(Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty)
In answer to your question, What’s a “fair” CTBT?”, a fair CTBT would forbid laboratory testing of nuclear weapons and sub-critical underground tests where plutonium is blown up with high explosives to help in designing and improving nuclear weapons even though there’s no chain reaction. The US has done 26 of them since we signed the treaty and Russia does them at Novaya Zemlya. The US has been modernizing and designing new nuclear weapons, regardless of the CTBT. I’m not sure about China. France closed its test site but it and the UK do laboratory tests on nuclear designs. So the original P-5 have a technological advantage over the new members of the nuclear club and that’s the reason that India gave when it blocked consensus in the Committee on Disarmament when the test ban was negotiated. India’s Ambassador Ghosh argued at that time that if the CTBT didn’t forbid laboratory testing and other advanced technology India would vote against it. Amazingly, for the first time in history, Ambassador Richard Butler of Australia brought the treaty to the UN for signature, breaking all precedent by acting without consensus. Shortly thereafter, India did its underground nuclear tests, swiftly followed by Pakistan. (India quietly acquired the bomb in 1974 or so, but did not want to be left behind in the high-tech race for bigger and better bombs.) The US plans to spend one trillion dollars over the next 30 years to build two new bomb factories, new planes, missiles and submarines to deliver their lethal payloads, and to keep the immoral nuclear weapons complex up and running!
Astonishingly, the CD is looking to break consensus again for only the second time in history, rather than let Pakistan block the negotiations on a treaty to cut off fissile material production for weapons purposes!! Yet when the US was the only country to block consensus in the CD on beginning negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, proposed for several years by Russia and China, no one threatened to override consensus to bring it to the General Assembly for negotiation as was done with the CTBT and as nations are threatening to do with the FMCT. It’s time to give the old colonial boys network a taste of their own medicine and disregard consensus and bring the space treaty to the UN for negotiations. And everyone should be calling for nuclear disarmament and a total halt to the new weapons development going on despite the CTBT, the NPT. Indeed, I hope India and Pakistan will come to the nuclear disarmament meeting hosted by Mexico on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war, just as they were the only nuclear weapons states to attend the Oslo meeting last year. Let’s hope we can come out of Mexico this year with a mandate to negotiate a treaty to ban the bomb, followed by a nuclear weapons convention to provide for their total elimination. Let’s give the earth a Valentine in Mexico on February 14th. Let’s tell Mother Earth we love her and come out of that meeting with worldwide call to our governments to abolish nuclear weapons. Perhaps Asia will lead the way!!
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