Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Review of The New Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation and Prospects by Michael Bothe, Natalino Ronzitti, and Allan Rosas (1998).

This book, a fine-grained, expert-level analysis of several of the most intricate legal and policy issues arising in connection with the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), also serves as a vivid symbol of the "coming of age" of arms control. For all their strategic significance and political innovation, earlier generations of arms control treaties--bilateral or multilateral, concerning nuclear, chemical, biological, or other weapons--could not plausibly have spawned this type of 600-page exegesis or inspired the painstaking, inch-by-inch explorations presented in its twenty-three chapters. Only with the modem wave of treaty craftsmanship--embodying attempts to incorporate into the document itself reams of detail, scores of implementation procedures, and page after page of minutiae that had traditionally been left to subsequent phases--has the arms control community been able to generate a treaty of sufficient scope and detail to justify this level of dissection. It remains to be seen, however, whether this refinement of treaty-making mechanisms is salutary or detrimental. Will it improve the arms control process by helping to anticipate, and perhaps thereby to avoid, otherwise-latent controversies over verification procedures, dispute-resolution mechanisms, and other operational specifics? Or do the monumental demands of such a process represent a level of hypertrophy that threatens the sustainability of the entire enterprise by so burdening the treaty negotiators that they can only rarely surmount all the challenges thrown their way and bring such an instrument to fruition?

Publication Citation

94 Am. J. Int'l L. 221-224 (2000) (reviewing Michael Bothe, Natalino Ronzitti, and Allan Rosas, The New Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation and Prospects (1998))