Yes We Should: Why the U.S. Should Change Its Policy Toward the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

Good, Rachel | March 29, 2013

Since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty was signed, many states, including the United States, have undergone a wide-scale shift in their policies and practices with regard to landmines. While the Mine Ban Treaty has yet to reach the level of customary international law, there is significant indication that an obligation to eliminate landmines is emerging. Considering these developments in state behavior, the question becomes whether the United States should now join the treaty. When the United States decided not to sign the treaty in 1997, it cited the military utility of the weapon as the primary reason. This comment argues that the military utility argument was flawed in 1997 and has become even more so over the past 18 years due to the changing nature of warfare. Also, since 1997, the United State has engaged in behavior, including launching two wars, which has isolated it from the larger international community and tarnished its reputation as a humanitarian nation. The Mine Ban Treaty is an ideal treaty for the United States to join in order to re-engage with the international community and demonstrate its commitment to humanitarian action.