Key issues in the emerging U.S. debate on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Kane, Christian D.
Yost, David S.
Wirtz, James J.
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This thesis analyzes both sides of the U.S. debate concerning the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1999, and which has attracted renewed interest under the Barack Obama administration. Significant events in international politics have changed the prospects of nuclear proliferation since 1999. Scientists and engineers have improved methods for verifying treaty compliance and ensuring the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons. Proponents of the CTBT continue to view it as crucial to nuclear non-proliferation efforts and effectively verifiable with minimal effects on the U.S. strategic deterrence posture. Meanwhile, skeptics regarding the treaty continue to view it as unverifiable and/or unenforceable and detrimental to U.S. strategic deterrence and non-proliferation efforts. Technical advancements alone are not likely to sway the opinions of senators who voted against CTBT ratification in 1999. If President Obama wishes to pursue CTBT ratification as he has stated, his administration will need to gain bipartisan support by compromising on some issues and establishing safeguards against the risks of the treaty.
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