A Nanotechnology Arms Control Treaty?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mike Treder's idea for an International Nanotechnology Arms Control Treaty (INTACT) is intriguing:
Existing arms treaties may not apply to nanotechnology-based weapons, and there are important intellectual property, commercial confidentiality, and national security issues involved in addressing this challenge. One option is to brief and consult with relevant organizations for the next draft of the White Paper, with the goal of encouraging the eventual creation of an International Nanotechnology Arms Control Treaty (INTACT).
History recorded that a revolution on general purpose manufacturing capabilities tends to end in arms race. That's what happened in WWI. Arms limitation would be one interesting alternative for preventing a future nano-war.

But there is a difference: nano is small, conventional weaponries are big. How are we supposed to watch non proliferation of small things such as that? Well, I suppose the future sensors would develop.

There is a second difference. If a weapon is big, it would take a group of people to operate. This is the function of army groups. But if the weapon is small, and its destruction capability is as big as conventional weapons, then it can be operated in small groups. This is likely to be the function of terrorist cells. What I am trying to say is this: smaller weapons makes wars easier. Large scale wars will be obsolete, small scale "terrorism" would be likely. Terrorism requires effective intelligence and policing. Policing is the keyword for future non proliferation treaty.

What is the implication? The INTACT, if it is later designed, should be formed both as an inter-state treaty and as a "policing treaty". The current Nuclear nPT is an inter state treaty, because state is an actor of every nuclear policy. But what about nanotech weaponries? The actors are not only states, but also corporations and individual people. That is why I said above that INTACT should be a "policing treaty". A treaty that lies its emphasis on individual people, as well as the state.

Click here on my previous posts on "Unrestricted Warfare" and "Lawfare".