WMD regimes belong to the remit of ‘high politics’ and tend to be surrounded by high degrees of secrecy. Democratic legitimacy is contested and has remained auxiliary to security.
Marked changes in the institutional set-up of tackling WMD proliferation, encompassing key innovations in transnational governance, have not fundamentally improved the legitimacy of the regimes, but have made them more effective. The need for more stakeholders and new allies has contributed significantly to the transparency of decision-shaping and policy-making. However, strict limits to democracy and legitimacy remain, based on longstanding and deeply rooted concerns about secrecy, security, and – ultimately – effectiveness.
This paper is part of a project on the legitimacy of transnational governance, jointly carried out by Clingendael and The Hague Institute for Global Justice in 2012-2014.