September 13, 2016

Cardin, Markey In Wall Street Journal: U.S. Is Already A Signatory To Test Ban Treaty

We were disappointed to read Senate Republicans’ letter to President Obama regarding his intention to pursue a U.N. Security Council resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (“Republican Senators Decry Obama’s Nuclear Ban Effort,” U.S. News, Sept. 9). While the U.S. isn’t yet a party to the CTBT, we are a signatory and, since 1992 our own national policy prevents the testing of nuclear weapons in line with the treaty’s main goal. 

Setting aside the important but broader debate about constitutional prerogatives of the executive and legislative branches raised by our colleagues, this letter can be read only as a partisan attack on the president based on speculation completely at odds with the administration’s stated goal. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. is seeking a nonbinding resolution that reinforces the international norm against nuclear testing and the value of the monitoring system established to detect and confirm nuclear explosions anywhere on the planet. The vital importance of this system was once again underscored last week after it verified North Korea’s fifth nuclear test. 

American leadership on nuclear security is needed now more than ever, so it’s hard to believe our colleagues would want to follow through on their political, shortsighted threat to defund this system. And if they agree with our own policy on testing, then isn’t our national security enhanced by reaffirming and promoting a similar practice in more corners of the world?