29 May Here Comes the Treaty to Ban Cluster Bombs
Nearly 100 nations have reached an agreement on a draft treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs within 8 years. This may or may not be a good idea. But since key cluster bomb producers and users like the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan are not signatories, the importance of this treaty, beyond its symbolism, is questionable. Like the treaty to ban landmines, the vast majority of countries that will sign on to this treaty do not possess cluster bombs anyway. Hence, this is, for most countries, a costless decision and the use of landmines or cluster bombs is not substantially affected.
To be sure, for some countries, there are real costs to signing on. Britain had the most difficult decision, and it is a challenge for realists to explain why a country like Britain would give up a military weapon without gaining any concessions from most of its treaty partners. Moreover, the status of U.S. cluster bomb stockpiles in Britain are going to be legally problematic.