Friday, August 05, 2005

Way to keep the moral high ground there guys! The full research paper on the United States' apparent plans to re-start production of antipersonnel landmines can be found here.

(And yes, the US is indeed one of the few countries left which hasn't signed up to the 1997 Ottawa Convention - the Mine Ban Treaty - a distinguished list of 41 nations that includes such bastions of democracy and freedom as Burma, China, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Vietnam, as well as a bunch of other dodgy buggers.)

I like the US. I genuinely do. But it really is very hard to argue against its critics sometimes...

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US position on landmines is that they want to use them in the DMZ between North Korea and South Korea. No exports - I believe they were terminated under Clinton.

There is a moral difference between a marked mine field surrounded by guarded fences, and scattering landmines on footpaths next to schools....

It's a bit like the child soldier debate - the UN position seems to be that UK children in the Army Cadet Corps is morally equivelant to kidnapping 12 year olds and forcing them to kill people.

8/05/2005 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Hmmm, not terribly good news. Although, they are not a signatory of the Treaty, it is worth noting that "The United States has not exported antipersonnel mines since 1992 and has not used them since 1991 in the Gulf War."

i.e. They stopped exporting rather earlier than some.

This piece mentions that the US (under Clinton) refused to sign up over concerns over security on the Korean peninsula.

I think that the US just has a blanket policy of not signing any international Treaty these days. 'Tis a pity our PM isn't so sensible (after all, we're signed up to the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Treaty. We are going to regret both of those).

8/05/2005 06:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, Anonymous. None of those other distinguished 41 have a couple of brigades in the way of 30 divisions of NK troops across the DMZ. Since you don't want to be required to immediately go to the big bang option having barriers covered by fire really helps. Won't stop them but will buy some time.

I'd rather the solution of pulling entirely out of SK though.

8/05/2005 06:48:00 pm  
Blogger The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Evening NM.

Tend to agree with you here. Although the first anonymous commenter ("There is a moral difference between a marked mine field surrounded by guarded fences, and scattering landmines on footpaths next to schools....") has a point, there are some niggling bits around the edges which are decidely messy.

As regards landmines, he's probably right. The problem comes with other similar devices, most especially cluster bombs. Whilst they are tremendously effective, they can have a rather nasty failure rate, which leaves - in effect - lots of unstable EOD scattered around without nice mine tape and safety lanes to mark them out.

Very tricky topic.

PG

8/05/2005 07:39:00 pm  

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