The Failed Cluster Bomb Treaty: The Perfect Continues to be the Enemy of the Good
So talks on a new cluster bomb treaty have collapsed due to the refusal of countries party to the 2008 Cluster Bomb Convention to sign on to a less restrictive treaty that would have included the U.S, Russia, China, India and other key military powers.
The draft treaty was vigorously promoted by the United States and had the backing of other major users and producers, including China, India, Israel and Russia. It reflected the increasing stigmatization of a weapon recognized as causing unacceptable harm to civilians and seen as having lasting effects on development for decades after conflicts have ended.
The effort was rejected by a group of 50 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, including many nations that had signed on to the 2008 Oslo Convention. The Oslo agreement imposed a comprehensive ban on the use, production, stockpiling and sale of cluster munitions.
The United States argued that the draft treaty, which would have banned the use of cluster munitions produced before 1980, presented an opportunity to regulate the major users and producers of the weapons that hold an estimated 85 percent of global stockpiles but had not joined the Oslo Convention, including the United States
So we are left with an extremely restrictive cluster bomb treaty that doesn’t reach 85 percent of the world’s cluster bombs, and we reject a less restrictive treaty that would have a wider much more effective reach. I get the idea that international law has an important expressive value, but surely practical reach has got to considered at some point.