The Arms Control Association is a non-partisan, independent association based in the United States. The purpose of ACA is to promote and support effective arms control policies amongst the public. Founded in 1971, the ACA is known for its publication “Arms Control Today,” but its staff also provides broader commentary on various policy concerns for the global public. Several well-known foundations support the ACA, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. This week, ACA published its first ever report card, grading eleven countries in ten different categories over 18 months. The eleven states appearing in the report are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Of the eleven key players studied by the ACA, North Korea scored the lowest over all ten categories. North Korea passed only three of the ten categories, and even in those categories, it received scores of “D.” Its violation of almost every non-proliferation and disarmament standard over the 18-month study resulted in the last place score. North Korea was one of the eight graded countries that possess nuclear weapons, and its poor score was just below Iran and Syria, both of which are suspected of nuclear activities. As one of the eight states with nuclear weapons, North Korea was singled out as a key nuclear material supplier to other countries, and the ACA asserted that North Korea was a cause of the increased threat of proliferation in the Middle East and Asia.
While not at the absolute bottom, India and Pakistan did not score well either, as they, along with Israel, refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel, India and Pakistan have all failed to reduce nuclear stockpiles, but Israel did score well in program safety, even as its lack of transparency in the issue of its nuclear stockpile is a cause for concern. In comparison, the United States and Russia were praised for their negotiations of the New START Treaty, even as the US was criticized for keeping its nuclear weapons on a high level of readiness for use. The US’ efforts to reduce nuclear arms and create nuclear weapon-free zones rely on ratification in Congress, which is a stressful situation for the Obama Administration, as midterm elections take place next week, and the future of the Senate is uncertain. The spokesman for the Syrian Embassy, Ahmed Salkini, called for a universal standard in nuclear arms control as he questioned the ACA’s methodology in conducting the study.