Preventing Biological Warfare: The Failure of American Leadership

Preventing Biological Warfare: The Failure of American Leadership

Preventing Biological Warfare: The Failure of American Leadership

Preventing Biological Warfare: The Failure of American Leadership

Synopsis

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention entirely prohibits biological warfare, but it has no effective verification mechanism to ensure that the 140-plus States Parties are living up to their obligations. From 1995-2001 the States Parties attempted to negotiate a Protocol to the Convention to remedy this deficiency. On 25 July 2001 the United States entirely rejected the final text which would probably have been acceptable to most other states. The book investigates how this disaster came about, and the potential consequences of the failure of American leadership.

Excerpt

On 25 July 2001 the United States announced that it could not accept a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention which had been some ten years in the making. This essentially brought the negotiations to an end as some other major countries were unlikely to accept a Protocol that the US would not join. Though the US was clearly not solely responsible for the failure of the negotiations, it is probable that agreement could have been reached had the world's only superpower taken a strong, consistent, leadership role throughout. This book, which began as a study of the negotiations, is therefore necessarily also concerned with the deeply ambiguous role of the United States and its responsibility for the failure to seize this opportunity to help prevent biological warfare.

The book is dedicated to David Yates. David took his BA in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the early 1990s and was the joint recipient of the Edward Lynn Memorial Prize for the best BA final year student in the Department in 1993. He then moved to the University of Lancaster and in 1995 completed an MA in Defence and Security Studies which included a dissertation on ‘Verification of the Biological Weapons Convention: Learning from the Chemical Weapons Convention’. Following work on security issues for the International Security Information Service (a London-based nongovernmental organization), David returned to Bradford and was awarded a University Scholarship for his PhD studies. He was studying the negotiation of the Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention at the time of his sudden death in July 1997. This was a grievous loss to all of us who knew him personally and, further, to the scholarly community more generally because he seemed destined for an outstanding academic career. It is fitting that our annual MA prize in the Department of Peace Studies is named after him.

This book originated from my discussions with David in the first year of his PhD We had no idea in 1996/97 that the negotiations he was intent on studying would drag on until mid-2001 (and may still not be at an end). We were convinced, however, of the need for a sophisticated view of verification to be applied to this complex area of arms control. I hope that some of those discussions and some of David's drafts are reflected in this manuscript. After David's death my own work became . . .

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