How comprehensive a test ban treaty? : a case study of the 1996 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (1997)
Interest in the Comprehensive Test Ban stems from the political issues associated with arms control and disarmament. A nuclear test is the most visible illustration of the atomic age, while a non-nuclear weapon can in general be tested within the confines of a countries national security, a nuclear weapon cannot. Nuclear test explosions send not just physical shock waves, but also produce political shock waves through the international community. Atmospheric testing and the international protest that have surrounded them has been the most visible illustration of universal condemnation against nuclear testing. But with the end of the Cold War there was growing international pressure for a comprehensive end to testing. The prominence given to the threat of nuclear proliferation in the post-Cold War has also played its part in increasing the pressure for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was achieved in September 1996.
This paper argues the following major points. First, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was only successful because it resembled Cold War models of arms control. Buy this it is argued that the primary goal of the CTBT was political, and that it was only successful because it could be circumvented by the nuclear powers. Second, as with Cold War examples of arms control treaties, the focus of the CTBT was on horizontal and vertical nuclear proliferation, and that the ability of the CTBT to achieve these goals is limited. Finally the goal of the above arguments is establish a framework for future arms control agreements, and as with Cold War arms control agreements, the CTBT serves as a continuing enterprise as it is not truly comprehensive in its scope.
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