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Application of Arms Control to Regional Conflicts in the Third World - Essay Example

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The author of the essay "Application of Arms Control to Regional Conflicts in the Third World" states that one must acknowledge, from the very beginning, that the major Northern powers are deeply involved in the process of militarization in the South…
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Application of Arms Control to Regional Conflicts in the Third World
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On the one hand, we have the Middle East. The Arab-Israeli conflict spans about one century of open hostilities and political tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis- this being in spite of the fact that Israel was formally established only in 1948. On the other, there is the war in Afghanistan, which was launched by the US and the UK against the Taliban regime of Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. The Korean Peninsula is also a troubled zone, with the seemingly never-ending rivalries between North Korea and South Korea. In South Asia, India and Pakistan are always in a state of political tension over the disputed land of Kashmir; China’s relations with India are not too friendly either. Maintaining global peace in Third World countries has largely become the responsibility of the developed nations, which are, as Klare says, “deeply involved in the process of militarization” of these countries.
There needs to be a strategy that the developed countries can follow to ensure that peace and security are maintained both within and without their less developed counterparts. Klare says that this strategy should follow the hierarchy of priorities that he proposes:
“ > Nuclear non-proliferation
> Controlling the proliferation of chemical weapons and ballistic missiles
> Conventional arms transfer control
> Escalation prevention and regional security efforts.”
Both Israel and North Korea have amassed huge arsenals of nuclear weapons. As for chemical weapons and ballistic missiles, the Taliban in Afghanistan have a huge stock of rockets, missiles and similar weapons. An international black market in conventional weapons exists and there is a large and regular flow of illicit arms into Afghanistan. All these have worrisome implications and can only be effectively controlled by the superpowers.
Klare gives an example of how superpowers may help to downsize the arms trade problem. “A similar approach to downsizing the arms trade problem would be to convene ‘quadrilateral’ talks involving two regional rivals and their respective superpower patrons. Assuming that Moscow and Washington are willing to cooperate in reducing regional tensions, it might be possible for them to sit down with selected pairs of their allies- which are themselves mutual adversaries- and agree to a four-way commitment for reduced arms transfers. Such a formula could, for instance, be tried with North and South Korea, both of which might welcome an agreement to scale back their arms purchases if that agreement was backed up by a superpower obligation to prevent cheating by either side”, he says.
Political and military unrest in the Third World poses a threefold threat to world security in general. First, the likelihood of war is increased manifold when unrestrained arms races in areas of tension aggravate local fears and enmities. Second, the acquisition of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction represents a potential; and third, a localized conflict may eventually affect the vital interests of superpowers and trigger a massive war. Considering these threats, it is essential that First World countries try and ensure world peace by optimum intervention in the affairs of their weaker allies and trade partners.
NOTES
1. “North” is the term commonly used to refer to the developed countries of the world. They are also often referred to as countries of the First World or the Second World.
2. “South” is a term commonly used to refer to the developing or under-developed countries of the world. They are also often referred to as Third World countries. Read More
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