Director's Reflections: First Quarter 2010

Jan 11 2011
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Last Friday, we released edition No. 131 of Trust & Verify, and the first edition in our anniversary year. The New Year brings with it many exciting prospects and opportunities, not least for arms control and disarmament. A few weeks ago, the US Senate voted to give its consent to the New START treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. While the vote was tight, the treaty itself received endorsements from nearly every one of the United States’ national security community. This endorsement indicated how important the concept of transparent accountability is in non-proliferation and disarmament matters. The US arms control agenda is now beset by post-vote exhaustion. A Republican memo circulated around Capitol Hill after the vote noted that the ‘CTBT [the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty] is effectively off the table’. 

Others see it differently. ‘The New START vote suggests it is possible for the Senate to reconsider and come together around the CTBT’, wrote Daryl Kimball, the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, in 22 December 2010 post-vote commentary. Without doubt, the CTBT will be thoroughly debated in the coming year. However, many other challenges will also remain on the agenda. To the worry of many, Iran’s nuclear programme continues to develop without legal constraints. The North Korean government has unveiled a uranium enrichment plant, with worrying security implications for the Korean Peninsula. India and Pakistan continue to slowly but surely build up their arsenals.

The checklist in respect to environmental agreements remains steep. December saw some progress in climate talks at the UN’s Cancun summit, but there remains a long way yet to go in developing the architecture of the regime. What’s more, the level of ambition in climate mitigation still needs to be raised significantly.

Last changed: Jan 11 2011 at 6:14 PM