Costs of Disarmament--Disarming the Costs: Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Rearmament

Costs of Disarmament--Disarming the Costs: Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Rearmament

Costs of Disarmament--Disarming the Costs: Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Rearmament

Costs of Disarmament--Disarming the Costs: Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Rearmament

Synopsis

This study evaluates the costs and benefits of nuclear arms control treaties between the US and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. The report finds that, although the implementation and verification of nuclear arms control regimes can be expensive, these costs pale into insignificance compared to the costs and risks of nuclear rearmament and the consequences of a nuclear arms race.

Excerpt

Time and again in discussions on disarmament, experts repeat the myth that disarmament is a costly business. So costly in fact that we should not be surprised that progress in disarmament is so slow, the costs are assumed to be one of the driving factors in states reluctance to disarm.

In her first UNIDIR book on the issue, Costs of DisarmamentRethinking the Price Tag: A Methodological Inquiry into the Costs and Benefits of Arms Control, Susan Willett demonstrated how many of the costs of disarmament have been wrongly attributed. Yes there are disarmament costs in verification and treaty conferences and so on, but the largest costs of all—the costs of dismantling the weapons—belong chiefly to the costs of the weapons themselves and therefore to those who made them or commissioned them. The dismantling of weapons is a part of the life-cycle of the weapons and should not be added to the burden of disarmament. Any additional constraints imposed by a disarmament treaty such as storage and increased urgency, are of course disarmament costs and need to be factored in.

As part of the UNIDIR research programme on treaty implementation, Susan Willett conducted research on the costs of disarmament. This second publication, Costs of DisarmamentDisarming the Costs: Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Rearmament, attempts to evaluate the costs and benefits of the nuclear arms control treaties between the United States of America and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. Comparing the costs of the nuclear arms race with the costs of arms control shows clearly the benefits of the latter. And these are just the fiscal benefits. Harder to ascertain are the security and environmental benefits.

The study shows that as a result of restrictions on nuclear forces agreed to in START, the United States accrued savings of roughly US$ 1.52 billion over the period 1991–2001, once the costs of implementing the treaty, including those incurred to support implementation activities in the former Soviet Union and successor states, are taken into account. This compares more than favourably with the approximately US$ 2.63 trillion of military expenditure disbursed by the United States over the same period. Other . . .

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