Big Day for Arms Control

That President Bush, he just can’t get a break, can he?

On what should have been a positive day in the sea of negativity that is Bush’s second term, North Korea opened its nuclear facility in Yongbyon to IAEA inspectors. This is the first step in a lengthy disarmament process which, it is hoped, could ultimately normalize relations between DPRK and the U.S.

This good news, however, is likely to be overshadowed by Russia’s President Putin announcing that Russia is suspending the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which has reduced the number of tanks, combat vehicles and fighter aircraft on the European continent. While this move seems drastic, Russia has not committed to withdrawl from the treaty; the primary foreseeable change is the halting of physical inspections of military installations. Changes to the treaty have been on hold since 1999: NATO countries have been delaying ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty in response to Russia’s failure to withdraw forces from Moldova and Georgia.

Given these developments, where is arms control in the 21st century headed? Can we look forward to U.S-Russian cooperation again once Bush has left office? Or is Putin foreshadowing a chilling of East-West relations in military and security affairs? And has Korea indeed come around? Discuss.

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2 Responses to Big Day for Arms Control

  1. madmouser says:

    I think Russia feels like inserting their new found authority and becoming more like the soviet Union. Korea is probably playing games for goodies.

  2. Mark says:

    Korea is almost always playing games for goodies. Nevertheless, every time the DPRK engages with the rest of the world, and every time Kim Jung-Il speaks with the rest of the world in a manner which seems ‘reasonable’, everyone involved gets one step closer to thinking of these kinds of interactions as the norm. Sure, he’s making a play, and everyone knows it. I look at this in the same way as the kid who tells her parents that she’s going to go out and play in the mud, and when her father objects, her mother replies “well, at least she’s playing outside.” This might not be quite what we had in mind, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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