Comments on implementation: contingency options for chemical weapons demilitarization

by Jerry Aroesty

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This paper discusses the need to formulate contingency options for complying with U.S./Soviet chemical weapon demilitarization timetables starting in 1992. These timetables could be overly optimistic in the face of emerging environmental concerns and potential political, technical, and operational difficulties. There is mounting evidence of a clash between environmental concerns and the obligation to destroy thousands of tons of toxic agents. This clash could derail the effective implementation of the treaty. Another less apocalyptic but likely outcome would be the risk of serious delay in meeting the strict schedules. Contingency plans should be prepared to minimize slippage and delay. Otherwise, the United States could be in the position of negotiating a treaty whose provisions cannot be properly implemented.

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