Still AlivePosted: April 24, 2017
Yes, I’m still alive. I actually had the great fortune of working with Jean-Pascal Zanders last week at a workshop on strategic trade controls in Muscat, Oman. We were there to give advice and assistance to the Government of Oman as they review their domestic strategic trade control laws. As he explained to me, I was the “nukee” on the panel and he was the “cb”. Below is a picture of us at dinner in Muscat, along with former U.S. Commerce official Scott Bunton. Anyway, during one of our very enjoyable chats at the British pub located inside the hotel, I mentioned the blog at one point and Jean-Pascal said “yes, although I am the only person writing on it these days.” And he’s quite right. He has been invaluable and I have been remiss.
I have been doing a lot of these legal assistance projects lately, as a consultant with the U.S. State Department, and that has taken up a lot of my time and brain capacity. But there has certainly been no paucity of interesting things going on in the world of arms control law. Perhaps chief among them has been the renewal of use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria, and the U.S. missile strike in response to them. There is no end of sound and fury about that issue going on at other international law blogs, and I’ve been reading it with interest. I’ll probably write a paper soon with some of my macro observations about such academic debates on use of force law.
The other big arms control law happening is the ongoing negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban convention at the United Nations in New York. The first set of negotiations was held last month, and they are scheduled to resume in June. I’ve of course been following this news with interest as well. This piece over at NTI is a very useful summary of the negotiations thus far. The betting seems to be that a text will likely be approved by the scheduled end of negotiations in July. Then the focus will shift to which and how many states actually become parties to the convention, and what legal implications that will have for the NPT and the general nuclear disarmament regime. I have little doubt that I’ll be doing some writing on that over the next year.
So certainly a lot going on in this area, and my apologies for not being more useful in covering it on the blog. Maybe I’ll start doing better this summer once classes and trips are over.