What do you think of the unratified test ban treaty?

I was listening to Trent Lott talk about the nuclear test ban treaty, and how it was no good and how Clinton should have listened to the Republicans. What do you all think of the treaty and Lott’s criticisms?

What should we do know in terms on arms control and non-proliferation?

Well, while I don’t necessarily agree to the treaty (I think that a-weapons should be tested from time to time, with notice to other members of the A-club, to ensure they are still functional in case they are ever needed), I know what needs to be done about the treaty.

It’ll take us until November 2002 to get it accomplished, though.

– “I’m from North Carolina and I don’t support Jesse Helms” {local bumper sticker I’m seeing a lot of lately}

I have no idea what the treaty says, but consider this.

Those who would obey the treaty will likely also listen to a suggestion from the President.

Those who would not listen to a suggestion likely will not obey the treaty.

A treaty is only good if all involved obey it. What is to stop China from testing weapons if they want to? Not some stupid treaty. Are we going to sanction them? Lot of good that will do.

It is probably a waste of time to try to develop an extensive treaty that is probably worthless.


The unfortunate thing is that is had deprived the president a chance to declare that “we have peace in our time.”

Both China and Russia have signed but not ratified the treaty (same as the U.S.). It is my understanding that China and Russia have no intention of ratifying the treaty. In addition, India, Pakistan and North Korea have neither signed nor ratified.

IMO, the U.S. should not ratify. We stopped testing in 1992. Has that stopped N. Korea, India, and Pakistan from enlarging and testing their weapons? I don’t think we should tie our hands in this matter.

Regardless of one’s opinion on the test ban, I think one has to admit that Clinton butchered the politics on this one. A number of Republicans might have supported the treaty had certain issues been addressed in the time between 1996 and now. But the administration didn’t try very hard to listen.

In addition, I saw in the paper yesterday quotes from about 9 different letters Clinton sent to Congress over the past 3 years strongly asking for a quick debate and vote on the Senate floor. He should be careful what he asks for.

Congress was wrong not to ratify IMHO. Not because the treaty would do any good at decreasing the threat of nuclear war, but because of the symbolic jesture we could have shown the world. We now have no credibility telling Iraq, Iran, N. Korea et al not to develope nukes.


“Are they NUTS!!!”

That was my initial reaction. I’ll admit straightaway that I don’t know the details of the treaty. I’m sure you’ll take everything I say with a grain of salt without me having to tell you to. My knowledge of the issue is limited and I wouldn’t mind being educated in it. I would like very much to discus it further.

Now, for my opinion. It seems to me that the main complaint about the treaty is that it wouldn’t force people to respect it. Excuse me, but has any treaty forced anyone to do anything? I don’t think so. A treaty is a piece of paper, no some omnipotent enforcer. A treaty is a statement of intentions, an agreement to follow certain rules. Sometimes, a treaty is a moral statement, and I think this latest treaty fell into that category. It was a moral choice and the U.S. failed it.

I’ve watched media from around the world in the few languages I understand. It’s big news outside of the U.S. People are unbelieving. The U.S. goverment, whether by choice or not, is a world leader that’s a light to many parts of the world. Many other countries look up to the U.S. for guidance in politics, economy, and morality. Yet again and again the U.S. goverment sends the wrong signals to the world. It’s willing to act as a policeman in parts of the world far away and says it seeks world peace and stability, yet the acts don’t follow the words.

What is the Senate afraid of? How many nuclear weapons do you need for it to constitute a nuclear deterent? IMHO, one and maybe a spare. Then again, nuclear weapons are not an reasonable alternative to any conflict in our present era. With new nuclear powers appearing throughout the world, better judgment was needed. Isolationist policies are counter-productive to democracy and world peace.

I ask again, what are these people afraid of? Do they actually think the people of the world will run rampant if the U.S. doesn’t keep up its nuclear arsenal? Does anyone feel that nuclear weapons as they stand aren’t enough of a deterrent? The U.S. has relied again and again on superior technology in weaponery that had nothing to do with nuclear energy to intervene in international conflicts. Where and when has the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal come into play?

In our present time nuclear weapons are useless except to prevent other people from using it. Better nukes are not more useful, they’re just better nukes with no humanely acceptable target. I don’t see how the treaty comes close to being a ‘threat’ to U.S. interests, let alone national security.
The treaty was a moral statement, if nothing else. It had been agreed and ratified by many countries. Some haven’t and it’s a shame which the U.S. now shares. It really saddens me that such an important issue was subverted to political interests.

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

Amazing how many of you are willing to comment on a treaty about which you start by admitting you know nothing.

My suggestion, read the text of the treaty, THEN read some thourough analysis of the treaty and the situation, THEN spout thoughts on whether it was a good or bad thing that we failed to ratify it.

http://www.acda.gov/ctbtpage/ctb_page.htm For the treaty itself.

Analysis abounds on the web.

The nuclear test ban treaty would have had no real impact in the real world. Its significance was purely symbolic. Not, as Seinfeld would put it, that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes, a little symbolism is a nice thing, and maybe there’s something to be said for the world’s more civilized nations getting together to say, “Nukes bad! No no! Don’t set off nuclear weapons, you naughty countries.”

Still, despite the howls of outrage from liberals around the world, we’re NOT in any more danger today than we would have been with a ratified test band treaty. I mean, for crying out loud, do you think BElgium is going to start setting off nukes because we rejected the treaty? Is New Zealand going to start testing H-bombs in the South Pacific? You think Norway and Canada are going to do underground bomb tests? Of course not.

On the other hand, do you think the countries that ARE likely to develop nukes (Iran, North Korea, Iraq, etc.) are going to be deterred by a symbolic gesture?

Bill Clinton backed a pointless pact to make a symbolic gesture (saying “War is bad”) while the Republicans rejected the pointless pact to make an equally symbolic statement (“We hate Clinton”). The tangible effects are negligible, just as they would have been if the treaty passed.

DSYoungEsq, thank you for the thread.

I’ve read the whole thing (well, most of it), and I stand by my previous post. This is a very serious topic, I’m surprised so few SDMB posters seem to have an opinion on it.

Polycarp, you mentioned you knew what was needed to make the treaty ‘work’. I’d like to hear your opinion.

I don’t agree about the zero-real-effect of the treaty. The more concerted effort there is in the world, the more potent. The U.N. has its failings, but it has its successes too. Put another way, is there any reason the U.S. would not want to ratify this treaty?

I’ll finish with this one question: is there any doubt that the rejection was purely political?

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

Sorry, Momotaro, it was a wisecrack. Implication was to get rid of Jesse Helms, who is Senior Senator from the state I now live in.

I haven’t reviewed that link yet, so I am in fact talking through my hat if I make any comments on whether this treaty is any good. What I am upset about is Sen. Helms (and the White House) politicizing it…it would seem to me that whether or not something is worthwhile for the country is in no significant correlation to whether it was proposed by someone of your or the opposite party. Which is a fact almost none of our leadership seem to have grasped.