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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Next Week: Grading the Obama Administration's Conventional Arms Control Record
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Arms Control NOW

By Jeff Abramson

With news out of Egypt that U.S. manufactured goods are being used to suppress protests, an administration overhauling its export control system, and notifications to Congress in 2010 of record-breaking potential arms sales (including more than $60 billion to Saudi Arabia), now's a good time to ask what's going on with U.S. conventional arms control policies and practices. Not surprisingly, you won't find an answer in last week's state of the union speech address, which lacked any real talk of this administration's conventional arms control record and how it is contributing (or harming) U.S. and global security.

To fill that gap, each day next week we'll provide a grade to the administration's approach to specific conventional arms control issues, and in many cases make suggestions for improvement. Please check back on Monday.

Grading Guide

A: Global leader pressing for actions to curb arms races and set or reinforce highest international norms.

B: Working to raise or meet global norms. Breaking with past policies where appropriate.

C: Policies under review and may result in meeting global norms, or undermining them.

D: Falling behind global norms. Actions may exacerbate or create arms races and insecurity.

F: Actions undermining global norms and likely contributing to arms races.