Nuclear Weapons

Debating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion editorial by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) entitled “Why We Need to Test Nuclear Weapons.” If the title makes you grind your teeth, just wait until you read the whole piece, which ignores reality and spouts misleading statements about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Sen. Kyl, we’ve had a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing since the early 1990s, and the public is just not going to support a return to nuclear testing. Ever.

For a well-reasoned explanation of why the US should ratify the CTBT, check out this OpEd from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

Considering these advancements, opposition to ratifying the CTBT is equivalent to handcuffing the U.S. in its efforts to prevent other nuclear weapon states from emerging. Denying the U.S. a key tool in that fight makes no sense. To date, the U.S. has contributed financially, advanced technologically, but has reaped none of the political or lasting security benefits. This is a mistake that is further complicated by the growing demand for the CTBT….

Opponents of the CTBT who ask what the U.S. will receive in return for ratification forget that the rest of the world already gave what the U.S. sought when they agreed in 1995 to extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty indefinitely. It is the United States that has not lived up to its end of the NPT bargain. It’s time for America to keep its promise.