chapter  5
Strengthening Non-proliferation Policy
Pages 16

Strengthening Non-proliferation Policy Effective controls on the spread of cruise missiles and related technologies would not only improve the predictability of the threat and slow its emergence, it would also greatly reduce the cost of missile defences. Yet among most advocates of missile defence and many die-hard arms controllers the consensus is emerging that curbing cruise-missile proliferation is a lost cause. The former naturally see rapid deployment of missile defences as the only prescription for its consequences, while the latter search pessimistically for stronger and legally binding international norms in the form of a new treaty.1 Like so many complex national security issues, however, the prescription calls for a modest dose of each nostrum. On the one hand, more effective hedging strategies to cope with the threat's possible emergence would not only serve US defence objectives better, they might make prospective adversaries less inclined to invest in cruise missiles. On the other hand, addressing current weaknesses in the MTCR's rules on the transfer of both complete systems and dual-use technologies might inhibit the worst manifestations of the threat for significant time periods. Both would present defence planners with a more orderly and predictable threat evolution and render them much less liable to surprise.