Disarmament Essay, Research Paper

As the world exits a century which saw two World Wars destroy titans and all but decimate entire generations of young men, peaceful relations have become more crucial to maintaining world order and altruism. The nuclear arms race of the Cold War has ended thankfully without war or significant destruction. However, the only way to maintain absolute world peace is the disarmament process. War is an effective method to assert will, but with the advancements that have been made in weaponry and war, it comes with it a cost we can nary afford to pay.

Approximately 120 million landmines remain buried and armed in 71 countries worldwide. Two to five million new landmines are planted each year. In particularly war-torn countries such as Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola, and Bosnia, millions of landmines remain. Even in countries that haven t seen war in years, such as Vietnam and El Salvador, mines still pose a threat.

Landmine clearance is incredibly expensive, labor-intensive, and inefficient. Due to high metal content of the soil in some parts of the world, metal detectors are rendered nearly worthless. In areas where detectors can be used, they often turn up war debris and are little help. Though mines cost only $3-$30 to produce and arm, finding and disarming them may cost up to $1,000.

Furthermore, minefields prevent humanitarian organizations from providing aid to those who may be in need; they restrict accessibility, and endanger those who do enter suspected mine zones.

Landmine casualties and injuries are devastating and unnecessary. Landmine victims require four times as much medical care as those suffering from other war-related injuries, perhaps because those other injuries often kill. Treating a landmine victim costs $3,000-$5,000, a significant amount in developing countries. 2,000 people a month, about 25,000 people a year are maimed or killed by land mines. Of those, 60% percent live to require medical care. Save for action in Korea, the U.S. uses only smart mines: mines that disarm or destroy themselves after 48 hours; in contrast to dumb mines that stay armed for years until detonated, often by a civilian.

The Ottawa Declaration was signed in December 1997, in Canada. This unprecedented ban was signed by 121 countries, not including the U.S., China, Russia, South Korea, and Israel. This treaty bans the use, production, stockpiling, and trading of antipersonnel mines. The U.S., citing its need to protect 37,000 troops fighting in Korea, refused to sign.

The acknowledged nuclear powers are: The U.S., Britain, France, the Russian Federation, and China. Furthermore, some 58 countries have not complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act (NPT), and its not known what weapons these countries possess. Specifically, Israel, Pakistan, India, and China have refused to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency regulations. It s not known who is producing weapons for certain, but it seems to be the nuclear states and those not complying with IAEA regulations.

The Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty passed through General Assembly December 1995, and was ratified in early 1996…. France has defied this moratorium on nuclear tests by making five nuclear tests in late 1995, taking place under Morora atoll in the South Pacific, amid international outcry. China likewise has nuclear tested recently; in 1994 they tested in its test site in the Lop Nor desert.

There are nuclear-weapon free zones in the South Pacific, its uninhabited islands often an attractive test site, and in Antarctica, where the icy tundra is to be used for peaceful purposes only.

The UN register of conventional weapons is an old idea, first used prior to WWII in the League of Nations. The register includes data on seven categories of conventional weapons transferred internationally. It was adopted December 9, 1991. Information contributed is accessible to all countries. It is that the Register will encourage countries to develop national procedures for reviewing arms transfers, nationally and abroad. While general and complete disarmament is somewhat ludicrous at this point, the UN register is a good start.

The Chemical Weapons Convention is a global treaty that bans the production, acquisition, stockpiling, trade, and use of chemical weapons, ratified April 29, 1997. It is suspected that some 20 countries are developing chemical weapons; they are relatively cheap and an effective killer. The CWC requires that all parties that possess chemical weapons destroy their stockpiles by 2007.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention(BWC), in 1975, created a ban on the production, trade, development, and stockpiling of toxins or pathogens that have no peaceful purpose was ratified by 138 countries.

The U.N., and the world, has a responsibility to disarm itself as greater and greater destruction results from war.

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