The effect of the Cold War on international treaties : three case studies.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Laws
This research sets out to examine the effect that the Cold War had on the development of public international law – namely, on the development of treaties. To do this, this thesis first identifies and explains three geopolitical tensions of the Cold War: peace and security, mutual distrust, and resources. With the tensions identified, this thesis goes on to apply these tensions to three international treaties which were concluded during the Cold War.
The tensions of peace and security and mutual distrust come through strongly Antarctic Treaty’s key provisions regarding territory, denuclearisation and open inspections. The disarmament provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty were a clear peace and security measure, while the weaknesses of the safeguards regime is indicative of mutual distrust. Finally, the Outer Space Treaty’s non-appropriation principle and partial demilitarisation provisions were crucial in maintaining peace in outer space at the time the Treaty was concluded.
Following the case studies, the final section of the thesis analyses the current threats facing each of the treaties today, and their ability to respond to these threats. For example, all three treaties face the threat of new players to their respective areas of application; however, each treaty has different strengths and weaknesses when combating this new threat. The thesis concludes with a final analysis of the effect of the Cold War on these treaties, finding that whether to the treaties’ benefit or detriment, the geopolitical tensions of the Cold War certainly affected the treaties’ negotiation, development and implementation.