Cover of Preventing a Biochemical Arms Race by Alexander Kelle, Kathryn Nixdorff, and Malcolm Dando
Preventing a Biochemical Arms Race
Alexander Kelle, Kathryn Nixdorff, and Malcolm Dando


256 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804782753
Ebook ISBN: 9780804786157

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Preventing a Biochemical Arms Race responds to a growing concern that changes in the life sciences and the nature of warfare could lead to a resurgent interest in chemical and biological weapons (CBW) capabilities. By bringing together a wide range of historical material and current literature in the field of CBW arms control, the book reveals how these two disparate fields might be integrated to precipitate a biochemical arms race among major powers, rogue states, or even non-state actors.

It seeks to raise awareness among policy practitioners, the academic community, and the media that such an arms race may be looming if developments are left unattended, and to provide policy options on how it—and it's devastating consequences—could be avoided. After identifying weaknesses in the international regime structures revolving around the Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons Conventions, it provides policy proposals to deal with gaps and shortcomings in each prohibition regime individually, and then addresses the widening gap between them.

About the authors

Alexander Kelle is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Bath.

Kathryn Nixdorff is a retired Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Genetics at Darmstadt University of Technology.

Malcolm Dando is Professor of International Security in the Department of Peace Studies University of Bradford.

"This excellent book by top experts links in-depth analysis of the CBW prohibition regimes with recent scholarship on new wars, gives a critical assessment of biodefense policies and is based on a thorough review of the revolution in the life sciences."

—Harald Müller, Executive Director, Peace Research Institute, Frankfurt

"This book rejoins two issues that have for decades been addressed apart: chemical and biological weapons disarmament. Separated for pragmatic reasons, today's convergence in the life sciences calls for new thinking. The book will enrich the discussions in the arms control and the life science communities about managing dual use risks."

—Ralf Trapp, International consultant on chemical and biological weapons arms control