Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons.
Disarmament generally refers to a country’s military or a specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean the total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms.
General and Complete D. refer to the removal of all weaponry, including conventional arms.
Disarmament can be contrasted with arms control, which essentially refers to the act of controlling arms rather than eliminating them. A distinction can also be made between
Disarmament as a process (the process of eliminating weapons).
Disarmament as an end state (the absence of weapons).
According to Morgenthau, “Disarmament is the reduction or elimination of certain or all armaments for the purpose of ending the armament race.”
On the danger of nuclear weapons, Albert Einstein reportedly said: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Since the birth of the United Nations, the goals of multilateral disarmament and arms limitation have been deemed central to the maintenance of international peace and security.
These goals range from reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons, and strengthening the prohibition against biological weapons, to halting the proliferation of landmines, small arms, and light weapons.
These efforts are supported by a number of key UN instruments.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most universal of all multilateral disarmament treaties, came into force in 1970.
The Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
The Biological Weapons Convention in 1975.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted in 1996, however, it has not yet entered into force.
The 1997 Mine Ban Convention came into force in 1999.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISARMAMENT AND ARMED CONTROL
The arms control process is intended to serve as a means to enhance a state’s national security. Arms control is but one approach to achieving that goal.
Arms control can even lead states to agree to increases in certain categories of armaments if such increases would contribute to crisis stability and thereby reduce the chance of war.
Armaments have been the major cause of international instability and conflict; only through reductions in the weaponry of all nations can the world achieve peace.
Disarmament has a longer legacy than arms control and was a common theme in international relations. 1960s international security specialists began using the term arms control in place of the term disarmament.
In other words, disarmament is part of a state’s arms control policy and it is part of a means-to-an-end approach. For example, the United States and other countries have negotiated global conventions that endeavor to rid the world of chemical and biological weapons.