Op-ed: Cooking the WMD Books: Politicizing the 2019 State Department Compliance Report

Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell wrote an op-ed in Just Security about the dangers of politicizing an arms control compliance report.

“Instead of following its mandate to describe things that have already happened, the authors of the 2019 Compliance Report decided to write about things that might happen. The phrase “raises serious questions” appears repeatedly. Vague warnings can have unintended consequences. Based on the phrasing in the Report, some of our own allies could also be described as raising “serious concerns” when it comes to compliance with the NPT, given their own breakout capacity. That was not the likely goal of the authors, but that is what can happen when a political agenda creeps into an analytical product.

To be clear “woulds,” “coulds,” and “mights” do have a place in the discussion of threats, but the U.S. Government already produces content of that nature. The Compliance Report is meant to be an assessment of past actions, not an assessment of possible future intent.” Read more