Robot-killer, hypersonic missiles, the technology of synthetic biology, cyber weapons… In the German foreign Ministry hosted an international conference devoted to the issue of preventive control of new weapons systems.
Autonomous combat systems, self-selecting targets. Latest biotechnology and medical technology, which allows people to heal and to kill. Hypersonic missiles, leaving no time for well-considered response. Cyber attacks, paralyzing the system of electricity or water. This all – new modern weapons. When signed existing international agreements on arms control, nothing like the world has ever had.
Now, thanks to the rapid progress in the development and application of new technologies is about to appear – or have appeared – a brand new combat system that do not fall under the current international legal constraints. Such a situation, the foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Wt (Heiko Maas) considers extremely dangerous. He proposes to preempt already starting the race with new weapons.
New technologies and international law
“In fact, we are talking about the answer to the question of whether we control technology, or, in the end, they’re above us,” said Mas at the conference called Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control, held in the German foreign Ministry on March 15. Many of the modern technologies, according to him, are in a political and legal grey area in which said Mac, “it blurs the boundary between law and lawlessness, between peace and conflict.”
The German foreign Minister urges not to repeat the mistakes of the past. He cites the example of chemical weapons, the international ban on the use of which was introduced only in 1925 – after from poison gas on the battlefields of the First world war, painful death of tens of thousands of soldiers.
At the conference in Berlin was attended by about 450 diplomats, employees of the ministries of defence, experts and politicians mainly from the EU and NATO. But there were also representatives from China, Russia, Israel, Brazil, India, and Japan. In Moscow by the initiative of the Mas reacted without enthusiasm. There the main theme is the crisis associated with the Treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles (INF Treaty), the violation of which NATO accuses Russia.
“I don’t understand why one to terminate the existing agreement on arms control and at the same time to start working on a new,” – said on the sidelines of the conference, DW one of the members of the Russian delegation. From his point of view, it would be enough to hold the “inventory” of already signed agreements and to adjust them to the demands of the time.
Why so dangerous a hypersonic missile
However, the reticence of Moscow to the German initiative, likely due to the fact that it goes on those new weapons systems, which a year ago said in his address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Thus, according to the German experts on international law, referred to the deep-sea high-speed Intercontinental drone on the mini-nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons do not fall under any of the existing treaties on the limitation of strategic offensive arms.
Or a hypersonic missile with a minimum flight time, which also told the Russian President. “Missiles flying at a speed significantly exceeding the speed of sound, said at a conference in Berlin Heiko Wt – virtually a person does not leave time for a balanced and well-considered response”. And this is not fiction, as evidenced, according to him, the statement of Russia about plans this year to equip the troops of the missile system “Avangard”.
Speakers at the conference, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström believes that the new missile technology threatens international peace and security. And, she added, the trend towards high-speed aircraft creates additional problems.
Deputy UN Secretary General and UN High representative for disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu said in Berlin that a hypersonic missile system that radically reduces the time on the response, open a new round of nuclear arms race and undermine hopes for the production of the following agreements on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons to replace start-3, which expires in 2021.
Robots-killers and man’s responsibility
The participants of the conference in the German foreign Ministry did not set ourselves the task to develop projects for future agreements on the control of new weapons. Agree about the concepts, explained to German diplomats. For example, what is considered a robot-killer, Autonomous combat system.
Izumi Nakamitsu believes that the increasing autonomy of weapons calls into question the existing legal framework and human responsibility for its application. “But there are deep ethical aspects, she said. Is it permissible to subcontract algorithms issues of life and death.” Nakamatsu believes that “the existence and application of Autonomous systems capable of destroying human life, politically unacceptable, immoral, and such weapons should be banned”.
New weapons – digital code
But if the presence of hypersonic missiles and Autonomous combat systems is somehow possible to check, how to be a cyber-weapon and military application of new biotechnologies?
The next war, if it happens, will be conducted according to the forecast Heiko Masa “not only with the megabomb, but also megabits and megabytes”. And how to ensure that in this area transparency and begin the process of disarmament, he asks, if the weapon is just digital code, lightning transmitted over a computer network?
He considers outdated and the Convention on the prohibition of biological weapons since 1975, when it was adopted, no one expected the revolution in biotechnology, comparable in pace with the development of computers. “It is unacceptable, – said Mac – that States, terrorists or criminals took advantage of the open access to scientific research to biological weapons threaten all of humanity”.
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