Weapons Control Regimes
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of weapons control regimes - voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary weapons control agreements mostly result from a situation of a certain balance of military power among the participants. Another important factor is that none of the parties expects to gain any serious short term advantage by continuing the armament. Often there is also a relation to technological stagnation in certain weapons categories.
An involuntary weapons control regime is of a totally different kind. It is generally the dictate of the victorious parties after capitulation or based on an agreement of all the major powers to stop trading certain weapons or isolating certain countries.
Anyway, the major point of any weapons control regime is credibility. In the case of an agreement the very fact of successful negotiations provide some initial trust, which can be supported by certain measures of regular consultations, exchange of information or inspection teams. An involuntary weapons control regime cannot build on trust of any kind. The oppressed country will try everything to overcome the restrictions.
In the case of an involuntary weapons control regime the credibility depends totally on the design of the regulations applied and the weakness of the targeted country. In the concrete case of Iraq the control of its income and imports is the main source of credibility. To a certain extend this control can be substituted by rigid and intense weapons inspections in Iraq.
UNSCOM is the most intrusive verification regime ever devised: it combines many of the verification elements of existing arms control regimes with aspects of verification in an adversarial situation. Most arms control verification regimes begin with a basic assumption of compliance: UNSCOM has broken new ground. Its history is therefore worth detailed review as the international community moves into a phase of arms control in which more rigorous regimes may be required.
The most repressive weapons control regime ever was only possible to impose because Iraq was forced into capitulation and had to accept the UNSC resolutions. The weapons control regime not only violates the Iraqi sovereignty in many ways but exterminates masses of Iraqi people. But even this tight arms control regime, integrated with an equally tight trade control regime, reinforced and maintained by frequent and massive bombing campaigns, failed to make sure that Iraq doesn't have any of the targeted weapons programs. Repeatedly Iraq proved to be able to bypass regulations and hide informations and activities. We should welcome Iraqi rearmament successes as important steps in its fight to regain full sovereignty. The UNSCOM failure means nothing less than a fundamental discrediting of involuntary arms control regimes in general. This was a major achievement of Iraq.
Apart from mutual trust and voluntary restrictions it is impossible to control the proliferation of ABC-weapons and their delivery systems. The successful nuclear test explosions of India and Pakistan and the North Korean ballistic missile tests made clear that the spreading of non-conventional weapons and ballistic missiles cannot be prevented.
ABC munition and warheads with medium or long range ballistic missiles could indeed provide a certain level of deterrence against the military aggressions and assaults of hegemonial powers with superior military forces. This is especially so given the ineffectiveness of current ABM defense. Moreover, it will take a long time and plenty of resources to substantially increase the accuracy of ABM systems.
The real issue behind the UN sanctions is the denial of Iraqi sovereignty as part of the efforts to recolonize parts of the world. Iraq has to decide for itself how to rebuild its military forces to meet its needs of self-defense. A certain balance of military power is a necessary precondition for any lasting peace and cooperation. Meaning there can be no peace in the region without a militarily strong Iraq. But a regional balance of power is not in the interest of the U.S.A.