Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 May 2006
This article begins by deconstructing the dominant discourse on arms control and disarmament, and argues that it works to dismiss disarmament as an idea whilst simultaneously coopting really existing disarmament into a perspective that imagines a world long on dangers and short on peaceful strategies to confront them. In contrast, it is argued, not only is the traditional distinction between arms control and disarmament problematic but, in certain respects, the world is experiencing quite a lot of disarmament. Partly however, this is because both disarmament and broader arms limitation activities are taking place as part of an asymmetrical arms limitation system underpinned, in particular, by the US in its role as a ‘disarmament Empire’. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors immanent in the contemporary international system that suggest a more radical form of emancipatory disarmament might be both realisable and indeed necessary.
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