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Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics

Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics

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Against all odds, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines helped to enact a global treaty banning antipersonnel mines in 1997. For that signal achievement it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics, Leon Sigal shows how a handful of NGOs with almost no mass base got more than 100 countries to outlaw a weapon that their armies had long used. It is a story of intrigue and misperception, of clashing norms and interests, of contentious bureaucratic and domestic politics. It is also a story of effective leadership, of sustained commitment to a cause, of alliances between campaigners and government officials, of a U.S. senator who championed the ban, and of skillful use of the news media.

Yet, despite this monumental effort, the campaign failed to get the United States to sign the treaty. Drawing on extensive internal documents and interviews with U.S. officials and ban campaigners, Sigal tells the inside story of the in-fighting inside the Clinton administration, in the Pentagon, and within the ban campaign itself that led to this major setback for an otherwise unprecedented, successful global effort.