Richard Price is an expert on (and participant in) international efforts to ban particularly terrible anti-personnel weapons -- land mines in the 1980s and chemical weapons more recently.
In this interview with Ezra Klein he points out what all the noisy warmongers clamoring for missile strikes on Syria as the only way to "uphold international norms" seem to have missed:
EK: Do you think striking Syria is necessary to uphold the norms against chemical weapons?In that case I'd say it's time for the Obama Administration to proudly hang up the Mission Accomplished banner and call it a day.
RP: I’m a bit skeptical. This immense explosion of outrage and horror around this episode wouldn’t leave a future user of chemical weapons thinking they could just go ahead. It’s a very high-cost thing with a very real risk....
And you’ll notice something strange about this episode. It’s not as if Syria is defending their use of chemical weapons. They’re denying it. And that helps contribute to the notion this is an unacceptable process. In World War I, the Germans argued that gas might be more humane than bayonets or getting blown up. Some people think that the Bush administration’s view on enhanced interrogation techniques struck a real blow against norms against torture. No one is defending chemical warfare. All the dynamics here have served to highlight that this is a salient norm in global politics today.
Job well done!