CAMDEN — As Iran’s nuclear enrichment programs spark controversy and make headlines, the complex history of major arms control treaties since the 1960s is receiving fresh attention in a new book by a Rutgers–Camden scholar.
Marie Isabelle Chevrier, an internationally-respected weapons and arms control scholar and professor of public policy at Rutgers University–Camden, has authored a new book that examines the complex history of major arms control treaties since the early 1960s.
In Arms Control Policy: A Guide to the Issues (Praeger, 2012), Chevrier offers readers a broad understanding of the ways in which arms control agreements were negotiated and implemented during the Cold War and beyond.
The negotiation and implementation of arms control treaties are a central aspect of international security and “many nation states have sought to eliminate or outlaw the use of particular weapons for centuries,” Chevrier says.
In her book, Chevrier focuses on “bilateral and multilateral efforts to achieve security through negotiated agreements between potential adversaries or among the community of nations since the dawn of the nuclear age.”
President John F. Kennedy once predicted that by the end of the 20th century, up to 25 nation states would have nuclear arms.
“Today, there are nine, so I’d say the Non-Proliferation Treaty is working reasonably well,” Chevrier says.
Described in detail in her book, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The treaty isn’t without its issues, however. Four of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea —are non-parties to the treaty. Furthermore, non-nuclear weapon states have expressed frustration with the pace of nuclear disarmament.
The book also provides an overview of the obligations contained in the bilateral U.S.-Soviet/Russian agreements, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Treaty to Ban Land Mines, and the Treat to Ban Cluster Munitions.
“We have a fraction of deployed nuclear weapons and a fraction of nuclear weapons that could be deployed compared to what existed in the 1970s and 1980s,” Chevrier says.
Today, the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program has escalated as American and European officials believe it is planning to build nuclear weapons while the nation asserts that it is untrue.
“It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Chevrier says. “Iran has been enriching uranium for a long time. There are levels of enrichment that trigger attention. Nuclear facilities are supposed to be inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but the IAEA thinks Iran is not cooperating and is not declaring all of their enrichment activity. That’s where it stands and no one knows how close it is to building nuclear weapons.”
Chevrier explains that the future of arms control is unpredictable, but is likely to see innovation and progress.
“Each arms control regime, whether regarding nuclear, chemical, biological, or conventional weapons, faces serious challenges to its longevity and complete implementation,” she writes in the introduction of her book. “The course of international politics will continue to have a profound effect on arms control and international conflict.”
Chevrier has written extensively about arms control policy. She has chaired the BioWeapons Prevention Project, a global network dedicated to the elimination of such weapons.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, her master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and her doctoral degree from Harvard University.
Chevrier’s research interests include arms control, chemical and biological weapons policy, international negotiations conflict, and conflict resolution. She teaches courses in international negotiations and negotiations for effective management in Camden.
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Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse