Arms Control and Supplier Restraints: A UK Perspective
ARMS control is a process which has undergone very radical change since 1990. In essence it has become, in the East-West context, dialogue, rather than the counting of weaponry-though with the possibility of unilateral action on reductions. In the North- South context the main concern has become non-proliferation.
As regards supplier constraints, there are agreements, such as the NPT and BTWC which limit proliferation whilst being recognizable as arms-control arrangements. Under these, the parties agree not to supply, nor to seek to acquire, the capability concerned. On the other hand, there are also a number of regimes, not based on treaties, which seek to impose constraints upon the supply of weapons of mass destruction, or the potential to create them, without any link to formal arms-control treaties. Classic examples here are the MTCR and the Australia Group. In essence these are arrangements between supplier countries to limit and control transfer to others by national legislation.
Certain new potential restraining regimes, or contributions towards such regimes, are under consideration at the moment-- for example, the discussions amongst the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. These may be expected to focus mainly on conventional weaponry, whose proliferation is not otherwise generally covered, rather than on weapons of mass destruction. However, we can expect to hear calls for restraint in all forms of proliferation whenever statesmen are gathered together for summits or multilateral exchanges.
In this chapter, I shall consider arms control and supplier constraints in turn, and attempt to provide a UK perspective on the____________________