Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


International regulation and control of WMD is not a United States - European Union bilateral issue, but it appears on the political agenda of the transatlantic relation and agreements or disagreements between the two have international consequences. Agreements signal joint action by an important part of the international community and, often, can inspire or encourage universal commitments as well as other international actions. Disagreements, however, block such joint action and, sometimes, impede international measures of universal (or at least collective) scope. Within this context, the purpose of this article is to analyze how these two major international actors, the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (E.U.), define their strategies and policies to deal with problems old and new-related to WMD. In fact, the U.S. approach to managing proliferation of WMD has undergone a remarkable evolution, if not a change, in the post-Cold War era. At the same time, it has been a period of remarkable changes for the European integration process, leading to the transformation of the European Communities (a specifically economic organization) into the E.U. (an obviously political entity). Although its policies and actions have long included much that is related to nonproliferation matters, the E.U. had not designed a general approach against WMD until two years ago. Three criteria will guide the comparison between the U.S. and the E.U. policies against WMD: scope, objectives and instruments. The two reference documents are "The National Strategy to combat WMD" adopted on December 2002, and "The European Strategy against the proliferation of WMD," approved by the European Council on December 2003. The comparison should permit identification of the grounds for possible changes in the international regime of these kinds of weapons.

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