Obama’s New Landmine Policy: Change I Can Believe In, Tentatively
Without much fanfare last week, representatives of the State Department announced subtle but crucial changes to the US government’s stance on landmines, distancing itself from the unilateral tone of Bush-era policy.
The new policy will halt US production or acquisition of antipersonnel landmines, reduce stockpiles and begin “diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with the convention and that would ultimately allow us to accede to the convention.” The Pentagon has also clarified the number of landmines in its stockpiles – 3 million (contrary to earlier estimates of 10 million) – and released details on its ongoing destruction efforts.
“The US has finally come out of the shadows in indicating it intends to join the landmine treaty, and let’s hope it will move ahead rapidly to come on board,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, one of the leading members of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines.
To read my analysis of this important policy change, read my guest blog on the international relations blog Duck of Minerva.