Jul 312014

A former official at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons describes how an effective international system to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction was sabotaged by the US government. Can the resulting ‘Darwinisation’ of international relations be halted?

I worked with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague for nine years, ultimately as senior editor, inspired by the feeling that I was participating in a historically unique disarmament and non-proliferation venture. The essence of the OPCW resides in its verification regime, which gives the OPCW Secretariat far-reaching powers to verify whether each and every member state is complying with its undertaking to abolish all existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and not to develop new ones. (All previous international disarmament treaties and agreements had foundered on the fact that member states declared their opposition to weapons of mass destruction, and then proceeded to secretly develop them anyway.)
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