Tauscher: Test Ban Status Quo a Dumb Idea

The Obama Administration remains committed to securing Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ratification, said Ellen Tauscher, the State Department’s top arms control official. However, the Administration isn’t pushing for Senate approval of the treaty right now, given factors like the presidential election year, she told reporters Jan. 12 in Washington, D.C. “I don’t think we have the votes in the Senate right now,” acknowledged Tauscher. “Frankly, political leadership wouldn’t want us to take that vote right now.” Instead, the Administration has started a campaign of public engagement, mirroring the ground-up approach it took to win support for the New START agreement, she said. “We have a very, very good case” for CTBT ratification, asserted Tauscher. “Since the early ’90s, the United States has had its own executive order and its own law not to use explosive tests to verify the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons. So we have been living under a treaty, but we can’t actually use it to enforce the same thing on other people. The American people understand that that is a dumb deal.” (For more Tauscher, read Seeking Mutually Assured Stability and Full-course Dinner, not Just Dessert.)