Preventing the Proliferation and Spread of Biological and Toxin Weapons of Mass Destruction Agenda overseen by Francis Lin, Young Su Kang, and Yan Wa Li
Biological weapons are catastrophic agents that disperse detrimental organisms or poisons to slaughter people, creatures or plants. On top of strategic military applications, biological weapons can be utilized for political massacre, the contamination of animals or farming to trigger nutrient deficiencies and economic crisis and the phenomenon of natural disasters. Any illness creating creature can be regarded as a biological weapon. Bacteria can be modified and strengthened from its original genome to make them more suitable for large scale manufacturing, capacity, and construction as weapons. Biological weapons can transform into different types such as rockets, bombs, hand grenades (“What Are Biological and Toxin Weapons?”, 1). The 1925 Geneva Protocol restricts the uses of concoction and biological weapons in war. The Protocol was drawn up and marked at a meeting which was held in Geneva under the sponsorship of the League of Nations from 4 May to 17 June 1925, and it went into application on 8 February 1928 (“1925 GENEVA PROTOCOL”, 1).
There are two common types of biological agents: Anthrax and Plague. Anthrax is an ailment of people and creatures, brought by the bacterium. Its name originated from the Greek word for coal "anthrakis" in light of the fact that it causes dark coal like skin injuries. The bacterium regularly infiltrates the body through injuries in the skin. The capacity of sporulation and resistance of the spores to heat, disinfectants and UV radiation makes anthrax anthracis the most catastrophic biological agent. It is known for that the spores can last up to 40 years in water or soil. Spores exist in places where oxygen is plenty. The Allies in the Gruinard Island directed tests of bombs containing Anthrax in 1943. After the tests, live spores were distinguished in the dirt at different profundities and took 40 years and huge amounts of formaldehyde to clean the island and announce it free of anthrax spores. Plague is an contagious ailment of creatures and people brought on by the microscopic organisms, Yersinia pestis. It is a zoonotic contamination including the rodents and people. Many individuals in Europe, Asia and Africa were killed because of contaminated insects were intentionally spread to human homes and ports. Today, the anti-infection agents have practically decreased the devastating effects of this agent. World Health Organization (WHO) reports around 1000–3000 cases of Plague from various nations around the globe. People are contaminated from sickness from rats that conveys the disease microscopic organisms or by being exposed to a infected creature. In the normal contamination, people's body swells. In a biological warfare, the plague bacterias are spread through the air. The hatching time of Plague germs is 2–10 days, which might be significantly diminished to 8–12 hours on account of environmental factors. The clinical indication of sickness is swollen bodies and high fever. The sickness advances quickly and the microscopic organisms attack the circulation system, creating serious ailment and further form into overpowering pneumonia with high fever, hack grisly sputum and chills. In untreated cases, people can die within few days (“Biological Warfare agents”, 1).
History (“Biological Weapons”, 1)
Russian troops utilize disease contaminated swords against Swedish
The British spreads blankets with smallpox viruses to Indians during French and Indian War
German scientists use plague glanders to taint domesticated animals and spread to Allied powers
Japan initiates its catastrophic biological weapons program. Unit 731, the BW innovative work unit, is situated in Harbin, Manchuria. Throughout the experimental years, 10,000 innocent people were killed in Japanese labatories.
Japanese pollutes Soviet water supply with intestinal typhoid microscopic organisms at Mongolian border.
U.S. develops its ambitious biological weapons program and picks Camp Detrick, Frederick, Maryland as its innovative work site.
During experimentation of biological weapons, viruses are spread over San Francisco
In the United States, President Nixon declares elimination of the U.S. hostile BW program.
A Soviet intention, Bulgarian Georgi Markov is cut with an umbrella that infuses him with a pellet containing ricin
Iraq admits its initiation of biological developments
Recent concerns of biological and toxin weapons have arisen from the Middle East region due to political conflict and unrest. Iraq had been suspected of the operation of an extensive biological weapons program in the 1980s under Saddam Hussein ("Chronology of Main Events." 2008). While the United Nations inspected Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and Iraq declared its biological weapons program closed and destroyed its biological arsenal, the United States found the claim unconvincing with the absence of solid evidence. It was speculated that Iraq still holds basic facilities that may be put into use for producing biological weapons of mass destruction. This subsequently led to the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 under president George Bush. However, no biological weapons were found after further inspections.
With doubts that biological weapons could be created with simple procedure, recent innovative advances strengthen the probability that these weapons could be procured or delivered by people and terrorist associations. The 20th century already witnessed dangers of biological weapons by accidents in delivering. There was additionally a few realization of biological weapons that once it is used, it is difficult to draw judgments whether such disasters were caused intentionally or by nature. The prevention and counteractive actions of such an occasion ought to likewise require worldwide collaboration (“What Are Biological and Toxin Weapons?”, 1). In 2016, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) asks States Parties to concentrate on following the agreed terms to fortify the preclusion of biological weapons while adjusting preventive endeavors to the contemporary exploratory scene (“Biological Weapons: Efforts Needed to Strengthen Preventive Measures, Meeting of States Parties, 2013”, 1).
Emphasis of the Discourse
Right wing approach
In solving this crisis, there are various ways in which one can contribute to monumental breakthroughs. Here are some methods that a conservative politician would support: 1. Strengthen current laws and ratify a new policy of zero tolerance for ungratified implements of biological weapons. 2. Set up conferences with countries to review the proliferation and spread of biological and toxin weapons. 3. Create international sanctions upon the extent of biological weapons. The main focus of a traditionalist policymaker is to enhance law regulations that can play a pivotal role in prohibiting further biological weapons. These suggestions can indeed raise public awareness about this crisis and nonetheless alarm countries to hinder investigations. However, simply imposing harsh laws may not decrease mass destructions caused by those weapons. Forcing coercive regulations by individual countries may not be the best approach to resolve the crisis.
Left wing approach
A liberal politician would insist these solutions: 1. Accept the government’s previous action of using biological and toxin weapons in wars that had caused severe environmental and humanitarian problems. 2. Accredit ambassadors to seek international regulations. 3. Establish programs to support in eliminating mass production of biological weapons. The motive of a progressive policymaker is to approach this situation in a more liberal way. Once again, such liberal approaches can resolve the crisis in a more political manner and spread these serious issues to other nations, contributing to global support. On the other hand, critics might argue that such “subtle suggestions” to settle this crisis will trigger beneficial results because it is absolutely difficult to meet the needs of all countries.
As a consequence of enduring developments by the global group to set up unprecedented instrument that would supplement the 1925 Geneva Protocol the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), was formed in1972. The BWC is the first multilateral demilitarization bargain banning the creation and utilization of a biological and toxic classification of weapons. Until now, numerous countries have joined the Convention. The BWC efficaciously hinders the improvement, creation, exchange, and promotion of biological and poison weapons and is a key component in the worldwide group's endeavors to address the expansion of weapons of mass annihilation (“The Biological Weapons Convention”, 1).
Stance of developed countries
While the United States has once actively researched biological weapons in from the 1940s to the 1970s, the United States is strictly against the use of biological weapons.
All developed countries are signatories of or have acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention, and are prohibited from the use of biological weapons.
There has however, been records of supplying and selling of biological agents from developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom to Iraq at the beginning of Iraq’s biological weapon development ("Iraq Got Seeds for Bioweapons from U.S." 2002).
Stance of developing countries
As the center of the biological weapon debate, countries in the Middle East has varied stance on the issue of biological weapons.
Iran has publicly rejected the use of biological weapons and has signed the Biological Weapon Convention (“Signatories of the Biological Weapons Convention” 2011).
Israel on the other hand has been suspected of possessing biological warfare capability (“Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Assessing the Risk” 2011). While it is not known that if Israel continues to maintain active biological weapons, Israel remains one of the few countries that have yet to sign the Biological Weapons Convention. Reports indicates ongoing biological weapon researches in Israel that are directed towards Arab countries (Weber 2005)
Egypt has signed but remained an unratified status on the Biological Weapons Convention. Egypt has a record of developing and using biological weapons, which reached its peak in the 1960s. Egypt maintains that it only keeps its biological warfare capability because Israel also possess biological weapons, and will only use its capability when Israel decided to initiate biological warfare (Robinson 1973).
Iraq is another Middle Eastern country that has been participated in arming of biological weapons. The country pursued a biological weapons program in the 1980s under Saddam Hussein’s reign. The biological weapons program was extensive and involved long-range missiles ("Chronology of Main Events." 2008). The country however did sign and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972 and 1991 (“Signatories of the Biological Weapons Convention” 2011). Iraq however holds an ambiguous stance on biological weapons as a strategic defense against Iran (“Adherence To and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation and disarmament Agreements and Commitments” 2005).
China has signed the Biological Weapons Convention and has declared to not engage in offensive biological activities ("Fact Sheets & Briefs." 2014). However, China is suspected to have operated a biological weapons program and has raised concern of possible biological weapon transfer from China to Iran ().
Solution in favor of developed countries
Developed countries favor a total banning of biological weapons as any country that possess biological and toxin weapons may pose potential threat the national safety.
A possible solution may be negotiation for throughout inspections for biological weapons and potential biological weapons facilities in suspected countries.
Financial and military sanctions can be employed upon countries possessing biological and toxin weapons that are unwilling to cooperate with the United Nations.
Solution in favor of developing countries
While most developing countries have signed the Biological Weapons Convention and do not possess or plan on obtaining biological weapons, certain countries such as Israel and Egypt have their reasons and arguments for maintaining biological warfare capabilities.
These countries may argue for the right to use biological weapons as defensive strategies. However, this is not likely as most nations except for four are signatories of the Biological Weapons Convention
Factors to consider
Keep in mind that biological and toxin weapons are not to be confused with chemical weapons, which are regulated by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Biological and toxin weapons are different from chemical weapons in that
Biological weapons do not have immediate effect on the target and requires extended periods of incubation for the agent to take effect. Chemical weapons have immediate effects on the target and are more effective over short time span and direct battle field usage.
While chemical weapons are generally confinable within small regions of use, biological weapons may spread beyond the original targeted group.
(US Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents 1969)
It is also important to remember that while certain countries may be accused or suspected of possessing biological weapons, there may lack sufficient evidence to directly claim that one country do possess such weapons.
Biological weapons may also be help and employed by terrorist organizations, whom may not be under the control of governments and may not be subjugated to international conventions. Regions of political unrest and conflict such as the Middle East may need extra attention for potential biological terrorism. Anti-terrorism measure preventing terrorist organization from obtaining biological and toxin weapons may be considered to provide a more coherent solution to preventing the proliferation of biological and toxin weapons of mass destruction.
Biological and toxin weapons are considered alongside chemical weapons and nuclear weapons to be weapons of mass destruction. The obtaining and employing of biological weapons are considered to be violations of human rights and are internationally condemned. The Biological Weapons convention was established in respond to the world’s recognition of the need to regulate and control biological weapons to prevent biological catastrophe and warfare. Certain countries however still pursue biological weapons programs whether openly or in clandestine. International effort is need to better regulate and prevent the proliferation of such weapons of mass destruction.