It's Time for the US to Sign a Nuclear Test Ban
START was a good first step, but let's get serious
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2010 10:56 AM CST
A mushroom cloud reaches high into the sky during atomic testing in Nevada, USA, circa 1940.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The START treaty was a great first step in the quest for a nuclear-free world, but now that it’s ratified “we can speak of a serious step forward for both countries,” writes Mikhail Gorbachev in the New York Times. That serious step: a complete ban on nuclear testing. Thirty-five nuclear nations have signed onto the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty—the US is one of nine that haven’t.

All those “rejectionist” countries have their reasons, “but all are not equally responsible for the stalemate,” Gorbachev argues. It was US opposition that really stalled the ratification process. If the Senate ratified, most of the stragglers would follow suit. “No country wants to be a ‘rogue nation’ forever.” Sure, there’s currently a kind of unspoken moratorium on testing, but it’s not enough. “Commitments that are not legally binding can be easily violated.”