Which countries have ratified which arms agreements? Have more conventional arms agreements been ratified than non-conventional? Which countries are free of nuclear weapons? Will the arms race move into space? And how is space now being used by competing states?
These are the questions addressed in the “arms control” module. The module presents world maps showing which nations are party to which treaties and conventions in the three major arms categories: conventional weapons, NBC weapons and space weapons. And it contains a “history” thematic field showing when the multilateral control agreements came to be ratified by which country.
While efforts to achieve disarmament and arms control have repeatedly produced important breakthroughs, the world is still far from achieving anything like comprehensive disarmament. Developments in technology and shifts in the global political landscape often happen so quickly that many arms agreements reflect yesterday’s realities and only offer a weak regulatory mechanism.
Disarmament and arms control measures can be imposed on states, be taken unilaterally by a state or be agreed between two states or multiple states. Whereas disarmament describes the process of reducing and ultimately abolishing military capabilities, arms control covers restraint-oriented arrangements to monitor and inspect weapons numbers, military equipment and troop numbers as well as arms production (including weapons upgrading and development) and arms stockpiling.
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