Angry Dan's Column
Idiot Senate votes down nuclear test ban
Before I dive into how moronic the Senate was in voting against the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, let's have a little history on the subject.
August, 1945: Two nuclear bombs are dropped on Japan, killing 105,000 and
injuring 94,000. Not a good thing. However, since then no nuclear devices
have been used during wartime. A good thing.
1950s: nuclear hysteria. The Cold War starts, hanging the threat of nuclear
devastation over our collective heads for over 30 years. Wide-scale testing
of nuclear devices has already begun in the United States and Soviet Union.
Arguably necessary at the time for scientific exploration (to find out
they're bad news), but still not a good thing.
Over the next decade or so, several other nations begin testing and thus
enter the nuclear powers club. Britain begins in 1952, France in 1960 and
China in 1964. Not good things.
1963: The United States signs the Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning
explosions in the atmosphere, space and underwater. A good thing.
1974: India explodes its first nuclear device. Not a good thing.
1974 and 1976: The United States signs two treaties, the Threshold Test Ban
Treaty and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, which ban underground
nuclear explosions for any purposes of over 150 kilotons. A good thing, but
keep in mind the United States does not ratify the two treaties until 1990,
indicating how the country, as a whole, prefers to hem and haw over this
topic instead of make any clear decisions.
1990: The moratoriums begin. First the Soviet Union (Russia has not exploded
any nuclear devices),then Britain a year later. France ends testing in
1992, but breaks their moratorium from June 1995 until January 1996. The
United States ends critical mass testing in 1993, but has since tested
subcritical mass devices, much to the ire of India and other countries. And
in July, 1996, China begins their moratorium. Overall, a good thing.
24 Sept, 1996: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty opens for signing. President
Clinton signs it, along with Britain, China, France, Russia and several
other countries. A good thing. However, India does not sign and to this day
has not signed despite being the first country to suggest a comprehensive
test ban. India refuses to sign because they call for unilateral
disarmament of nuclear devices along with a ban on all testing. Not really
a good thing that they didn't sign.
May 1998: India and Pakistan carry out nuclear tests, India's first since
1974. Definitely not a good thing.
13 Oct, 1999: The Senate rejects ratification of the CTBT. Voting goes
mostly along party lines, with Republicans voting against and Democrats
for. Again, not a good thing.
The Senate, in all their humility, must have forgotten that all the world's
eyes were on them last week. Yeah, it's real easy to forget how this
country has become the leading world power in the past several years and
thus a large influence on the world's culture, economy and most
Think of the United States as a big brother, sometimes benevolent, sometimes
a bully. You are a nation developing nuclear capabilities, like India or
Pakistan, maybe even Iraq. Your big brother likes to go to the shooting
range or go hunting, so you naturally assume it's alright to have and play
with guns yourself, because one of the people you look up to for precedents
and as a role model does so. Yet you lack the experience and maturity of
brother and perhaps make a mistake or perhaps accidentally shoot that kid
Sure, that's a quaint little story, but what happens when your little brother
blows up the world?
That might sound a little alarmist, but it's a bigger possibility now that
the United States has done little to uphold first the idea of banning all
testing and second the idea of total disarmament.
Last summer, when India and Pakistan were having fun blowing things up, Paul
Warnke said in a New York Times article, "To back off our own commitment to
global adherence to the [test ban] treaty would only give aid and comfort
to nuclear adventurism in South Asia."
That statement could even be expanded, because even though India and Pakistan
haven't even signed the CTBT, many other nations that signed the treaty,
Russia and China included, haven't ratified it yet. In fact, only 26 of the
44 nations needed to ratify it have done so.
How exactly are they going to ratify the CTBT if the United States doesn't?
Just think of Russia and China as your younger brother now.
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