Jeffrey LewisUS Torpedoes the CD

We recently (26 February 2004) torpedoed the Conference on Disarmament. After the Chinese and Russians dropped demands for negotiations on preventing an arms race in outer space, the ball was in our court. Our Ambassador to the CD, Jackie Wolcott Sanders, responded by throwing down her racket and yelling at the line judge:

“We are all aware that the Conference has in recent years fallen on hard times. I regret to say that I do not have with me today ideas or proposals to lead the CD out of its current impasse, but that is because the solution does not lie in U.S. hands alone. Breaking the logjam is a collective effort, and I look forward to working closely with you and with all of our colleagues toward that end.”

We are the only delegation objecting to the proposed work plan at this point. In January, the USG announced that it “is reviewing specific elements of our policy regarding” the consensus priority agenda item in the CD: a ban on the production of fissile material.

Bush Administation officials have been pretty quiet about the review, but recent comments by Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker are bad news. Rademaker told Arms Control Today that the FMCT is “a concept that has not evolved while the context in which it exists has evolved.”