Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rebecca E. Johnson
The term disarmament is generally used to describe a process of reducing and eliminating certain weapons systems, but it may also depict an end state when a specific type of weapon has been abolished. The quest for a definition is complicated because the concept of disarmament may be employed for different purposes in diplomacy, in international relations, and in national and international security debates. Disarmament can apply to any armaments system, from nuclear weapons to land mines, and depending on political perspective may be cast as negative (inducing vulnerability) or positive (promoting peace). Though disarmament may be linked with arms control, the two approaches are different. Arms control covers partial measures and mechanisms for managing and restricting the development and possession of certain kinds of armaments, whereas disarmament is the process or accomplishment of the elimination and abolition of such weapons systems. Arms control may be an end in itself, ...