James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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TWE Mailbag: Suggested CTBT Readings

by James M. Lindsay
September 27, 2011

A Mailbox is seen downtown Paris, January 13, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

A mailbox in downtown Paris. (Charles Platiau/courtesy Reuters)

Last Saturday I noted that it had been exactly fifteen years since President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Senate famously failed to approve the treaty when it came to a vote in 1999, so for now it languishes in limbo. Given the hopes in the arms control community that the White House might someday ask for another vote on CTBT, I solicited suggestions as to the best things to read on the treaty. Two TWE readers were kind enough to take up the challenge.

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, writes:

The case for the treaty is stronger than ever. When and if the Senate looks at the facts and the administration make a real push, the outcome will be different than in 1999. The U.S. simply does not need testing, but other states could improve their arsenals with more testing.

The best things I’ve read on the CTBT? Here’s my list:

Sorting CTBT Fact From Fiction,” Arms Control Association Issue Brief, June 20, 2011.

Raymond Jeanloz, “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and U.S. Security,” chapter in Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, 2008.

National Academy of Sciences, Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 2002.

General John M. Shalikashvili, Findings and Recommendations Concerning the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, January 2001.

An anonymous reader suggested the following readings:

The September 2011 issue of the United States Air Force Arms Control Bulletin reviews the current state of play on CTBT. (Unfortunately, there is no link.)

The Arms Control Association has a Project for the CTBT with a detailed briefing paper on the treaty and the various issues related to its entry into force.

Pierce Corden and Chris Ford discussed the issue on Ford’s blog, New Paradigms Forum, last fall.

Jim Woolsey and Keith Payne outlined the case against the treaty in a September piece for the National Review.

Paula DeSutter argued in the Wall Street Journal that the CTBT would advance North Korean nuclear ambitions.

The National Institute for Public Policy has an extensive and current assessment of the treaty that recommends against approval.

And just by happenstance (or maybe not) I received an email yesterday announcing the publication of a new book by Ola Dahlman, Jenifer McCarthy, Svein Mykkeltveit, and Hein Haak, Detect and Deter: Can Countries Verify the Nuclear Test Ban.

Do you have any other readings to suggest?

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