Magazine article The Christian Century

Test Ban Meltdown

Magazine article The Christian Century

Test Ban Meltdown

Article excerpt

THE U.S. SENATE'S refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty can be read in a number of ways: as a sign of resurgent isolationism; as the incursion of partisan politics into foreign policy; and as the consequence of Bill Clinton's ineffective lobbying on the treaty's behalf. Each explanation contains some truth. But we are most concerned about the treaty's substance and goal--limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The Senate broke with a nuclear arms reduction policy that spans four decades and seven presidents. On its face, the action by the Senate's Republican majority was an abandonment of the effort to control the expansion of nuclear weapons through international agreements.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall ten years ago this month, concern about nuclear weapons has greatly diminished. The nuclear standoff between NATO and the Eastern bloc no longer looms over every local conflict, and the nightmare scenario of mutually assured destruction has receded in our consciousness. …

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