Influence and Outcome: The Making of a US Policy on Anti-Personnel Landmines.
SOUTH CAROLINA UNIV COLUMBIA
Pagination or Media Count:
In the spring of 1996, a very public and rancorous debate ensued over the question of whether the United States would lead, or even join in, the global effort to ban the manufacture and use of anti-personnel landmines. It was a debate that had been dragging on for a while among foreign policy elites and defense experts both in and out of uniform. However, in a very short period of time a series of events caused the issue to spill over into the public arena. Understanding the emotion and deep convictions that surround the issue of a permanent ban on anti-personnel landmines requires some appreciation for the unique place mines hold in the history of warfare. Few weapons have caused more suffering and engendered more terror in generations of foot soldiers and civilian victims of conflict than have the silent killers buried deep beneath the soil of the battlefield. Similarly, understanding the mechanics of attempting to draft and implement a ban on landmines requires one to become familiar with the legal aspects of landmines as weapons. Those who support a total ban on anti-personnel landmines, as well as those who advocate their use, find justification for their positions under international law as derived from both treaty and custom. Finally, a quick look at the recent history of international efforts to ban anti- personnel landmines is necessary to better understand how the issue made it from the meeting rooms of international conferences half a world away and onto the foreign policy agenda of the Clinton administration in early 1996.
- Land Mine Warfare