Cover of The Politics of Weapons Inspections by Nathan E. Busch and Joseph F. Pilat
The Politics of Weapons Inspections
Assessing WMD Monitoring and Verification Regimes
Nathan E. Busch and Joseph F. Pilat

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March 2017
400 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804797436
Paper ISBN: 9781503601604

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Given recent controversies over suspected WMD programs in proliferating countries, there is an increasingly urgent need for effective monitoring and verification regimes—the international mechanisms, including on-site inspections, intended in part to clarify the status of WMD programs in suspected proliferators. Yet the strengths and limitations of these nonproliferation and arms control mechanisms remain unclear. How should these regimes best be implemented? What are the technological, political, and other limitations to these tools? What technologies and other innovations should be utilized to make these regimes most effective? How should recent developments, such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or Syria's declared renunciation and actual use of its chemical weapons, influence their architecture?

The Politics of Weapons Inspections examines the successes, failures, and lessons that can be learned from WMD monitoring and verification regimes in order to help determine how best to maintain and strengthen these regimes in the future. In addition to examining these regimes' technological, political, and legal contexts, Nathan E. Busch and Joseph F. Pilat reevaluate the track record of monitoring and verification in the historical cases of South Africa, Libya, and Iraq; assess the prospects of using these mechanisms in verifying arms control and disarmament; and apply the lessons learned from these cases to contemporary controversies over suspected or confirmed programs in North Korea, Iran, and Syria. Finally, they provide a forward-looking set of policy recommendations for the future.

About the authors

Nathan E. Busch is Professor and Co-Director of the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University.

Joseph F. Pilat is Program Manager in the National Security and International Studies Office of Los Alamos National Laboratory and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

"Establishing effective monitoring and verifying regimens are critical tools in the international community's nonproliferation efforts but do not always provide assurance of compliance. Although international inspections provide capabilities, access, and legitimacy, the international community appears to be in danger of misinterpreting what these regimens can and cannot accomplish. This timely, much-needed book examines previous examples of the successes, failures, and lessons that can be learned from the cases and help strengthen these regimens and apply them to current WMD programs in Syria, Iran, and North Korea. ...Recommended"

—K. M. Zaarour, Choice

"Nathan Busch and Joseph Pilat have authored a very timely work given the controversies surrounding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the often compromised international attempts to control their spread through inspections and disarmament agreements....this is a valuable work for its categorization of the various types of inspection regimes, as well as for its practical suggestions. It is relevant for the policymaking community as well as those academics with a particular interest in the issues of proliferation and inspection regimes."

—Zachary Selden, H-Diplo