Banning Evil: Cluster Munitions and the...
The rise and entry into force of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) that prohibits cluster bombs constitutes a global prohibition regime. I argue that this new prohibition regime and the arising new international norm set by the CCM, i.e. the prohibition of the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention or transfer of cluster munitions developed due to a strong moral opprobrium, initially elicited by commanding moral force of International Humanitarian Law as a robust and compelling previously existing normative structure and then by the success of the ban on landmines that acted as a model of activism and fast-track diplomacy a decade before. The ban on cluster bombs is about military doctrines succumbing to the higher authority of moral and humanitarian concerns propelled by activist non-governmental actors and a few forward-looking states.
Cluster munitions constitute a substantial part of the military arsenals of all major powers. Their development, procurement and stockpile are a central hard component of national security. Yet, in less than two years, cluster munitions were banned by an international treaty negotiated outside the normal channels, the United Nations (UN), and spectacularly, in less than two years. The treaty is the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) signed in Oslo in December 2008, by almost one hundred states, and quickly enforced force (August 2010).
Realists would dismiss such cases and say that the politics of national security is impervious to change and influence. A few prominent scholars have demonstrated the role of other actors beyond the state in bringing change to other issues that are close to the national security of states. The case of the powerful convention that banned landmines in 1997 proved to be the first hard case in which an issue of national security was brought to change by the penetrating and coordinated influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide.