Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

It's No Time to Let Up on Arms Control

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

It's No Time to Let Up on Arms Control

Article excerpt

RECENT news reports from Iran, Bosnia, and Georgia have been troubling reminders of the cliched truth that the "new world order" is still dangerously shaky, particularly because the world is rife with weapons of mass destruction.

The Iranians supposedly are developing chemical and biological weapons programs with help from China and North Korea; the Bosnians are threatening to use poison gas against the Serbs; and there reportedly was an incident between Abkhazian forces and Georgian troops involving a biological weapons laboratory.

While these reports are troubling, they are not surprising. The threat of chemical and biological weapons has undergone significant change in the post-Soviet world. The threat is now truly global (rather than bi-polar) proliferation. Technological developments have broadened the spectrum of potential chemical and biological weapons; and the volatility of the world political environment has probably lowered the threshold for use of these weapons.

As chairman of a congressional special inquiry into the chemical and biological threat, I have recently completed two weeks of meetings with military and arms-control officials in Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany.

Prior to those visits, we were briefed extensively by an array of United States government agencies and defense specialists.

While our panel's recommendations for consideration by the full House Armed Services Committee are not yet finalized, it is clear that the US must pursue a three-pronged response to the changing threat of chemical and biological weapons. …

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