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After Detection--What?

Courtesy Reuters

THE current debate on arms control and disarmament puts great stress on the problem of how to detect violations of whatever agreements may be reached. To this end inspection schemes and instruments for detection are developed, their capabilities and limitations discussed, and efforts made to test and improve them. Indeed, the technical question of detection dominates not only the domestic debate but also the international disarmament negotiations.

Yet detecting violations is not enough. What counts are the political and military consequences of a violation once it has been detected, since these alone will determine whether or not the violator stands to gain in the end. In entering into an arms-control agreement, we must know not only that we are technically capable of detecting a violation but also that we or the rest of the world will be politically, legally and militarily in a position to react effectively if a violation

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