Foreign Policy Blogs

US Absent at Signing of Cluster Bomb Treaty

The Washington Post reports: “More than 100 countries reached agreement Wednesday to ban cluster bombs, controversial weapons that human rights groups deplore but that the United States, which did not join the ban, calls an integral, legitimate part of its arsenal.

…Advocates of the ban said they hope the agreement, which was supported by rich nations and poor from Scandinavia to Africa, will have the same effect as the 1997 ban on land mines, reducing use even among non-signatory countries.”

Also opposing the treaty and absent from the summit are Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia and China, who together produce 99% of the world's supply of cluster bombs.

The White House opposes the ban because they say these bombs have a military utility. The United States has defended its non-attendance, saying it was “deeply concerned” about the humanitarian impact of cluster bombs and all weapons of war, despite “disagreements” about the best way forward.

Though, the Post reports that “the controversy over cluster bombs has led the United States to stop exporting them for now — a law that went into force this year bars the foreign sale of cluster bombs that have less than a 99 percent detonation or disabling rate, conditions that current versions of the weapons do not meet.”

To listen to Public Radio International's program “The World” discuss the treaty, and explain how cluster bombs work  click here. Or view their diagram below.




Melinda Brouwer

Melinda Brower holds a Masters degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Chile during her tenure as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has worked on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, for Foreign Policy magazine and the American Academy of Diplomacy. She presently works for an internationally focused non-profit research organization in Washington, DC.

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