The Reluctant Giant of Arms Control

Journal article

Ozga, Deborah A. (2003) The Reluctant Giant of Arms Control, Security Dialogue 34 (1).

Over the past few years, the United States has gone from being a leader in terms of traditional arms control to being a reluctant giant. While its cooling in attitude towards various weapons of mass destruction control regimes can be attributed to a wide range of reasons that vary from case to case, a number of factors are identified in this article that explain the USA’s broader allergy to arms control. Although political leadership and the domestic political environment are the most apparent reasons, systemic factors – including the emergence of a unipolar structure and the USA’s past experience of arms control – are also having a strong influence on US behavior. The implication is that the international community will need to demonstrate greater leadership, make some adjustments to its approach to arms control, and establish a deeper and more unified approach if it is to integrate the United States into the comity.

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