The Republican Administration is ready to back out of the verification and enforcement protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention
May 21, 2001 1:29 AM   Subscribe

The Republican Administration is ready to back out of the verification and enforcement protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, only their latest move after abandoning talks with North Korea on ending their nuclear and missile programs, slashing assistance to Russia for dismantling their nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons infrastructure in the new budget, going ahead with plans to unilaterally abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that underlies nuclear arms control, and preparing to place weapons in outer space. It's not a secret that the Administration is leaning toward tearing down the entire edifice of strategic arms control and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but you would think there would be more of an outcry that the Republicans seem hell-bent on making the world a noticeably less safe place as quickly as possible... especially taking into account the other foreign policy faux-pas they've committed in the past four months.
posted by SenshiNeko (15 comments total)
And guess who we're turning the nukes on first? No, not the Scientologists. (They're second.) We Republicans are going to get you Liberals if it's the last thing we do! And it will be! Muahahaha!
posted by Danelope at 2:17 AM on May 21, 2001

It seems to me that perhaps Dubya is taking a page out of Putin's playbook, doubling the cost of the horse initially just to end up at the desired price after dickering. A very scary game to play in military brinksmanship.
posted by roboto at 2:30 AM on May 21, 2001

posted by darukaru at 2:41 AM on May 21, 2001

I want on that thing that they're sending to Mars.

posted by dong_resin at 2:47 AM on May 21, 2001

But why would the US be so foolish? Follow the money.

The US doesn't want to sign anything that will allow other countries to snoop around US business sites. As that first link says, America has "worked to limit the scope of visits by foreign inspectors in order to protect American pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, which dominate the worldwide industry and are concerned with protecting their trade secrets." So there's going to be no US support for the Biological Weapons Convention.

Money is also, of course, why the US is cutting assistance to Russia and won't have anything to do with environmental agreements. Even decisions seemingly unrelated to money are, I suspect, mainly about money.

North Korea, for instance, is financially uninteresting to the US -- it has nothing the US wants and it is potentially a vast consumer of foreign aid, something the Bush League hates to think about -- so the US administration has no interest in doing anything but leaving North Korea alone. North Korea is also a great excuse to keep thousands of US military personnel in dozens of installations on the mainland. If business interests don't care about opening up North Korea and the military boys are quite happy to maintain current budgets related to South Korea, nothing will change there.

When you wonder why the US does what it does, always remember that G. Dubya Bush, MBA, is driving the SUV.
posted by pracowity at 4:31 AM on May 21, 2001

From a UK perspective Bush's foreign policies are pretty worrying, his government's increasingly isolationist stance is surely dangerous.

However, his election has put paid to the idea that all politicians and parties are essentially the same - it's just a shame that it has taken a rabid, isolationist, right winger to prove this.
posted by johnny novak at 5:24 AM on May 21, 2001

The real shame is that you liberal Britons are so blindly, self-righteously certain of your own political brilliance that when forced to deal with those that do not join in ideological lockstep with you, you're reduced to using demonizing hate speech such as "rabid isolationist right winger" instead of making any legitimate comments.

Actually, it's not fair of me to say that about Britons. There are plenty of Americans just as willing to stoop to such rhetoric ... to offer nothing but fear and apocalyptic fire-and-brimstone bullshit.
posted by aaron at 6:52 AM on May 21, 2001

Since half the world seems to think that we are isolationists and the other half feels we're imperialist oppressors it would seem we've found a nice balance.
posted by revbrian at 6:59 AM on May 21, 2001

Geez Aaron, you make liberal sound like it's a bad thing!
Fire and brimstone bullshit, eh?
Are you missing the days of sensible domestic and foreign policies when people didn't have to worry about chicken hawks starting a war at any minute?
And since when does looking out for the best interests of the military industrial complex have anything to do non-self-righteous political brilliance?
posted by nofundy at 8:27 AM on May 21, 2001

revbrian: the best way to balance it is to use the word 'unilateralist'.
posted by Mocata at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2001

aaron: I wouldn't worry too much about the liberal Britons. In practical foreign-policy terms, the UK elites are in complete ideological lockstep with the rabid right-wingers you so admire.
posted by Mocata at 9:18 AM on May 21, 2001

The sky is not falling. A lot of people in Realist security establishments would argue that the best interests of the military industrial complex lie in strategic (and by extension, selective) armament rather than disarmament - multipolar systems being more stable than unipolar systems, and so on. Russian nuclear power has already been dismantled to a large extent by virtue of the fact that the Cold War era command and control systems are in total disarray and much of their nuclear weaponry is functionally useless as a result. Biological and chemical warfare has never really been condoned by any military establishment, U.S. or otherwise, as biological and chemical weapons have devastating effects on both sides in short-range theater warfare. Development of these sorts of weapons will continue and fighting escalation in this area is not a process that will ever be the outcome of public strategic arms talks.

I don't necessarily agree with everything the Bush administration is doing, but these policies are certainly not anything new to anyone that has studied U.S. military history and i think "rabid isolationist right winger" is a bit extreme. To rephrase an issue a previous poster raised: which is worse - being labelled imperialist oppressors hellbent on total hegemonic control or rabid isolationists? We can't win.
posted by lizs at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2001

Wow! This topic is Run-On-alific and Troll-tastic! :-)

The New York Times thanks you...
posted by fooljay at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2001

When I saw the headline while sitting in Dublin Airport, while reading a piece on (neutral) Ireland's recent election to the UN Security Council, I thought of all the work that goes into multilateral negotiations: processes that take years, all the while having to deal with considerable shifts in the political ideologies of individual signatories. Imagine, for instance, working on international treaties as a permanent civil servant in Rome, where the government's colour changes with the seasons...

These things can't help but be gradualist, tip-toeing towards a consensus that can survive the oscillations of domestic politics. So you can't call that "ideological lockstep", especially in comparison with a unilateralism that's ideological by definition. It's foreign policy, something which is usually the area of government least affected by party-political ideology, simply because it relies upon the work of staff whose careers, by necessity, aren't subject to such fluctuations. (It certainly wasn't a "liberal" regime under Thatcher that passed the Single European Act; but many of the same civil servants also worked on incorporating the Convention of Human Rights into UK law.)

The necessity for some sort of ideological dilution apparently escapes the defence hawks of the Bush administration, if not Colin Powell; its impact on multilateral agreements comes across like a keg party in a college library. But then again, frat boys tend not to care about the people trying to get work done.
posted by holgate at 6:03 PM on May 21, 2001

'why build one when you can have two for twice the price' pracowity: IF is your...well fault here...south Korea has everything to gain economically...and we are interested in them. didn't G.M. just buy a huge chunk of Daewoo? I've talked to guys who served on the dmz (38th parallel?) and that is cowboy land, a friggin watered down vision of the Somme on a bright day. What, is General "ripper" calculating beans with his peoples lives? (TFNG, yes?)These are regional issues. If 'Putinland' can start a space junket then they can flip some of the bill. (bravo tray roboto, tis a very risky game, but the message is slick aint it?) and here we are bitchin about gasoline. I spent $78 to travel 1700 miles in a mid-sized, late model pontiac, broke as a joke but hey, thats the world Billy Durant left us. I have a smile(So should you)
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 PM on May 21, 2001

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