THE BIOLOGICAL and Toxin Weapons Convention, a treaty outlawing the development and production of germ weapons, lacked effective verification and compliance mechanisms from the moment it entered into force in 1975. A series of review conferences has tried to improve it, without much success. The eighth conference, just concluded in Geneva, fell flat.
In an article in Foreign Affairs, Michael Krepon, a co-founder of the Stimson Center, describes a period of “unparalleled achievement” from Ronald Reagan’s second term through the end of Bill Clinton’s. This included, among other things, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, two strategic arms limitations treaties, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe(CFE) treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention , the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and threat-reduction measures under the Nunn-Lugar legislation, as well as the 1991 initatives that unilaterally pulled back tactical nuclear weapons. Now, Mr. Krepon says, “all of this work is in peril” in a time of “great unraveling.”
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