Preventing Chemical Weapons
Arms Control and Disarmament as the Sciences Converge
Michael Crowley, Paul Rogers, Ralf Trapp, Jeremy Littlewood, Malcolm Dando
The life and chemical sciences are in the midst of a period of rapid and revolutionary transformation that will undoubtedly bring societal benefits but also have potentially malign applications, notably in the development of chemical weapons. Such concerns are exacerbated by the unstable international security environment and the changing nature of armed conflict, which could fuel a desire by certain States to retain and use existing chemical weapons, as well as increase State interest in creating new weapons; whilst a broader range of actors may seek to employ diverse toxic chemicals as improvised weapons. Stark indications of the multi-faceted dangers we face can be seen in the chemical weapons attacks against civilians and combatants in Iraq and Syria, and also in more targeted chemical assassination operations in Malaysia and the UK.
Using a multi-disciplinary approach, and drawing upon an international group of experts, this book analyses current and likely near-future advances in relevant science and technology, assessing the risks of their misuse. The book examines the current capabilities, limitations and failures of the existing international arms control and disarmament architecture – notably the Chemical Weapons Convention – in preventing the development and use of chemical weapons. Through the employment of a novel Holistic Arms Control methodology, the authors also look beyond the bounds of such treaties, to explore the full range of international law, international agreements and regulatory mechanisms potentially applicable to weapons employing toxic chemical agents, in order to develop recommendations for more effective routes to combat their proliferation and misuse. A particular emphasis is given to the roles that chemical and life scientists, health professionals and wider informed activist civil society can play in protecting the prohibition against poison and chemical weapons; and in working with States to build effective and responsive measures to ensure that the rapid scientific and technological advances are safeguarded from hostile use and are instead employed for the benefit of us all.