David Koplow’s New Article on US CWC Noncompliance

David Koplow of Georgetown University Law Center has just recently published an article entitled Train Wreck: The U.S. Violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the Journal of National Security Law & Policy. See the full pdf of the article here.  David is a leading arms control law scholar who, in addition to his academic work, has had applied experience through several stints in high level government positions. These positions have included Special Counsel for Arms Control to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2011); Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Department of Defense (1997-1999); and Attorney-Advisor and Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1978-1981).  He’s also a very generous colleague and a nice guy to boot. I haven’t convinced him to come onto ACL as a blogger . . . yet.  But he knows he has a standing invitation!

This new piece of David’s begins like this:

The United States is violating a multilateral arms control treaty. Russia is, too. It’s not just some minor accord at stake; it’s the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the critical, near-universal undertaking to banish the centuries-old scourge of chemical warfare. And it’s not just some trivial misstep; it’s a blatant transgression of one of the treaty’s most fundamental provisions, requiring the timely destruction of the massive inventories of chemical weapons (CW) that the planet’s erstwhile superpowers had laboriously constructed and assiduously maintained throughout the Cold War. And it won’t be a near-miss; each country will stumble years beyond complying with the treaty’s April 29, 2012, final deadline for accomplishing the total dismantling of this noxious ordnance – the United States now figures to eclipse that mandatory mark by at least eleven years.

Now that is how you start a law review article! A great hook for readers. It continues:

How did we get into this mess? How did the United States, the leading exponent of the rule of law and a prime mover in negotiating and implementing the CWC, fall into such conspicuous violation? What can be done at this point to extricate ourselves and the Russians from this grisly political and legal predicament? And what can we do in the future to avoid other similar international law train wrecks? This article parses the problem of noncompliance with the CWC’s dismantling obligations as a case study in the operation (or non-operation) of international law.

As is typical of David’s work, this article is thorough and excellent. I recommend it highly.


2 Comments on “David Koplow’s New Article on US CWC Noncompliance”

  1. k_w says:

    Dan, did the Iranians use chemical weapons in the war with Iraq?

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