Lustgarten, ​Laurence (2020) Law and the Arms Trade: Weapons, Blood and Rules. Oxford: Hart. 479 pp., index.

​ISBN: 978-1-5099-2229-1

Nicholas Marsh

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

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The arms trade lies at the intersection of defence, security and industrial policy. It is notable that prior to Lustgarten's book, the last comparative study of how the arms trade is regulated was published in 1991. Since then governance of the arms trade has mirrored global trends. What was once the preserve of national governments has become internationalized, with important roles being played by the EU and other regional organizations, and by several agreements at UN level, not least the Arms Trade Treaty. These developments are in no small part a consequence of campaigning by civil society, which has developed effective international coalitions which have raised awareness of the humanitarian consequences of weapons proliferation and successfully called for reform of how the trade is governed. Lustgarten's book describes and explains these trends. His book opens with a section outlining the humanitarian problems associated with weapons proliferation. He next provides a useful summary of how governments approach arms trade regulations – which is to identify, balance and attempt to mitigate risks inherent in each individual transfer. The main part of the book contains an analysis of the export regulations of eight of the largest exporters: China, France, Germany, India, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. These sections do not just describe laws and regulations, but also cover political controversies concerning the arms trade in each country. Lustgarten examines the international level as well, and he explains the EU's export control regime and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. Overall, this book is recommended not just to people interested in the arms trade, but also for anyone concerned with how governance of complex international issues actually works.