Fresh off the success of the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the New STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty last week, President Barack Obama and his administration are marshaling an ambitious plan to denuclearize the United States further by banning all nuclear explosions on earth — whether for military or for peaceful purposes. It would be accomplished through the controversial Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, according to a McClatchy Newspapers report
Republicans in the Senate, however, led by Jon Kyl of Arizona, are girding to block the treaty, invoking the help of five new additional GOP members taking office Jan. 5.
Kyl and other Senate Republicans who tried to kill Obama’s New START, which reduces the size of American and Russian nuclear stockpiles, say the United States can't risk relinquishing its ability to test nuclear weapons, even though it hasn’t conducted an underground nuclear weapons test in nearly two decades.
Backing the Obama administration’s contention that banning all nuclear testing will halt the spread of nuclear weapons is none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the former Soviet Union. In an Op-Ed piece Tuesday in The New York Times
, Gorbachev urged the Senate to ratify the ban, saying it would strengthen U.S.-led efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
"We have seen that dialogue with even the most recalcitrant governments is possible," Gorbachev wrote,” yet dialogue can work only if the United States abandons the hypocritical position of telling others what they must do while keeping its own options open."
The principal architect of the nuclear test ban treaty is Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, negotiator of New START. Backed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass, Gottemoeller acknowledges the bloc of Senate Republicans against nuclear arms reduction and control but is determined to secure the accord, even if it gives an advantage to Russia and other rogue nations.
"That's part of a healthy debate, Gottemoeller said. “It's part of a healthy process. I don't see that as a major, major issue."
Opponents counter that ratifying the treaty will undermine national security and make the world more dangerous for America and its interests. They believe that ensuring the safety and reliability of a U.S. nuclear arsenal is essential to offset the threat from the new breed of nuclear nations, such as Iran and North Korea.
Opponents also contend that there is no reliable way to detect secret low-level nuclear tests under the proposed treaty and that ratification would be reckless in light of the rising power and increasing aggressiveness of China, North Korea, and Iran.
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