, it may become more difficult to control unauthorized weapons or technology transfers out of the "leakiest" states in the EC. The debate is between countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, which would like tight coordination of national policies at the EC level, and France and Britain, which want to retain some national autonomy in order to pursue independent national security policies. It is not clear, however, whether greater coordination would result in lower levels of arms exports from this second group of states.

The third type of system, made up of the "voluntary restricters," temper their export policy with what could be called "ethical" considerations. Japan, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, and Switzerland all fall into this category. Japan does not in principle allow the export of goods that could be used by military forces directly in combat. Sweden shuns involvement in "areas of conflict," and Canada does not (in principle) export arms to countries under threat of hostilities or that have a persistent record of human rights violations. Frequent breaches of these policies (such as the Canadian sale of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, or the German sale of chemical-weapons equipment to Libya, or the Swedish sale of explosives to India) often create scandals and illustrate the pressure to export that these states face. But these suppliers could export more arms if they chose to do so, and their policies are an important element of restraint in the global arms market.

The fourth category includes developing-world arms producers, many of which have pursued rather promiscuous arms-export policies. Throughout the Iran-Iraq War, for example, Chile and Brazil sold hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons to both sides in the conflict. North Korea appears to have delivered surface-to-surface missiles to Iran, in the face of considerable international opposition. China, too, has been relatively indiscriminate in its arms-transfer policy and has been the most reluctant participant in multilateral discussions on controls. For most of these states, encouragement of arms exports is a matter of state policy, both because of the perceived economic benefits this brings, and because of a perception that exports garner some political influence (or at least a higher international profile). Developing world producers are extremely susceptible to fluctuations in demand, however, and many saw their sales drop dramatically in the early 1990s. Some, such as Brazil and Argentina, have also come under pressure from states such as the United States to implement more restrictive arms-transfer policies.

Partial and Regional Efforts to Control the Arms Trade

A range of partial initiatives to control the arms trade to specific countries, regions, or conflicts has been launched in the post-1945 period, although most of them have been confined to either the Middle East or Latin America. Efforts at regional limitations have been absent from Africa and Asia, with the exception of the United Nations embargo against South Africa (discussed below), and the embargo against India and Pakistan during their 1965 war. Some of the initiatives that were launched were simple supplier embargoes; others grew out of recipient states' arms control initiatives. All were temporary, however, and none evolved into a system of formal multilateral controls on arms transfers. A brief review of these initiatives does illustrate some of the complexities and problems that regional-based arms transfer controls face.

Middle Eastern Efforts Since 1950

The first postwar attempt to create a regional control system for arms transfers was the 1950 Tripartite Declaration of Britain, the United States, and France, the three dominant powers in the Middle East. They built upon the temporary U.N. embargo on arms transfers to the Arab-Israeli conflict that lasted from 29 May 1948 to 11 August 1949, and they established the Near Eastern Arms Coordinating Committee (NEACC) as a consultative committee to regulate their arms deliveries to the region. Until 1955 these states were the sole arms suppliers to the region, and hence they were able to orchestrate their arms deliveries in order (as the declaration noted) to suppress the nascent arms race between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In addition, the colonial powers wished to maintain their political influence in the region and to push Arab states to participate in a regional defense arrangement that was directed at the Soviet Union. But the tripartite agreement had two major flaws: it was a supplier condominium that generated active resentment among the Arab Middle Eastern states, and it excluded one major potential supplier. These flaws meant that when the Soviet Union entered the picture with a 1955 arms deal with Egypt, using Czechoslovakia as the supplier state, the informal agreement collapsed. Within a few years, Arab states such as Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were major clients of Soviet arms, and a regional arms race had been unleashed.

States continued, however, to pay at least lip service to the idea of restraining arms exports to the Middle East. Between 1956 and 1958, the Soviet Union made restraint proposals, suggesting on one occasion that the four major powers (the tripartite powers plus the Soviet Union) should refuse to deliver arms to the Middle East, and in another case, linking this to the withdrawal of foreign troops from the region. These proposals were unacceptable to the Western powers. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the United States advocated that arms exports to the region be made public and reported to the United Nations, as a prelude to reaching some understanding, in the words of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, "that the arms-supplying nations will not themselves be responsible for a major renewal of an arms race in the Middle East" (quoted in SIPRI, The Arms Trade with the Third World, 1971, p. 112). A similar goal was reiterated in 1971, but control of arms transfers to the region became (after 1967) bound up with the overall question of a Middle East peace settlement. Until some (albeit limited) progress on a broader settlement of the Middle East conflict was achieved with the convening of multilateral talks in 1991, no progress on limiting arms transfers to the region was possible. Proposals that followed the 1991 Gulf War will be dealt with below.

Although it cannot be considered a formal control arrangement, the American relationship with Egypt, Israel, and (to a lesser extent) Jordan since the 1973 Middle Eastern war does represent a conscious policy of regulation of arms transfers as a means of reducing the risk of war between the parties. For some analysts, the 1978 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt constitute a successful case of regulating arms transfers to enhance regional security, although it should be noted that regulation did not mean restraint. The United States replaced Israeli airfields removed from the Sinai, granted both parties a large military aid package after the deal was signed ($3 billion to Israel, $1.5 billion to Egypt), and has measured subsequent arms deliveries to each side against the arsenal of the other side, in order to maintain rough parity. This arrangement does not depend on the narrow "control" of arms transfers, but upon an understanding that the United States will not deny arms to either party for what are considered its legitimate security needs. One should not overstate the argument, but this case does demonstrate the potential importance of tacit, informal arrangements and the need for regional actors' acceptance of the control arrangements.

Latin America, 1961-1985

A similar supplier-led attempt to create a regional arms-transfer control regime was the U.S. effort to slow the introduction of advanced (supersonic) fighter planes to Latin America in the 1960s. Because these states depended on the United States for virtually all their arms supplies, informal controls were already in place when President Lyndon Johnson decided in 1965 to delay the introduction of supersonic F-5 aircraft until at least 1969. In the absence of acute regional conflicts, U.S. policy was concerned mainly with preventing the perceived waste of scarce financial resources on unnecessary arms. But although Argentina and Venezuela appeared willing to accept the U.S. restraints, Peru was not, and it acquired the supersonic French Mirage 5 in 1969. The United States maintained the embargo on sales of the F-5 until 1973, by which time Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela had also purchased French planes. By 1975 Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil had also purchased the F-5, giving six states possession of supersonic planes, and a minor arms race had occurred in the absence of acute regional tensions. The result of this and subsequent supply restrictions was that Latin American states diversified their arms acquisitions, making any kind of unilaterally imposed controls unlikely to succeed.

Some indication of possible recipient cooperation in control has, however, manifested itself in Latin America on several occasions. In 1958 Costa Rica proposed that the Latin American members of the Organization of American States (OAS) agree not to purchase arms from suppliers outside the hemisphere (that is, from suppliers other than the United States and Canada) and in return, that the United States (or any other potential arms producer in the region) pledge not to supply arms except with the approval of a technical "inter-American" commission established under OAS auspices. This broad proposal would have made Latin American states entirely dependent upon the United States, and it was rejected by those states that wanted to link regional arms control to global disarmament efforts. In 1974 a more independent proposal was launched with the Ayacucho Declaration. This initiative, which was signed by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela, committed the signatories to restrain their arms imports. It was nonbinding, however, and has had no discernable effect on arms acquisition policies (although Latin America has continued to be a region of low arms imports). Follow-on meetings and proposals (including Peruvian president Alan García Pérez's 1985 call for a regional freeze on arms acquisitions) were also tied to broader discussions of limitations on Latin American military expenditures, weapons arsenals, and other specific arms control measures.

The Persian Gulf, 1980-1988

The Iran-Iraq War was an important case study for supply-side controls of arms transfers, for it involved many attempts by major suppliers to restrict the flow of arms to both combatants. The overall failure of these efforts to halt the fighting highlights the difficulties encountered by less than comprehensive multilateral arms-transfer controls. When the war began, the arsenals of both sides were almost entirely composed of weapons purchased from the five major arms suppliers, which suggested that supply restrictions could be effective in ending the war. Western states adopted a relatively neutral stance, and the United States and other Western arms suppliers suspended arms transfers to both belligerents. The Soviet Union suspended arms shipments to Iraq when the war broke out (this suspension even included weapons already contracted for). By 1982, however, the Soviet Union had resumed arms supplies to Iraq, apparently out of fear that Iraq might lose the war, and by 1984 Western states were tacitly supporting Iraq with weapons supplies (mostly from France).

In 1984 the United States launched "Operation Staunch" in an attempt to solicit cooperation from allies to stop the flow of arms to Iran. More than forty approaches were made to twenty states about arms deliveries to Iran, and although Operation Staunch was widely violated, it did restrict the delivery of major weapon systems to Iran and forced it to turn to suppliers such as North Korea and China for arms. In July 1987 the United Nations became seized with the issue as international pressure to end the war mounted. Security Council Resolution 598, which called for a cease-fire and return to international boundaries, did not mention an arms embargo, although it called on the Security Council to "consider further steps to ensure compliance with [this] resolution." This was widely understood to mean an arms embargo, and since Iraq accepted the resolution, the threat to implement an embargo was directed at Iran. The United States led the effort to tighten Western controls and win Soviet and Chinese acceptance of an embargo, and although no formal agreement was reached, the threat of an embargo did loom large (the threat included a leak, in February 1988, of a document claiming to be a draft embargo resolution supported by the five permanent members of the Security Council). One year later, on 18 July 1988, Iran accepted the cease-fire terms of Resolution 598 and the fighting ended.

One should not, however, conclude that the threatened embargo played a major role in ending the war. Both combatants turned to other suppliers for arms when their major sources were cut off. Iraq bought weapons from up to eighteen different states between 1980 and 1983, including France, the Soviet Union, Egypt, China, Poland, Italy, West Germany, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and Saudi Arabia. Iran obtained weapons from about twenty different suppliers, including North Korea, Vietnam, West Germany, Libya, China, Taiwan, Chile, Syria, and Israel. By 1984 forty states had supplied weapons to the war; by 1985 fifty-three states had been implicated in one way or another. This illustrated the role that minor suppliers could play in overturning any less than unanimously supported initiatives to control the arms trade to particular conflicts.

Bilateral Initiatives: the U.S.-Soviet Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Talks

Perhaps the most sustained and high-level attempt to control the arms trade was the United States-Soviet Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) talks, which grew out of President Jimmy Carter's unilateral initiatives to throttle down U.S. arms transfers. In the early 1970s, and especially after the 1973 oil price increases, global arms transfers increased dramatically as the newly rich oil states went on massive arms buying sprees from all major suppliers. Global arms transfers between 1967 and 1970 averaged $16 billion a year; between 1971 and 1974 they had risen to 25 billion (constant 1988 dollars). Much of this increase was concentrated in the Middle East, which accounted for one-third of global arms transfers in the 1973 to 1977 period. By 1976 this change had given rise to a perception in some quarters that U.S. arms-transfer policy was out of control and that open-ended arms transfers could endanger U.S. interests by entangling the United States or its allies in a regional conflict, by reducing its technological lead, or simply by effecting a loss of political control over the arms-transfer process. As one State Department official described it: "[Secretary of State] Henry [Kissinger] used to hand weapons out like hostess gifts. We would think we had sales to Country X sealed off and then Kissinger would come back from some trip and tell us he had just agreed to supply another billion or so in arms" (quoted in Stephanie G. Neuman and Robert E. Harkavy, eds., Arms Transfers in the Modern World, p. 171).

Soon after entering office, the Carter administration followed one of its campaign promises and announced a comprehensive arms-transfer restraint policy that had both a unilateral and a multilateral dimension. President Carter in a statement on 19 May 1977 affirmed that underlying the policy was a belief that arms transfers should be regarded "as an exceptional foreign policy implement, to be used only in instances where it can be clearly demonstrated that the transfer contributes to our national security interests." This marked a radical departure from the previous policy of using arms exports relatively widely as a foreign policy tool to gain influence around the world. Specific policy changes included commitments to:

1. reduce the dollar volume of transfers
2. forswear development of weapon systems solely for export
3. prohibit coproduction agreements for major weapon systems
4. tighten regulations on the retransfer of equipment
5. refuse to introduce more advanced weapon systems into a region
6. abstain from using government personnel abroad to promote U.S. weapons.

These unilateral initiatives were implicitly tied to the success of the Carter administration's promotion of the CAT talks, which began in early 1977. The United States first approached its European allies (Britain, France, and Germany) about participating in formal discussions, but the Europeans demurred on the grounds that they wished to see prior evidence of Soviet willingness to participate. Many analysts interpreted this reluctance as self-serving, based on a desire to maintain the large volume of exports needed for the health of European arms industries.

United States-Soviet talks began in late 1977 and proceeded through four rounds. By the end of the second round, both sides had agreed on the urgency of limiting international transfers of conventional arms, and the Soviets appeared willing to pursue serious negotiations. At that point, however, a major dispute over strategy arose in the U.S. government. The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) argued that the CAT talks should focus on global and technical issues, such as developing lists of weapons or technologies that both sides would agree not to transfer outside of their alliances, in order to build a basis for future progress on the more controversial political dimensions of the problem. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and chief CAT negotiator Leslie Gelb wanted to focus on the regional and political aspects of conventional arms transfers, and to embed these discussions in the larger context of the Soviet-American détente relationship. It was decided that the latter approach would be pursued, and in the third round of discussions the United States suggested establishing working groups to develop guidelines for particular regions (Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa). When the Soviets responded by suggesting that discussions include East Asia and the Persian Gulf, the Carter administration split, with some officials (including National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski) advocating that the United States walk out of the talks if other regions were raised. The talks were suspended after no progress was made on this issue in the fourth round. On top of this, the unilateral U.S. restraints were riddled with exceptions and were coming unravelled. The attempt to lower the dollar volume of transfers was subject to curious accounting, some top-line weapons continued to be exported as they entered into service with U.S. forces, and coproduction agreements continued to be signed--all of which could be seen as violations of the CAT talks. By early 1980, the Carter restraint policy was effectively dead, although the Soviets continued to raise the issue for several years.

Although the divisions in the Carter administration were directly responsible for the failure of the CAT talks, that failure must be seen against the backdrop of the deteriorating United States-Soviet relationship. As long as conventional arms control negotiations were treated as a political exercise associated with détente, they could not remain immune from political vicissitudes. On the technical level, however, the CAT talks did make some progress. Both sides agreed on some military and technical criteria by which to judge particular types and quantities of arms, on standards by which to judge states' eligibility to receive arms, and on procedures for applying these criteria to specific regions (even if they could not discuss particular regions). These areas of agreement illustrated that it was possible for major suppliers to develop cooperatively the kinds of technical and formal restrictions that would be necessary to implement multilateral controls on the arms trade. This may serve as an important precedent, as the end of the Cold War and superpower competition in the developing world has changed the political conditions sufficiently that broader controls on the arms trade have become conceivable.

Multilateral Initiatives in the United Nations

The most prominent control efforts concerning the arms trade in the multilateral arena have focused on the establishment of a United Nations register of conventional arms transfers. But for the first two decades after World War II, the issue of controlling the arms trade did not appear on the United Nations agenda, as its efforts were directed toward other arms control and disarmament measures. The first specific proposal concerning the arms trade was made in 1965 by Malta, in the First Committee of the General Assembly. The Maltese draft resolution of 30 November mandated the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee to develop proposals for "the establishment of a system of publicity" of the global arms trade under U.N. auspices. This was the genesis of what became, in 1991, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. The 1965 proposal itself failed (with a vote of 18 in favor, 19 against, and 39 abstentions), but even the earliest debates highlighted the main arguments for and against a register.

On the positive side, advocates of a register argued that the publicity that it would provide might reduce tensions and build confidence between states by making transparent their military holdings. In addition, some argued that it might deter regimes that would otherwise devote large amounts of scarce resources to armaments by pointing a public spotlight at their activities. Here the analogy with the activities of groups such as Amnesty International in agitating against government abuses of human rights has often been cited. Finally, a register would arguably help create a standard international data base on international armaments that could contribute to a range of other arms control and confidence-building activities. On the negative side, opponents of a register argued that it discriminated against non-arms-producing states by making transfers to these states public without any concomitant transparency of domestic production and consumption. In addition, they suggested that support for a register might be a political tactic designed to avoid measures that might actually address the arms trade more directly. Finally, it was not clear that states would voluntarily submit data to a register, or that the register would add any new information to what is already publicly available (although it should be noted that information on the arms trade was, until the mid-1970s, sparse).

The issue of a register was raised again in 1967 by Denmark in an informal way in the General Assembly, and in 1968 by Denmark, Iceland, Malta, and Norway via a draft resolution. Although by then several other states seemed to support a register, the trenchant opposition expressed by developing countries such as India and Egypt ensured that no concrete action was taken. The issue lay dormant until 1976, when the Japanese raised it in the General Assembly in the form of a proposal that the secretary-general solicit the views of different countries on the international arms trade. This effort was amended to include arms production as well as transfers, but it was defeated on a procedural point by a group of countries led by India. In 1978, at the special session of the General Assembly on disarmament, many states raised the issue of the arms trade and suggested both a U.N. study and register. The final document (General Assembly Resolution S-10/2) called for negotiations to limit conventional arms transfers and consultations between suppliers and recipients on this issue. Following on this, West Germany, Italy, Britain, and Japan raised the specific issue of a register between 1981 and 1983 in different United Nations forums, and by the late 1980s a certain amount of momentum had been created around the issue.

The direct efforts that culminated in the 1991 register resolution began in 1989, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/43/75) mandating the secretary-general to initiate a study by governmental experts on the arms trade. Several conferences were held and studies commissioned, and on 9 September 1991 the experts' group submitted Study on Ways and Means of Promoting Transparency in International Transfers of Conventional Arms to the General Assembly (document A/46/301). The report discussed the different dimensions of the international arms trade, surveyed previous attempts to control it, and considered the possible modalities of measures to increase transparency. It endorsed the idea of a register as a means to promote transparency, although it recognized the obstacles this would face. Greater transparency in arms transfers was advocated as potentially increasing confidence and security between states, providing an "early warning signal" for dangerous arms buildups, reinforcing the defensive character of military structures, and representing a possible step toward more concrete supplier and recipient restraint and regional arms control measures.

By the time this report was tabled, the initiative to create a register had gathered widespread support among the industrialized states. On 14 March 1989 the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the Commission of the European Community to publish an annual report on arms exports from EC member states. In August 1990 Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze suggested that limiting international arms transfers was "a means of building a new model of security" (quoted in SIPRI Yearbook 1991, p. 220); while NATO secretary-general Manfred Wörner suggested NATO member states should examine enhanced controls on the proliferation of new military technologies. In 1991 British prime minister John Major promised British support for a U.N. arms-transfer register (a position supported by the European Community); Japanese prime minister Toshiki Kaifu pledged to introduce the register resolution at the U.N.; and France agreed (as part of a comprehensive initiative that included adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty) to the register, and suggested monitoring of unusual weapons buildups. As a result, movement toward a register was relatively swift, and on 9 December 1991 the General Assembly passed a resolution (46/36L) mandating the establishment of the Register of Conventional Arms.

The resolution was cosponsored by about forty states, with 150 votes in favor, none against, and 2 abstentions. China was, however, notably absent from the deliberations (and was not counted in the vote). The final resolution was drafted by the European Community and Japan, and the main negotiations occurred between the EC/Japan and six representatives of the nonaligned movement. A larger informal group of about fifteen "like-minded states" (including Canada, Australia, the Nordics, and the East Europeans) also had some input in the main negotiations.

Although the 1991 Gulf War perhaps accelerated the momentum toward a register, there were two underlying changes that made it possible. First, the end of the Cold War eliminated arms transfers as a means of superpower competition in the developing world. As the locus of political confrontation shifted from the East-West conflict to the North-South conflict, Northern states as a group manifested a collective interest in preventing the spread of weapons that might someday be used against them. Second, states were able to find a compromise on the most thorny issue that had doomed previous efforts: the expansion of the register to include domestic weapons holdings and procurement. In its final form, the resolution mandated the register to include not only data on international arms transfers, but also information on military holdings and domestic procurement or production. This measure helped bridge the gap between the arms-producing sponsors and the nonaligned states, many of whom had objected that a register was discriminatory as long as arms-producing states were immune to the same transparency they wished to impose on others. The resolution did, however, equivocate somewhat on the issue, as the mechanisms by which production and military holdings are to be reported remained undecided in mid-1991, and the register is intended to operate at the outset with only data on arms transfers.

The register itself requests states to submit data annually on the number of items imported and exported according to the following equipment categories:

1. battle tanks (weighing more than 16.5 metric tons with a main gun of 75-mm or larger caliber)
2. armored combat vehicles (including transport, lightly armed, and anti-tank vehicles)
3. large caliber artillery systems (including multiple rocket launchers, and all weapons with a caliber of 100-mm or more)
4. combat aircraft (including all ground attack, air defense, or multi-role aircraft equipped with destructive weapons)
5. attack helicopters (including those equipped with anti-armor, air-to-ground, or air-to-air guided weapons)
6. warships (all vessels displacing more than 850 metric tons armed for military use)
7. missiles or missile systems (including all guided missiles with a range of 25 kilometers or more, or their launching vehicles)

The information is also to include the name of the supplying or receiving state. The resolution also directs the secretary-general to review the operation of the register using these categories, in order to expand or improve the coverage, and to make provisions for the inclusion of similar data on military holdings and arms production.

While these data may appear detailed, there are some significant omissions. First, small arms and ammunition are not included (and this covers some sophisticated portable weapons), primarily because of reporting difficulties, although in local conflicts these kinds of weapons can play a large role, especially as electronic miniaturization increases the lethality of portable weapons (such as anti-aircraft missiles). Second, there is no requirement to specify the type or sophistication of the weapons transferred. Since the same model of tank or aircraft can be supplied in many variants and with significantly different armaments and capabilities, the register information by itself will not be sufficient for observers to assess the relative military capabilities of states. But together with other publicly available information, the register should allow a good picture to be built up over time of regional and national military capabilities. Finally, the mere passing of a U.N. resolution establishing a register does not guarantee its success, and its ultimate value will depend on the voluntary cooperation of U.N. member states, which will probably turn on the issue of comprehensiveness. The precedent set by the U.N. mechanism for registering military expenditures is not, however, a good one, as few states submit information and little public attention is paid to it.

Action at the United Nations concerning the arms trade has not been exclusively confined to the arms-transfer register, and a wide range of lesser measures have been taken against specific states. The most noteworthy was the arms embargo against South Africa, which was mandated by a 1963 resolution (181) of the Security Council urging member states to halt the sale and shipment of all arms, ammunition, and military vehicles to South Africa (the embargo call was expanded in Resolution 182 to include equipment and materials for the manufacture and maintenance of arms). In 1977 the embargo was made mandatory (Resolution 418), and a call for renewed adherence was contained in Resolution 558 (1984). Although numerous breaches have been reported, the embargo has been widely adhered to. In 1966 a similar embargo was instituted against Rhodesia.

The end of the Cold War triggered more active involvement of the United Nations in a range of conflict-resolution efforts, many of which have included calls for an arms embargo. During the Iraq-Kuwait conflict, several resolutions (661, 687, and 700) imposed an arms embargo against Iraq. Transfers to Yugoslavia were prohibited under Resolution 713 (25 September 1991), which attempted to enforce a cease-fire in its civil war (the European Community had already imposed its own arms embargo). The agreement of the Paris Conference on Cambodia (23 October 1991) to end the Cambodian civil war also called for "an immediate cessation of all outside military assistance to all Cambodian parties" (Article 10), to be enforced by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). U.N. attempts to mediate an end to the civil war in Somalia included a call to all member states to suspend arms deliveries (Resolution 733 of 23 January 1992). The export of arms and military equipment to Libya was prohibited by Security Council Resolution 748 (31 March 1992) as an enforcement measure against the Libyan refusal to hand over two accused terrorists (in connection with the bombing of a Pan American airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988). Finally, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution in 1991 (Resolution 46/36H, adopted without a vote) calling on all states to establish an administrative machinery to eradicate the illicit trade in arms. The duration of these measures is unspecified, but the wide range of embargoes that have been implemented suggests a renewed role for the United Nations in this field.

Measures to Control the Trade in Specific Technologies

There are at least four arms control "regimes" dealing with specific technologies that directly concern the arms trade, and that might form the basis for broader or more comprehensive measures. Two of them, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the system of export controls over sophisticated technologies conducted under the umbrella of the Western states' Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) are specifically directed at arms transfers; two others, the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the ongoing negotiations toward a chemical weapons convention (CWC), indirectly concern the arms trade. All of these efforts are supplier-side qualitative controls and do not enjoy unqualified support among possible arms recipients. Although expanded supplier controls on specific types of technologies are the most likely future measures against the arms trade, a brief overview of these existing programs will illuminate the difficulties this type of control will face.

The Missile Technology Control Regime

The most high-profile set of controls on specific technologies is the (MTCR), established in 1987 by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Italy, and West Germany, in response to a growing concern about the proliferation of ballistic-missile technologies. About twenty states in the developing world now possess some type of ballistic missile; thirteen to sixteen states possess weapons with a range greater than 200 kilometers; and approximately five states may be able to produce missiles by the year 2000. The MTCR grew out of discussions in the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized states' summits and was originally designed to restrict the export of technologies that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons (although it is also directed at thwarting potential conventional missile threats against its members). It prohibited the export by MTCR members of missile systems (or related technologies) with a range greater than 300 kilometers and a payload greater than 500 kilograms. By 1991 ten additional Western states had joined the regime, and several others (including the Soviet Union) were actively exploring membership. In addition, members have been investigating the feasibility of expanding the regime to include missiles with a shorter range and payload, especially since the most widely distributed missile, the Soviet-made Scud, has an unmodified range of 300 kilometers, just outside the current control threshold.

The technical aspects of the MTCR are quite daunting. Restricted items are listed in two categories, with different degrees of control. Category one items include complete rocket systems, individual stages, solid or liquid fuel rocket engines, reentry heat shields, guidance systems, thrust vector controls, and warhead arming and firing mechanisms. These items are the most sensitive, and MTCR member states have agreed (according to a White House fact sheet of 16 April 1987) that "there will be a strong presumption to deny such transfers," and that transfers will only be authorized with the assurance that the item will not be modified or retransferred for possible use in a nuclear-weapons delivery system. Items in category two include a wide range of materials (covering sixteen sub-items and several pages) that are components or subsystems of the first category, and particular caution is exercised with transfers of these technologies. Such items include (to give some sense of the technical detail involved) detailed specifications on particular chemical compounds that could be used in rocket fuel; descriptions of sophisticated machinery that could be used to spin or weave high-strength composite materials (such as carbon fibers or ceramics); minicomputers, microcircuits, and electronic systems that could be used at low or high temperatures or that have been radiation hardened; software that could be used to design or simulate rocket systems; and precision guidance equipment (compasses, gyroscopes, and accelerometers of a specified accuracy). The technical specifications of the systems to be restricted are detailed, in an attempt to distinguish between military and civilian systems. These guidelines, which concern only ballistic missiles, illustrate well the complexities that will be involved in agreements to restrict the proliferation of other weapons technologies.

Opinions on the success of the MTCR are mixed. Although it appears to have slowed or halted missile development programs in Egypt, Argentina, India, and Iraq (including the joint Argentinian-Egyptian-Iraqi Condor II project, which was to have produced a 1000-kilometer (600-mile) range missile with a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) payload, and which was cancelled in 1991), it enjoys only limited membership (China, North Korea, Israel, and India, for example, are not members). It also has no real enforcement mechanisms and, despite its technical detail, does not cover all systems that could contribute to a ballistic-missile capability. Leaving this aside, there are two noteworthy features of the MTCR that make it a possible future precedent for arms-transfer controls. First, it is not a formal treaty, but a voluntary agreement to harmonize national export-control policies. It thus has a flexibility that treaties often do not have. New members are admitted only with the agreement of existing members, who must be satisfied that a state is willing and able to adhere to the regulations. Second, the inducement for membership is the access to civilian technology (especially for space and satellite programs) that would otherwise be denied to nonmembers. In this sense, the "membership rules" of the MTCR can be compared to those of a street gang: in joining, one agrees not to supply lethal objects to nonmembers, not to use them against fellow members, and to trade them freely among the gang! Although not all members make their specific national regulations available, the U.S. regulations are public (see bibliography) and can be used as a guide to the current state of the MTCR.

Western Technology Transfer Controls

During the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states, plus Japan, developed a comprehensive set of technology export restrictions under the auspices of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). COCOM restrictions covered military goods, nuclear technologies and "civil goods" considered dual-use technologies (having both a civilian and a military application). Technologies on these lists, which were negotiated secretly among member states, were embargoed to all states on the approved blacklist, consisting of the Warsaw Pact states and close allies of the Soviet Union. Its targets were clear, although there were frequent disputes between the United States and western Europe on the inclusion of certain technologies that might have military applications, with the Europeans in general favoring more liberal restrictions in an attempt to encourage trade with the Soviet Union.

The COCOM was, like the MTCR, an informal harmonization of national policies; its main goal was to slow the diffusion of advanced military technologies to the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, and hence to maintain the West's lead in critical defense sectors. It was not expected to stop the flow of technologies, many of which could (given sufficient time) be copied or independently discovered. With the end of the Cold War, attention has been focused on the possibility of transforming the COCOM into a North-South technology transfer regime, or of creating a new COCOM-like entity. The controls in such a regime could harmonize the existing regimes on nuclear and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles, or they could deal with technologies not covered by these regimes (such as military electronics and communications systems, computers and guidance systems, and advanced-materials technologies).

As of 1992 no formal system of North-South military technology transfer controls was in place, although there were many informal consultations and proposals. There are, however, a number of obstacles in the way of establishing a North-South COCOM. First, the supplier-side nature of such a regime would be resented by the military have-nots in the South. Second, it would be difficult to draw a clear black-and-white distinction among states to be blacklisted, and technology controls that admit different degrees of restriction would be more difficult to implement. Third, unlike the East-West situation of relative economic autonomy, North-South economic relations are complex and interdependent, and include a wide range of civilian technology transfers. The dual-use nature of many modern technologies (such as high speed computers and precision lathes) make attempts to distinguish between purely military and civilian technologies almost impossible. Under the old COCOM, if a technology could have a significant military application, its export was restricted; a similar measure in the North-South context would not be acceptable to many Northern states and would create tremendous resentment in the South if it were seen as preventing economic development. Finally, the trend toward increased military coproduction and licensed production, and perhaps even genuinely "international" production (with components for a final product produced in many different countries), will make COCOM-like regulations difficult to achieve.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

Although it stands by itself as an arms control measure, the nuclear non-proliferation regime can also be regarded as a measure of control of the arms trade. Efforts to restrict the proliferation of nuclear weapons have been conducted under the umbrella of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which was signed in 1968 and came into force in 1970; other elements of the regime include the informal restraints of the London Suppliers' Group; the NPT-mandated activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and regional arrangements (such as the Tlatelolco and Rarotonga treaties, creating nuclear-free zones in Latin America and the South Pacific). The NPT pledged those signatories that did not possess nuclear weapons not to acquire them, and nuclear weapons states eventually to disarm. In return, a comprehensive system of supervision and safeguards on the trade in nuclear technologies was established under the IAEA, which permitted the peaceful exploitation of nuclear energy and trade in necessary technologies.

These efforts will not be discussed in detail; what is worth noting is that the diffusion of nuclear-weapon technologies has not been entirely halted. At least three states in the developing world are on or across the nuclear-weapons threshold (Israel, India, Pakistan) and several others (among them Brazil, Argentina, Iraq, Iran, South Africa, and South Korea) have at one point pursued a nuclear-weapons program. The efforts of a United Nations special commission (UNSCOM) to dismantle Iraq's nuclear-weapons program after the Persian Gulf War uncovered a wide range of unexpected activities and highlighted several loopholes in the non-proliferation system. The regime is unable to thwart completely a determined state's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Until the more radical nuclear-weapons reductions treaties of the early 1990s were in place, states in the developing world were also able to accuse Northern countries of implementing a discriminatory regime that allowed them to proliferate unchecked (via the growth in their arsenals), while preventing other states from acquiring nuclear weapons. Similar criticisms are leveled at other attempts to control specific weapons technologies monopolized by a few states.

Chemical Weapons

As of 1992, the number of states that possessed chemical weapons was estimated at between ten and twenty-five, and efforts to control their further proliferation have focused on two forums: the chemical weapons convention (CWC) negotiations under the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, and the "Australia Group" of supplier states. The draft chemical weapons convention has been under negotiation since 1980 and (if and when completed) it will prohibit the production and procurement of chemical weapons and implement strict safeguards against the trade in weapons materials and technologies. In the absence of a CWC, the main mechanism for controlling this trade has been the Australia Group, which is not a formal treaty or institution but an agreement among the twenty-three participating states to harmonize progressively their export regulations on chemical feedstocks that could be used to produce weapons.

The major obstacle to completion of a CWC concerns the degree of intrusiveness of any verification system, which would require large numbers of inspectors with relatively free access to major industrial complexes in all countries. Developing states are concerned that (as in the NPT case) the treaty not be used to hamper possible civilian uses of the technologies. From the perspective of the arms trade, the problem is unlikely to be the trade in chemical weapons (which are not normally transferred between states). The primary difficulty, however, is that several of the chemicals that would need to be controlled are not in themselves weapons, but merely precursors that can, with relatively unsophisticated techniques, be used as the basis for producing weapons. Crude chemical weapons can also in principle be produced by almost any state that possesses an advanced chemical industrial plant (to produce pesticides or pharmaceuticals, for example). Thus the problem of controlling chemical weapons highlights the link between the arms trade and arms production: controls on the trade in chemicals are unlikely to succeed unless they are coupled with a comprehensive system of monitoring and verification of possible production.

Other Initiatives to Control the Arms Trade

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, many states and multilateral forums took up the issue of controlling the arms trade, although by 1992 most of the action had been confined to declaratory measures. The first concrete proposal was launched by Canada in February 1991. It called for a United Nations-sponsored world summit to condemn the proliferation of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction and kick off a series of individual negotiations in appropriate multilateral forums, to be followed up by a concluding conference in 1995 that would mark the completion of a comprehensive network of non-proliferation regimes. Specific Canadian proposals concerning the arms trade included calling for a meeting of major arms exporters to encourage greater transparency, restraint, and consultations; a proposed information-exchange system; and a suggested commitment from the states that had signed the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty not to retransfer treaty-limited items to regions of tension. In April 1991 British Prime Minister Major pledged British support for a U.N. arms-transfer register (a position supported by the European Community). Japanese Prime Minister Kaifu pledged in May to introduce the register resolution at the U.N. in the fall. France, as part of a comprehensive initiative that included adherence to the NPT, also agreed in June to the register idea and suggested monitoring of unusual weapons buildups. Finally, after some months of internal debate, President Bush announced on 29 May a comprehensive plan to control arms proliferation and destabilizing weapons buildups in the Middle East. Various international organizations also seized the issue in June and July 1991:

The Organization of American States (OAS) adopted a resolution calling for a halt to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and for the exercise of sensitivity in transfers of arms and military technologies to regions of conflict or arms buildups.
The G-7 summit issued a declaration on arms proliferation and agreed to increase consultation, transparency, and action against egregious arms buildups.
The Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) adopted a declaration encouraging transparency and restraint in arms transfers.
The European Community leaders declared their support for a stronger nuclear non-proliferation regime, early agreement on a chemical weapons convention, and measures to harmonize their national arms export policies and to restrain conventional arms transfers.
The Harare Commonwealth summit "underlined the need to ... curb the build-up of conventional weapons beyond the legitimate requirements of self-defence" (Conference Communique, item 15).

The most important initiative was that pursued by the permanent five (P-5) members of the Security Council. On 8-9 July they met in Paris to discuss measures to control the arms trade, with special reference to the Middle East. At a follow-on meeting on 17-18 October, the P-5 established common guidelines for arms exports to all regions, agreed to exchange information on transfers to the Middle East, supported U.N. efforts to establish an arms trade register and (perhaps most important in the long run) agreed to meet at least once a year to pursue these issues. The guidelines for arms transfers that the P-5 adopted included consideration of whether the transfer meets legitimate self-defense needs or is an appropriate response to potential threats, and a pledge to avoid transfers that might prolong or aggravate existing conflicts, increase tensions, introduce destabilizing military capabilities to a region, contravene international embargoes, undermine recipients' economies, or support terrorism. Seen in the most optimistic light, the P-5's actions could mark the beginning of an informal supplier arms-transfer control regime. Certainly by early 1992 the P-5 had become the main focus for concrete action to control the arms trade, eclipsing the CSCE, the U.N., and the G-7.

The Future of Arms-Transfer Controls: Problems and Prospects

Several issues confront future attempts to control the arms trade, and a quick summary of them will serve as a provisional conclusion to a rapidly evolving issue area. The first concern is the changing nature of the arms trade, which vastly complicates the task of controlling it. Three main shifts are significant: the shift in trade from finished weapon systems toward components and technologies that have a variety of uses; the increase in the number of states in the developing world that have some (usually minimal) arms-production capabilities (including maintenance, assembly, and upgrading expertise); and the move toward genuinely transnational arms production (in which technology and components for finished weapons flow between a number of firms and states). All three imply that simple limitations on the transfer of items such as tanks, missiles, and aircraft will not deter a determined recipient, who will have multiple sources for different components and may be able to assemble them into a usable weapon. Further, these changes mean that the degree of technical detail required in any multilateral agreement to control technologies is enormous, as is illustrated by the annex to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), or by the draft chemical weapons convention.

The second issue concerns the most appropriate forums in which to develop control regimes. To date, most initiatives have evolved in an ad hoc fashion and have emerged from existing multilateral institutions (such as the MTCR emerging from the G-7 economic summits). The disadvantages of such arrangements are that: 1) they do not usually include all the relevant suppliers (Germany, for example is not one of the P-5); 2) they do not include recipient states, and 3) they result in global measures that may not be appropriate in particular regional contexts. The difficulties in controlling the arms trade are so great that it is unlikely much further progress can be made without the participation of arms recipients. Since their concerns primarily revolve around regional security issues, controls on the arms trade will have to be dovetailed with other initiatives to address regional conflicts. In the Middle East, for example, discussions of arms control (and by implication, arms transfers) have become part of the broader peace effort. In other regions of the world, controls on arms transfers could be part of peacekeeping and confidence-building measures. Here the problems of controlling arms transfers, controlling arms production, and regional arms restraints (on the model of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty) are inseparable. Controls on transfers that do not ultimately lead to regional controls on weapons arsenals will fall short of the goal of enhancing security. Further, although few states in the developing world are able to produce large quantities of weapons, the ones that can are sufficiently important (Israel, India, China, North and South Korea, Brazil, Egypt) that neighboring states will not accept controls on arms transfers that do not also protect them against uncontrolled buildups of arms from domestic production.

The third set of concerns revolves around possible new measures to control the arms trade and military expenditures. One proposal was raised in 1980 by the Brandt Commission report (Independent Commission on International Development Issues), which suggested a tax on arms transfers that would be levied by arms suppliers and devoted to development assistance. Another set of proposals under more active consideration would link foreign aid and international lending decisions to an evaluation of the military expenditures and arms acquisition policies of recipient states (either to punish high spenders or to reward low spenders). The first suggestion for this linkage goes back to 1968, when the Tunisian delegate in the U.N. debate over a transparency resolution suggested that the U.N. might refuse development assistance to any nation that spent more than 5 or 6 percent of its budget on armaments. Such a linkage would be a major departure from the current practice of donor countries and lending institutions, which have explicitly treated human and development needs separately from the security policies of states. This measure would also be discriminatory because it would only affect states that receive foreign aid or international loans; most Middle Eastern and several major South Asian states would not come under serious pressure. Other related inducements could include the withholding of most favored nation (MFN) trade status from high spenders on arms. Finally, some analysts have suggested that supplier states consider substituting security guarantees, peacekeeping forces, and conflict-resolution mechanisms for arms transfers. If the goal is to increase the security of friends and allies, in the post-Cold War world arms transfers may be the wrong means to achieve it.

This last set of concerns raises the suspicion that, in the final analysis, a focus on controlling the arms trade as a means to build confidence and security might be misplaced. On one level, arms transfers are only one part of a larger problem of global military spending, which is itself triggered by the many unresolved conflicts and insecurities around the world. On a deeper level, arms transfers are woven into the fabric of international relations and are an inevitable product of a self-help system in which states must look to their own devices for security and survival. Hence until other mechanisms for achieving security and resolving conflicts are devised, the trade in weapons and instruments of destruction is unlikely to disappear.


General Works

Overviews of this topic, most of which discuss proposals for future controls, are numerous. The most important single source is Thomas Ohlson, ed., Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security (New York, 1988), which contains chapters on different regions and initiatives. A historical survey of most efforts can be found in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), The Arms Trade with the Third World (Stockholm and New York, 1971); and from a legal perspective see Jost Delbrück, "International Traffic in Arms--Legal and Political Aspects of a Long Neglected Problem of Arms Control and Disarmament," German Yearbook of International Law 24 (1981): 114-143. Data in this article are derived from the annual publication of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (Washington, D.C.), and much useful information is contained in the chapters of the annual SIPRI Yearbook devoted to arms transfers and arms production.

Among the most accessible articles on the topic are Herbert Wulf, "Arms Transfer Control: The Feasibility and the Obstacles," in Saadet Deger and Robert West, eds., Defence, Security, and Development (New York, 1987), pp. 190-206; United Nations, Transparency in International Arms Transfers, U.N. Disarmament Topical Papers no. 3 (New York, 1990); Keith Krause, "Constructing Regional Security Régimes and the Control of Arms Transfers," International Journal 45 (Spring 1990): 386-423; Michael Brzoska, "The Arms Trade--Can It Be Controlled?" Journal of Peace Research 24 (December 1987): 327-331; Michael Brzoska, "Third World Arms Control: Problems of Verification," Bulletin of Peace Proposals 14:2 (June 1983): 165-173; Raimo Väyrynen, "Curbing International Transfers of Arms and Military Technology," Alternatives 4 (July 1978), 87-113; and Janne Nolan, "The Global Arms Market After the Gulf War: Prospects for Control," The Washington Quarterly 14 (Summer 1991): 125-138.

Regional Studies

For an overview of national regulation of arms exports, see Ian Anthony, ed., Arms Export Regulations (Oxford, 1991). On specific countries see Frederic S. Pearson, "'Necessary Evil': Perspectives on West German Arms Transfer Policies," Armed Forces and Society 12 (Summer 1986): 525-552; Frederic S. Pearson, "The Question of Control in British Defence Sales Policy," International Affairs [London] 59 (Spring 1983): 211-238; S. Scott-Morrison, "The Arms Export Control Act: An Evaluation of the Role of Congress in Policing Arms Sales," Stanford Journal of International Studies 14 (Spring 1979): 105-124; Jo L. Husbands, "How the United States Makes Foreign Military Sales," in Stephanie G. Neuman and Robert Harkavy, eds., Arms Transfers in the Modern World (New York, 1979) pp. 155-192; Edward A. Kolodziej, Making and Marketing Arms: The French Experience and its Implications for the International System (Princeton, N.J., 1987); John W. Lewis, Hua Di, and Xue Litai, "Beijing's Defense Establishment," International Security 15 (Spring 1991): 87-109. On the effort to establish a common policy within the European Community, see Harald Bauer, Michael Brzoska, and Wilfried Karl, "Coordination and Control of Arms Exports from EC Member States and the Development of a Common Arms Export Policy," working paper 54 of the Institut für politische Wissenschaft, Forschungsstelle Kriege, Rüstung und Entwicklung (Institute for Political Science, Unit for the Study of Wars, Armaments, and Development), University of Hamburg, prepared for the European Parliament, Directorate General for Research, 1991; Saferworld Foundation, Regulating Arms Exports: A Programme for the European Community (London, 1991). Canadian regulation and recent international efforts are discussed in Keith Krause, "Arms Transfers and International S ecurity: The Evolution of Canadian Policy," in Fen Osler Hampson and Christopher Maule, eds., Canada among Nations, 1992 (Ottawa, 1992), pp. 283-301.

For brief discussions of the Latin American and tripartite initiatives, see John Stanley and Maurice Pearton, The International Trade in Arms (New York, 1972), pp. 196-221. For more detail see Paul Jabber, Not by War Alone: Security and Arms Control in the Middle East (Berkeley, Calif., 1981); and Augusto Varas, "Regional Arms Control in the South American Context," in Thomas Ohlson, ed., Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security (Oxford, 1988), pp. 175-185. On the Iran-Iraq War see Keith Krause, "Transferts d'armements et gestion des conflits: le cas de la guerre Iran-Irak," Cultures & conflits 4 (hiver 1991/92): 13-40.

Control Efforts

On the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) talks see Jo L. Husbands, "The Arms Connection: Jimmy Carter and the Politics of Military Exports," in Cindy Cannizzo, ed., The Gun Merchants: Politics and Policies of the Major Arms Suppliers (New York, 1980), pp. 18-48; Barry Blechman and Janne Nolan, The U.S.-Soviet Conventional Arms Transfer Negotiations (Washington, D.C., 1987); Congressional Research Service, Changing Perspectives on U.S. Arms Transfer Policy, a report for the Subcommittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 97th Congress, 1st session (Washington, D.C., 1981); and Comptroller General of the United States, Arms Sales Ceiling Based on Inconsistent and Erroneous Data (Washington, D.C., 1978).

On the history of U.N. efforts to create an arms register, see Mary Macdonald, "Arms Control Phoenix: Building Transparency through an Arms Transfer Register," Ph.D. diss., Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, 1991. The report of the U.N. "experts group" is available as the Study on Ways and Means of Promoting Transparency in International Transfers of Contentional Arms, report of the Secretary-General to the United Nations General Assembly, A/46/301, 9 September 1991. The register itself was established by U.N General Assembly Resolution 46/36L (9 December 1991), "General and Complete Disarmament: International Arms Transfers. Transparency in Armaments." Concerning the embargo against South Africa, see Signe Landgren, Embargo Disimplemented: South Africa's Military Industyr (New York, 1989).

For good overviews on ballistic missiles and the MTCR see Steve Fetter,"Ballistic Missiles and Weapons of Mass Destruction: What Is the Threat? What Should Be Done?" International Security 16 (Summer 1991): 5-42; Martin Navias, Ballistic Missile Proliferation in the Third World (London, 1990); Aaron Karp, "Ballistic Missile Proliferation," in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), SIPRI Yearbook, 1990 (Oxford and New York, 1990) pp. 369-391; Robert Shuey, Missile Proliferation: A Discussion of U.S. Objectives and Policy Options, report 90-120F of the Congressional Research Service (Washington, D.C., 1990); and Janne E. Nolan, Trappings of Power: Ballistic Missiles in the Third World (Washington, D.C., 1991). U.S. regulations in place at time of writing can be found in "Foreign Policy Controls on Equipment and Technical Data Used in the Development of Nuclear-Capable Missiles: Revisions," Federal Register (56 FR 29425), 56:124, 27 June 1991.

On nuclear and chemical weapons see Aspen Strategy Group, New Threats: Responding to the Proliferation of Nuclear, Chemical, and Delivery Capabilities in the Third World (Lanham, Md., 1990); John Simpson, "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime as a Model for Conventional Armament Restraint," in Thomas Ohlson, ed., Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security, pp. 227-240; Harold Müller, "Prospects for the Fourth Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty," SIPRI Yearbook 1990, pp. 553-586; Kathleen Bailey, Doomsday Weapons in the Hands of the Many: The Arms Control Challenge of the '90s (Urbana, Ill., 1990). On the activities of the "Australia Group" and the chemical and biological weapons convention negotiations, see the relevant sections in annual editions of the SIPRI Yearbook. On a more academic level, see Roger K. Smith, "Explaining the Non-Proliferation Regime: Anomalies for Contemporary International Relations Theory," International Organization 41 (Spring 1987): 253-281; and Trevor McMorris TATE, "Regime-Building in the Non-Proliferation System," Journal of Peace Research 27 (November 1990): 399-414. On the overall issue of controlling the trade in military technology see Janne E. Nolan, Trappings of Power: Ballistic Missiles in the Third World (Washington, D.C., 1991).

-- Keith R. Krause

Опубликовано 20 сентября 2007 года

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