Are Arms Treaties Strong Enough to Prevent Disaster?



Are Arms Treaties Strong Enough to Prevent Disaster?
Louise Blouin Foundation - The Metropolitan Club
The most recent Defense Intelligence Agency threat report presented to the U.S. Senate highlighted two groups of threats that, at a conceptual level, confront not only the United States, but are endemic to global security. The first group can be understood as a traditional or linear threat calculus that has devolved from the binary opposition and threat of nuclear catastrophe –as defined by the Cold War as a set of threats attached to regional conflicts or even direct tensions or conflicts between nations. Arguably, the most pressing regional issue confronting the international community today can be seen as the proliferation of nuclear weapons, accompanied by the weaponization of Iran, as well as the persistence of civil war and internal conflict within the Middle East and central Africa. The second conceptual group can be understood as non-linear or asymmetrical threats, typified by the 9/11 terrorist attacks or the outbreak of SARS, which require different forms of governmental preparedness and response. Despite the clear differences between these two forms of threat, both require active security and defensive postures that are engaged internationally at the diplomatic and militaristic level. How, then, can nations manage these two priorities? Where can resources be found to satisfy such burdens? How can systems of cooperation and global governance be established in order to adequately share resources and face threats? How can major threats, such as nuclear proliferation, be effectively curtailed in order to phase out the notion of a true existential threat?