President Barack Obama has supported a ban on nuclear testing since his earliest days in office, but has been unable to rally support for ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty in the U.S. Senate.
Frustrated with this opposition and facing the end of his second term, The Washington Post reports, Obama will bypass Congress and seek a United Nations Security Council resolution that “would call for an end to nuclear testing” on the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
This is an extremely troubling decision that ignores fundamental concerns about such a ban and is dangerously erosive of the separation of powers outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
The Senate voted to reject ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty on Oct. 13, 1999. It did so for sound reasons. For example, the treaty does not define what constitutes a nuclear weapons test. Russia, and possibly China, conduct hydronuclear experiments that allow them to explore new weapons designs and train a more proficient workforce in the national nuclear laboratories.