Why treaties work or don’t work, and what to do about them

Published: 2006    |    By: DR. Trevor Findley    |    Volume 63, No. 1


The core treaties that I want to consider deal with so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD): chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological. I say “so-called” because lumping them together, when their physical and political effects are actually and potentially so different and so dependent on circumstance, obfuscates rather than enlightens. The term WMD has also become politicized in some quarters to mean weapons of mass destruction in the wrong hands. But, that said, it is a useful shorthand that I’m forced to use, along with everyone else.

In addition to WMD treaties, I’ll consider other treaties that I am familiar with, by way of contrast, including those inside and outside the disarmament field.

About the Author

Trevor Findley is Director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, and Associate Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. This article is based on his presentation to the National Capital Branch of the CIIA on January 25, 2006.