The reason I haven’t been keeping my blog up to date is because I have been very busy with essays and studying for finals. With the final exam written and Christmas around the corner, I can now relax and put up a post. Let’s start with my term paper for History of Canadian Foreign Policy (HIST 3306 at Carleton University). My professor, Norman Hillmer helped point me in the right direction and although we don’t see eye to eye politically (votes Liberal and NDP, don’t have a problem though with the first being a registered member of the Liberal Party), I think he did a great job teaching the course. He is the kind of professor who will lets right-leaning individuals like myself speak out without being criticized or harshly silenced, and I recommend my readers in Ottawa register for a course he is teaching. One of the more enjoyable professors I have had in a long time, but back to the essay.
I wrote this briefing note on Lloyd Axworthy’s work on the Ottawa Treaty, a treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines. For those who don’t know, he is also known by the nickname “Pink Lloyd” for his left-leaning politics. On this issue, I have to agree with “Pink Lloyd”, anti-personnel landmines have to be banned, and so I felt it wouldn’t be difficult to write a term paper on this (it is far easier to write on a topic you enjoy than one you don’t). Aside from Hillmer’s assistance, I was helped by Tobia Neufeld, Axworthy’s lead researcher in writing this briefing note, so know that what you will see below is very well sourced (this isn’t as dubious as a Wikipedia article). While I do not mind someone using my term paper as a starting point, DO NOT STEAL MY WORK! I worked far too hard for someone to come in and pass this off as their own work, and besides, at the university level, doing so could get you expelled.
Anti-personnel landmines are a growing problem for the developing world. Not only are they a major cause of disability during and after war, but these countries do not have the means to clear the landscape of landmines. These developing nations also are not able to provide full and adequate rehabilitation for those who have already been, and the many who will become, victims of these weapons. The main concern is that, unlike other types of weapons, landmines, after being placed in the ground, cannot tell friend from foe. The very presence of landmines in a region can have tragic consequences. The Zambia-Zimbabwe border, for example, is the faced with starvation and malnutrition because farmers are afraid to work one million acres of land because it was heavily mined during the Zimbabwe war. Angola, a country which once produced ninety percent of its own food, as well is facing severe food shortages because of an estimated nine million mines which litter its country-side. Even after the wars have ended, these weapons continue to terrorize the developing world.
In the 1990s there was an emergence of a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which had joined together to push for an international ban of anti-personnel landmines. The United Nations had previously passed the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol II which dealt with controlling the use of landmines#, but these NGOs were demanding for steps to be taken towards an outright ban. One of the more outspoken of these groups was the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a coalition of NGOs working at the national level to pressure governments into addressing this issue. In 1992, the United States began the international effort by calling for a moratorium on the export of landmines. Soon after, the Swedish government called for a total ban while the Italian senate demanded that the Italian government pursue an end to the production of landmines, a significant move for one of the world’s largest suppliers of these weapons.
In 1993, the French campaign to ban landmines began picking up momentum. After a state visit to Cambodia, President François Mitterrand pushed for a moratorium on the export of landmines. Soon after, the French President, at the request of French anti-landmine NGOs, officially requested of the Secretary General of the United Nations that a review conference be held to amend the CCW and its Protocol II dealing with landmines. Mitterrand had set the date for 1995, but his failing health and death from prostate cancer in May of that year had derailed efforts to make progress on the issue. When Mitterrand’s successor, Jacques Chirac too office, he was forced to address the criticism from international protest groups of France’s stance on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Instead of discussing the issue of anti-personnel landmines with the United States, Chirac was pleading with the country’s Senate to not reject the CTBT. As a result, when the review conference finally met in April and May of 1996, there were no significant improvements made to Protocol II. In fact, the review conference actually encouraged the production and use of a new types of landmines, further upsetting the NGOs.
In 1995, Canada’s Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien brought up the issue of anti-personnel landmines at the G8 summit in Halifax. While there was very little progress on the issue, it signalled the NGOs that Canada was willing to address their concerns. Shortly after the summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs formed a group of skilled Canadian Foreign Service officers to focus of this issue. In January of this year, Defence Minister David Collenette and Foreign Minister André Ouellet jointly announced a moratorium on use, production, and export on landmines. This moratorium went further than the one proposed by the United States in 1992, but had not called for an outright ban. Further progress was made in May of this year when the ICBL held a joint press conference with the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the government of Canada, calling for a ban on landmines. While this call does send the message about our country’s desire for further action, steps must be taken to prove Canada’s commitment to this issue, it cannot be an empty gesture to the already frustrated NGOs. With this upcoming conference, a decision must be made about how far our country is willing to go to address the issue of landmines.
Before deciding whether or not to sidestep the traditional disarmament channels, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy must consider the following options:
1. Return to the U.N. to push for a moratorium on anti-personnel landmines within a forum, where the proceedings are under the direct control of the Security Council. A Security Council resolution is binding forcing all member countries to adopt it, but this motion could be vetoed by either China, Russia or one of the ten temporary members if they believe such action is not in their country’s best interests.
2. Advise Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to readdress the issue at the next G8 summit in the hopes of getting member countries to commit to an anti-landmine policy which would combat the production and use of these weapons through political pressuring. Instead of calling for another moratorium, G8 members should make an effort to pass legislation in their own countries which would lead to an eventual ban. This is a slower process which will most likely meet resistance at the national level.
3. Side-step the traditional channels and work with the United Nations and the NGOs to propose an international treaty that would call for the outright ban of landmines. While not as binding as a U.N. resolution, this “soft power” approach may be more beneficial in the long run as political pressure applied by member countries and NGOs could help convince others to at the very least take steps towards reducing production and use of landmines.
In this instance, Canada must decide not only what action it wants to take, but how it intends to do this. When considering first option, our country has to decide whether or not it is even possible to push for a U.N. Security Council resolution on this issue. Canada does not hold a seat on the council as of this moment, but that does not mean our country has wait till it is once again a sitting member. Canada can turn to United Kingdom, France and the United States, all permanent members, to propose a landmine ban. When considering the second option, our country must decide whether it is looking at another moratorium, further restrictions on the production and use of landmines, or an outright ban on these weapons. While it would be easier for Canada to propose a moratorium or another review of the CCW at the next G8 summit, frustrated NGOs are demanding that the developed world commit to stricter anti-landmine policy which would call for and international ban on these weapons, and the establishment of an international fund, paid into by countries which produce landmines, to promote and finance landmine awareness. If our country does decide upon meeting NGO demands, it must decide whether or not to side-step the traditional channels and push for a “soft-power” approach, as suggested the third option.
The United States has been outspoken in its support of a landmine ban. In 1992, Senator Patrick Leahy proposed a one-year moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines, the first significant measure from any country to address this issue. In 1993, the U.S. State Department produced the first comprehensive study of the mines crisis, Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines. In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton gave a speech at the United Nations calling for an “eventual elimination” of anti-personnel landmines, which lead to a U.S. sponsored U.N. General Assembly resolution endorsing the eventual elimination of mines which was passed later that year. While promising, a midterm election defeat suffered by the Democrats in that same year limited the President’s power to push legislation, including legislations relating to this matter. The U.S. has expressed concern with an outright ban on landmines. In 1995, the Senate passed an amendment requiring a one-year moratorium on use of antipersonnel mines, except along international borders and demilitarized zones, suggesting that they might not support banning their use by countries like South Korea.
While the Republic of (South) Korea (ROK) has acknowledged the humanitarian consequences of antipersonnel mines, it has been one of the more vocal countries in insisting on the legitimacy and military necessity of continued use of anti-personnel landmine.The country has taken on the role of an observer during recent discussions on this issue. It should be noted that although the ROK is a producer of landmines, it produces them for their own defense, not for export. In fact, the country has taken steps to ensure that its weapons are only used domestically. The South Korean government announced a one-year moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines last year, which it further extended earlier this year#. This issue does seem to be that the ROK wants some exception for its use, stating the importance of these weapons for their own protection, especially in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). They have been many incursions by North Koreans over the years, most recently in May when seven soldiers tried to cross the DMZ but withdrew after being fired upon. Since the ROK is now sitting in as one of the U.N. Security Council’s temporary members, without an exception for their situation, it would be unrealistic to assume that they wouldn’t use their veto to block a motion for an outright of ban landmines.
Russia is one of the largest producers of anti-personnel landmines. Though Russia agreed to the amended Protocol II in May 1996, it has not ratified it yet. According to the Ministry of Defense, it would cost 40 billion Roubles (roughly 6.4 million dollars American) annually to destroy all of its non-CCW compliant mines. Due to financial constraints, the government has refrained from submitting the ratification documents to the parliament for consideration. This suggests that the costs associated with destroying their stock piles and stopping production would be too high a price for Russia to pay in order to sign on to a landmine ban. The Russian military has been strongly opposed to the idea, stating that landmines are a necessary weapon. It should be noted, however, that the country has made moves towards restricting exports, calling for a three-year moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines that are not detectable or not equipped with self-destruction devices in December of 1994. Russia is more interested in dealing with controls and working toward alternatives than an outright ban, something that could be discussed with Alexander Belonogov, Russia‘s ambassador to Canada. This should be taken into consideration for first two options if chosen since Russia is both permanent member U.N. Security Council and a member of the G8.
The People’s Republic of China, much like Russia, is more interested in controlling the production, use and export of landmines than banning them. The country did ratified the CCW and its original Protocol II on mine in April of 1982. Earlier this year, China announced a moratorium on the export of AP mines which are prohibited by the revised Protocol II of CCW. While this may suggest that they are willing to take further steps, Chinese officials have stated that there is no desire to move towards a ban#. Without exceptions for its use, a proposal to the U.N. Security Council to ban landmines would be seen an act to undermine their sovereignty, forcing the Chinese to veto it. China does not use its veto power often, not feeling comfortable being the single voice of opposition during a vote. If a more moderate resolution could be worked out with the other Security Council members, it is more than likely that China would abstain from using its veto. The country would also abstain from using its veto if promised economic incentives like trade preferences, especially since the country is going through a rough period of economic development, still lagging behind India in per capita GNP.
If Canada is going to sidestep the traditional disarmament channels, it must turn to other governments which has already taken significant steps towards banning landmines. Italy, a temporary member of the U.N. Security Council and a G8 member country, has made progress towards an outright ban. In 1993, the Italian government stopped authorizing the export of antipersonnel landmines, a significant step for one of the major producers and exporters of landmines in the world in the past. In 1994, Italy adopted a unilateral moratorium on the production and trade of antipersonnel landmines. Since ratifying the CCW and Protocol II in 1995, the Italian Parliament has worked closely with the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines (ItCBL) towards a comprehensive ban. If Canada does choose to pursue the same course, our country should consider working closely with Italy. Cambodia has also made significant progress towards banning landmines. In 1994, Ieng Mouly, the Chairman of the Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC), announced that the government desired to legislate a ban on the use of landmines. In 1995, with the assistance of the ICBL, the 340,000 Cambodians, including King Sihanouk, signed a petition calling for the immediate ban of anti-personnel landmines. This effort has sparked other signature drives around the world, bringing the total number of signatures to one and a half million. While landmine laws have been written in 1995 and 1996, due to political changes, none have been adopted as law. It should be noted that since King Sihanouk’s landmine declaration in October of 1994, Cambodia has maintained a formal position against the import or export of antipersonnel landmines. This suggests that the country is willing to work with others, including Canada, towards an outright ban.
Recommendations: Option #3
Canada should side-step traditional channels and work with the United Nations and the NGOs to propose an international treaty that would call for the outright ban of landmines.
If Canada is to push for an outright ban of anti-personnel landmines, it is unreasonable to believe that it could do so through either the U.N. Security Council or the G8. Since Canada does not have a seat as of now on the council, unless our country is willing to wait a few years till it does, it will have to turn to one of our allies to push for a resolution. Even if Canada had United Kingdom, France and Italy’s support, there is no guarantee that the United States would support a ban on landmines, especially without exceptions. There is also no guarantee that Russia, China, South Korea or any other sitting member would support or at the least abstain from vetoing a resolution calling for an outright ban on landmines. After the Prime Minister’s efforts at the last summit, even with the support of United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States, there is no guarantee that significant progress could be made at the next G8 summit since Russia will not commit to a policy banning landmines. The country has yet to ratify the CCW and Protocol II due in part to financial reasons, so it is unrealistic to believe that it would support legislation that would impose any further financial obligations.
By side-stepping traditional channels, a treaty could be drafted without having to make exceptions for the United States, South Korea, China, Russia or any other country that has expressed concerns with an outright ban. This treaty would be voluntary and its costs and restrictions would only be applied to those countries that are willing to commit to it. With the support of the United Nations and the NGOs, it is more than reasonable to assume that not only could stricter anti-landmine policy be enforced through political pressuring, but an international fund to promote and finance landmine awareness could be established. Due to the importance of this proposal, Canada should inform interested parties of our intentions before the official announcement. This would not only help gather support for our proposal, but also allow those not interested in signing on to the treaty time to decide whether or not to attend the conference as an observer.
Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), “The Landmine Crisis: Designed to kill and injure, to impede”, http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/international/landmines/crisismlpd.
An article taken from a MLD International Committee newsletter, December 1994, discussing the problems posed by anti-personnel landmines. The article discusses the various problems posed by landmines, like the damage done to it victims, the damage done to the countries they invest and the cost of removing them.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), “Ban History”, http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Treaties/MBT/Ban-History.
An article from the ICBL website discussion, briefly, the history behind their efforts to ban landmines. The article discusses Frances efforts to reform the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the failure of those efforts, the following Canadian efforts and the drafting on the Man Ban Treaty.
Axworthy, Llyod, “Chapter 13: Canada and antipersonnel landmines: human security as a foreign policy priority,” Foreign Policy Theories, Actors, Cases. ed. Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
An article sent to be by Tobia Neufeld, former Foreign Minister Llyod Axworthy’s lead researcher. The article discusses at length earlier efforts to address the landmine issue, the resistance it met, and the innovative strategy of the NGOs to pressure state governments into supporting anti-landmine efforts, culminating with the signing of the Ottawa Treaty in 1997.
Landmine Monitor (LM), “Publications“, http://lm.icbl.org/index.php
Articles from LM stating what a specific country’s policies were towards landmines. Each article discusses the country’s history with landmines, the efforts taken to work towards controlling landmine use and production, as well as policies towards the production, transfer, stockpiling and use of landmines.
Paris, Mary Dejevsky, “France to back total test ban” The Independent, World, (Friday, 11 August 1995), http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/france-to-back-total-test-ban-1595673.html
An article from The Independent’s online publication. Written by Mary Dejevsky Paris, the article goes into detail about the criticism faced by France over the test ban treaty and how the country has shifted views on the issue from being against to supporting it.
Arms Control Association, September/October 1999, “Russia, China, U.S. Allies Condemn Senate Defeat of Treaty”, http://www.armscontrol.org/print/551
An article from the Arms Control Association, an online publication, discussing international criticism of the United States Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Jaksic, Silvija, “Anti-landmines Campaign: Not Much Success So Far!” Peace Magazine, (July-August 1996): 8, http://archive.peacemagazine.org/v12n4p08.htm
An article from Peace Magazine, a small publication, discussing the fight against landmines. Silvija Jaksic discusses the dangers of landmines, their cost effectiveness and the lack of progress to bring about a comprehensive ban on their production and use in this article. While upset with the lack of progress on the issue by the international community, the author points to the efforts by Canada to bring about significant reform to policies like the CCW’s Protocol II.
Jody Williams and Stephen Goose, “Chapter 2: The International Campaign to Ban Landmines”, To Walk Without Fear, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1998.
An article from the book, To Walk Without Fear, a comprehensive look at the global effort to ban landmines. The article discusses the ICBL and its efforts to pressure governments into supporting and passing significant anti-landmine legislation. It goes into detail about various efforts like the ICBL push in Cambodia and Canada to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997.
UN Security Council, “Membership of the Security Council“, http://www.un.org/sc/list_eng5.asp.
A list which identifies which countries have sat on the security council and the dates which they held a seat.
Korean DMZ, “Incursions”, http://koreandmz.org/incursions.
A list of dates of North Korean incursions into the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), going back to January of 1968, outlining what happened during the specific incursion.
United Nations International, Russia, “Alexander Belonogov”, http://www.un.int/russia/new/MainRoot/docs/biographi_en/belonogov/belonogov.htm.
I located this article with the assistance of a secretary from the Russian Embassy in Ottawa. The article outlines former Russian ambassador to Canada, Alexander Belonogov’s service history.
Shichor, Yitzhak, “China’s Voting Behavior in the U.N. Security Council”, Association for Asian Research, (October 31, 2006), http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2947.html.
An article from Association for Asian Research (AFAR), an organization which “seeks to provide the American public with an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of Asian affairs in the interest of peace and prosperity”. The article discusses the People’s Republic of China’s use of their veto power since becoming a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council.
Selden, Mark, The Political Economy of Chinese development: Socialism and Social Movements, New York: M.E. Sharpe Inc, 1993.
A comprehensive book which looks at the political and economic development of the People’s Republic of China. It discusses the transformation of the Chinese state after the death of Mao Zedong, the state of agricultural development, economic development, economic conditions within the country, economic policies and the country efforts to move away from its past communist/socialist policies.
As you can see, I have even included the annotated bibliography for those needed assistance in their own projects. Now, for those who couldn’t understand this paper, it is written as if I was an adviser to Lloyd Axworthy when he was former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s Foreign Minister. All this information in this paper is what would have been known at the time of Axworthy’s decision to work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in proposing the Ottawa Treaty. If there are any questions, please leave a comment below.
Now, having written this paper, I feel I should say at least one thing. As stated above, I do support efforts to ban landmines, but there is a difference in how I would go about doing it compared to what Axworthy did. While “Pink Lloyd’s” heart was definitely in the right place, I would have done my best to stay away from the ICBL. Though the Ottawa Treaty has given this non-governmental organization (NGO) a favourable reputation, it is still a politically radical group. Their harassment of South Korea over its use of anti-personnel landmines is a demonstration of their inability to see reason. As stated in briefing note, since the establishment of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (KDMZ), there has been numerous incursions by the North Koreans. Matter of fact, in the same year the Ottawa Treaty was signed, the North Koreans were doing just that, sending eight soldiers into the KDMZ who were later turned away when South Korean soldiers opened fire. The ICBL seems unable to understand this reality and has been pressuring the South Koreans to remove this line of defense out of sheer anti-landmine zealotry. It isn’t just this however, even their own logic on why landmines should be banned is flawed.
Landmines should be banned for numerous reasons, but I do understand their importance. Anti-personnel landmines have become “smarter” and armies like the United States military have developed procedures for safe deployment and disarming of landmines in war zones. According to the ICBL,
…Landmines are not needed by a modern army. While in the past they may have protected borders and slowed advancing troops, now most armies are mobile and can get through a minefield in less than 30 minutes. Modern motion detection equipment, night detection technology and strategically placed guns can protect military installations, borders and other areas better than landmines…
I don’t believe this for one second. If landmines were so ineffective, why would they still play such a key role in military strategy? Landmines are used because they can “keep watch” better than a soldier. Even with South Korean’s monitoring the KDMZ, it is the landmines for the most part that keep the North Koreans at bay. Once again, the ICBL doesn’t seem to understand this, but do provide evidence to support this fact unwittingly in the very next sentence.
…Also, landmines injure and kill soldiers – the very people they are meant to protect. For example, in the 1991 Gulf War, landmines caused 34% of USA casualties…
Let me get this straight, although landmines aren’t supposed to be effective and modern armies would have no problem with them, but the United States army, which is the most modern army in the world, has trouble with them? You can’t have it both ways, either they are not effective or they are too effective and should therefore be banned. It’s this kind of contradiction in logic that we have come to expect from these kind of organizations. Once again, I don’t blame Axworthy for this at all, matter of fact he deserves his Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, but I still wouldn’t have let the ICBL dictate the terms of any serious treaty.
Aside from the fact that the Ottawa Treaty does come off as another Oil-for-Food Program with its demand that member countries provide financial assistance for developing nations needing funds for landmine disposal (I would like to see who ensures that the money is being spent as it is intended), it is still a very worthwhile effort. I hope this blog post helps those who are working on a project of this nature. Once again, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will provide any assistance that I can.