In This Review

Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law
Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law
By Thomas Graham, Jr.
University of Washington Press, 2002, 372 pp

As a government lawyer and diplomat, Graham had a hand in shaping most of this era's major arms-control agreements, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaties (SALT I and II), the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty, and the conventions prohibiting chemical and biological weapons. This memoir is long on the details of treaty negotiations but nonetheless provides a fascinating composite picture of the limits and possibilities of the legal-diplomatic approach to security and arms control. Graham and his colleagues were constantly forced to maneuver between their determined Soviet counterparts and the equally strong-willed politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. Meanwhile, the rapid evolution of weapons technologies made agreement and the thorny issues of verification moving targets. Graham shows that the Soviets, to their credit, tended to have fairly specific and consistent arms control objectives. In contrast, positions on the American side were constantly shifting. Also illuminating are his chapters on the failed salt ii during the Carter and Reagan years and the rise of hard-line critics of arms control, showing the origins of the split in American strategic thinking that continues today. More optimistically, Graham concludes by pointing to the most lasting arms control success: the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which made the acquisition of nuclear weapons an act of international outlawry.