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The PTBT is key to an effective CTBT

CICD No Date (Campaign for Intl Cooperation and Disarmament, JPG

The "Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water", of 1963 (signed by original parties on 5th of August 1963, opened for signature on 8th of August 1968, entered into force on 10th of March, 1963), more commonly known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) is the precursor to the much later Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The PTBT essentially seeks to limit the testing of nuclear weapons to being underground, so as to limit the environmental effects of such testing. Unlike the CTBT it does not seek to completely do away with nuclear weapons testing and development. It was, however, an important first step along the way towards an end to the armaments race, and towards complete internationally supervised disarmament, the goals of which are mentioned in the preamble to the PTBT. The preamble also mentions the desire to conclude an agreement for the complete ban of nuclear testing. The PTBT is an extremely short treaty, but it is as meaningful as it is brief. The bulk of the treaty is contained in one important article. In article one, each party to the treaty agrees not to test, or to cause, participate in, or encourage, the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in outer space, or in its territorial waters or the high seas. Article one also reaffirms the desirability, as agreed to in the preamble, of the conclusion of a treaty to ban underground testing also. The remaining articles of the PTBT relate to organisational matters, such as the treaty's amendment, entry into force, and validity etc. Important to note is article four's mention of the treaty's unlimited duration. The partial test ban treaty was not intended to be a temporary solution to the problem of nuclear weapons, rather, it was an important first step. The PTBT went into creating the international political momentum out of which the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty arose. Many years later, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which went one step further than the PTBT and banned underground testing of nuclear weapons, was drafted. Even though, to date, the CTBT has not entered into force, the mere fact that it has been written, and supported by a great number of the world's countries, owes its truth to the adoption in 1963 of the Partial Test Ban Treaty.

PTBT ! – Prolif

Banning testing solves proliferation

Ghose 6 (Arundhati,, India’s UN rep, 2006, JPG

The objective of a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing had originally been truly comprehensive. As early as 1954, Jawaharlal Nehru had proposed a “standstill” on testing—something between a multilaterally negotiated verifiable treaty and a unilateral moratorium—pending the elimination of nuclear weapons. Speaking to the Lok Sabha (India’s lower house in parliament), he said: “...Pending progress towards some solution, full or partial, in respect of the prohibition and elimination of these weapons of mass destruction, the Government would consider, some sort of what may be called ‘standstill agreement’ in respect, at least, of these actual explosions, even if agreements about the discontinuance of production and stockpiling must await more substantial agreements amongst those principally concerned.”3 Clearly, all weapon testing was to be halted, as a step toward total nuclear disarmament. Non- nuclear-weapon states perceived the danger as coming from the existence of the weapons themselves, and the exhortations were addressed to those countries that possessed the weapons, “before which, our normal weapons were completely useless”.4 A ban or standstill on testing was seen as a possible step toward the elimination of the weapons and therefore the security of all countries.

CTBT ! – Prolif

CTBT prevents nuclear arms race and proliferation

Joseph 9 (Jofi, Sen. Dem. Foreign Policy Staffer, April 2009, JPG

As Obama himself recognizes, the road to a world free of nuclear weapons must include the entry into force of the nuclear test ban treaty. A global ban on nuclear weapons tests is an essential step to halting the entry of new states into the nuclear club: without the ability to demonstrate its mastery of nuclear weapons by detonating one, no proliferator can lay claim to a credible nuclear arsenal. Likewise, a test ban promises to halt destabilizing nuclear arms races between existing weapons states by ceasing the development and deployment of new types of nuclear weapons. Without the option of tests to verify their effectiveness and reliability, a nuclear power will be hard pressed to introduce new advanced weapons into their deterrent. Instead, an effective nuclear test ban will more or less freeze existing nuclear arsenals at their current levels and prevent future improvements to their explosive power or miniaturization of warheads for missile deployment. For that reason alone, the United States, which possesses the most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world, should be a strong supporter of a treaty that promises to lock in the nuclear weapons status quo. Furthermore, the CTBT entry into force would prevent China from further advances in fielding multiple warhead ballistic missiles.10

CTBT is key to global non-proliferation leverage

Joseph 9 (Jofi, Sen. Dem. Foreign Policy Staffer, April 2009, JPG

The 1999 vote fell short of an absolute majority, much less the two-thirds majority required for treaty ratification under the U.S. Constitution. This failure undercut traditional U.S. leadership on nuclear nonproliferation issues, and offered an easy justification for China to continue to refuse to ratify the CTBT, as well as for India and Pakistan to avoid signing the treaty altogether. An announcement in Obama’s first year in office that he will call on the Senate to initiate the consideration of the CTBT by holding the appropriate hearings over the next year, with the goal of scheduling a ratification vote prior to the end of his first term in 2012, will send an unmistakable signal that the United States is once again committed to multilateral, rules-based cooperation with the international community to advance mutual interests. It will reenergize a flagging nonproliferation regime and offer the United States important leverage on key challenges like Iran and North Korea. With a healthy majority of Democratic senators in place, and close relationships with key moderate Republicans, Obama is within reach of the 67 votes necessary to secure ratification, and accomplish a significant foreign policy and national security goal.

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