While there has been much focus on the Iranian nuclear deal, we cannot forget about the nations that have nuclear weapons. Progress on global nuclear disarmament is stalled. That is because there is no treaty in force preventing new nuclear testing.
This is why International Day Against Nuclear Testing (August 29) is so vital. The world must unite to ban nuclear testing everywhere. We can do this by approving the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But eight nations (The United States, Iran, Israel, China, Egypt, North Korea, India and Pakistan) have yet to ratify this treaty.
The CTBT is the bridge to nuclear disarmament. The United States, as the world’s top nuclear power, must lead the way.
Do you want to wake up to the startling news that a nation anywhere has exploded a nuclear bomb as a test? Think of the international tension this would cause. Think of the fear. And which nation will test next? It’s an invitation to an arms race and unbelievable spending. We lived through this during the Cold War. Do we really want that again?
Because the CTBT is not ratified, deep cuts in nuclear arms that should take place are not happening.
Russia-U.S. relations would be better served by regaining momentum toward nuclear disarmament, too.
To jumpstart this process, the U.S. Senate needs to finally ratify the CTBT. Russia has already done so. When both Russia and the U.S. have ended nuclear testing, others, including China, will be encouraged to ratify the treaty as well.
The Canberra Commission for nuclear disarmament said a test ban treaty “sets the psychological stage for moving toward elimination of nuclear weapons.”
Nuclear disarmament is imperative for Russia and the United States. Not only would it help reduce tensions, but the cost of these weapons is too much for any society and the threat of terrorist theft is too great a risk.
There are plenty of reasons for nations to cooperate on disarmament. Russia and the United States, who have about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, need to lead the way.
As for the Iran nuclear deal, it should be approved. Then there are additional nuclear security steps the U.S., Iran and Israel can take on this road to peace.
All three countries should ratify the CTBT. Iran could then activate the treaty-mandated nuclear test detection stations on its soil.
These stations are part of the global monitoring system that ensures nations do not conduct secret nuclear test explosions, which are in violation of the CTBT. So it’s vital these stations and the treaty are operational.
We want all nuclear powers to close the door on nuclear testing forever. Ratification of the treaty by Iran, Israel and the U.S. would encourage other nations including China, India and Pakistan to do so as well.
Ending nuclear testing forever is the step we must take toward nuclear disarmament and peace.
Efforts to ban nuclear testing go back to the Cold War. In this 1963 video President Kennedy proposes ending nuclear testing. Cold War negotiations did lead to a partial ban on testing, but not a comprehensive one. (audio courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Library)