Cluster Munitions for Ukraine: Leaving Civility Behind

Joe Biden has approved the delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine — and, in doing so, has sent out a disastrous signal that jeopardizes the global understanding that has existed up until now.

The U.N. secretary-general opposes this move, the British prime minister has advised against it, and the German government is dithering, but is also not really in favor. The U.S. decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has been largely met with reactions ranging from skepticism to disapproval, even in countries that cannot exactly be suspected of sympathizing with Vladimir Putin. In comparison, the fact that Moscow is using the U.S. president’s decision as propaganda is of little importance.

Critics of Joe Biden’s “go” order rightly cite the terrible impact these weapons can have on the civilian population and the convention that prohibits their use. But Biden’s move sends another disastrous signal. A global understanding that a minimum level of civility should be upheld once represented significant progress. But in practice, it is worthless where there is doubt.

Putin has demonstrated in horrific fashion that he does not care about international and martial law — including, it seems, through the use of cluster munitions. However, anyone who wishes to defend the rule-based world order against the threat he poses should attempt to avoid emulating him in any way. The fact that the U.S., like Russia and Ukraine, did not sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it was concluded is bad enough, but now it is going even further. The next warlord who comes along will invoke this decision, and in the long run, the damage caused as a result could outweigh the expected “utility” of the cluster munitions.

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About Kirsty Low 71 Articles
I am a German to English translator from Scotland with a passion for all things related to language and translation. I have experience translating texts from diverse fields and enjoy taking on new challenges.

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