The Ottawa treaty prohibits anti-personal mines, the Convention for Cluster Munitions prohibits cluster munitions. Several nations with modern armies are signatories of the treaty.

I was wondering if those conventions made an significant negative effect on the effectiveness for modern armies?

My reasoning is that the modern armies, especially the western ones, have an significant amount of "smart", high-tech weapons. I wonder if the effectiveness of those weapons outweigh the absence of the outlawed mines/munitions? Did the signatories just signed the treaty because at that time they assumed that no significant military conflict would emerge in foreseeable future? Or did they consider the now outlawed weapons to be not that necessary for their protection as they where superseded by newer weapon systems?

  • Wasn't the landmine - Ottawa treaty reasoned by them posing a long term hazard for civilians as they remain hidden and dangerous, and not trying to make waging war less efficient?
    – Communisty
    Jul 6, 2018 at 8:10
  • 1
    @Communisty Surely that was the main reason. But those weapons where bought in the first place because they where deemed necessary, despite their known negative side. So it was always a matter of compromise: the effectiveness of my army vs. the long term hazard when used. So they surely made some thoughts about the impact for their military.
    – Martin
    Jul 6, 2018 at 8:27
  • Also it's important to remember this is a bilateral munitions treaty--the countries all agree not to use them. That means that in a potential conflict hypothetically neither side would use these weapons, limiting the military detriment to each from a comparative perspective.
    – Eremi
    Jul 6, 2018 at 13:01
  • *multilateral, not bilateral.
    – Eremi
    Jul 6, 2018 at 13:59
  • @Eremi Anti personel mines, as defined in the Ottawa treaty, are fairly antisymmetric, in that the defender has generally more to gain from denying easy access to a specific area.
    – origimbo
    Jul 6, 2018 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


You might look at who is not on the lists: Countries like The US, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, N/S Korea and Israel that you might expect to prioritize military readiness have not signed. This strongly implies that modern militaries think there is a non-trivial value to landmines and cluster weapons.

You might look at where landmine deaths occur (Africa and the Middle East mostly), or who dies (mostly civilians, almost half children) and see why places that think they can afford to not use these weapons (The West other than the US) or places that deal with past deployments (parts of Africa) or worry about becoming like those places (South America, other parts of Africa) might be pushed by civilian leadership to renounce these weapons despite any possible military advantages.

  • That's similar to the anti-nuclear treaty signed this year: anyone who might actually use nuclear weapons would never sign it, so it's an empty gesture. Jul 6, 2018 at 19:01
  • @JonathanReez not really; countries like Columbia or The Congo could easily make use of mines and have in the past, but officially saying they won't reduces the numbers being deployed.
    – user9389
    Jul 6, 2018 at 21:25

Mines are cheap to install and costly to remove, and rarely an army (in the general sense) will spend time cleaning up after themselves after the conflict is over.

The clean up responsibility will fall back on the civilian population who are mostly unprepared, unequipped and untrained in handling those mines.

  • That's true, but the effects on the civilian population are not a part of this question.
    – Philipp
    Jul 6, 2018 at 18:18

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