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A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear test ban treaty’

Biden Talks U.S. Nuclear Strategy: Pushing Increased Funding, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and START Renewal

Posted by K.E. White on February 18, 2010

Biden talks up the Obama administration’s spending on the US nuclear arsenal. The apparent contradiction:  the President who has pledged to work toward nuclear abolition is now seeking to increase U.S. spending on their nuclear arsenal by $624 million. Total spending in Obama’s proposed budget would sit at $7 billion.

Watch Biden’s speech at

So where does this play in the Obama administration’s play-book?  Most immediately are ongoing negotiations over renewing START—key senators have pegged approval to increased spending on America’s nuclear deterrent.  The Obama White House is also hoping to finally ratify the nuclear test ban treaty—perhaps sensing the dwindling time they will enjoy 59 votes in the Senate.  Ratifying the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and (at least) signing a START renewal would (under a best-case scenario) precede a Nuclear Security Summit next April Obama will host in Washington D.C.  And this all sets the backdrop to the main event: the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Conference this summer.

And pushing a robust nuclear arms reduction program doesn’t hurt as the Iranian nuclear dilemma drags on.

Karen Travers at provides concise and informed coverage of Biden’s speech, specifically linking the funding announcement to START and hopes to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty:

Biden said that while the both Republicans and Democrats have questioned element of the Obama Administration’s nuclear nonproliferation agenda, including the costs and the reductions, he said he and the president “respectfully disagree.”

“As both the only nation that ever used a nuclear weapon, and as a strong proponent of nonproliferation, the United States has long embodied a stark, but inevitable contradiction,” the vice president said. “The horror of nuclear conflict may make its occurrence unlikely, but its very existence, the very existence of nuclear weapons leaves the human race ever at the brink of self destruction, particularly if the weapons fall into the wrong hands.”

Biden said that U.S. and Russian negotiators were “completing an agreement” on extending the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (START), which expired in December.

Posted in Nuclear Weapons, Obama administration | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

International Law & the Obama Presidency: San Francisco Chronicle Tracks Obama’s Treaty Promises

Posted by K.E. White on December 1, 2008

The San Francisco Chronicle offers a brief report on the various international agreements President-Elect Obama pledged to push towards ratification. The report also details the stiff resistance Obama will face on many of the measures: which include women’s rights, a nuclear test-ban, climate change and law of the seas.

Update: The American Society of International Law offers President-Elect Obama’s response to their presidential candidate questionnaire, covering his views on nonproliferation, the International Criminal Court and various other international law topics.

From the San Francisco Chronicle report:

Obama cited three treaties he would concentrate on ratifying: the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Last December, Obama cited a fourth treaty that he said he would sign and ask the Senate to ratify, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Missing from his to-do list, at least so far, are the International Criminal Court – which could subject U.S. officials and military personnel to prosecution – and treaties banning land mines and cluster bombs. All three would face Defense Department resistance, and Obama has said he would consult with military commanders before deciding whether to ask the Senate to ratify the International Criminal Court.

Although the treaties Obama has endorsed may be less controversial, “I don’t see any really easy wins on the list,” said K. Russell Lamotte, a former State Department attorney now in private practice in Washington, D.C.

The article also offers this overview of the treaties Obama intends to submit for ratification. A common thread between the treaties: long and bumpy efforts toward American approval, with Congressional opposition the main roadblock.

International accords on Obama’s agenda

Treaties that President-elect Barack Obama has promised to present to the Senate for ratification:

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Would prohibit all nuclear explosive testing. Takes effect only when ratified by all 44 “nuclear-capable” nations, including the United States. Passed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1996 and signed that year by President Bill Clinton. Rejected by the Senate in 1999.

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Defines nations’ rights in managing their coastal zones and sets rules for commercial use of international waters and resources. Passed by the General Assembly in 1982, took effect in 1994. Signed by Clinton in 1994. Approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee most recently in October 2007, but no floor vote.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: Declares equal rights for women “in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field” and requires nations to take “all appropriate measures” to ensure equality. Passed by the General Assembly in 1979, took effect in 1981. Signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, but no floor vote.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Requires nations to abolish legislation, customs and practices that discriminate against the disabled, and to establish policies that promote independent living and full participation in the community. Passed by the General Assembly in 2006, took effect in May 2008. Not yet signed by the United States.

Posted in Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Obama, Obama administration, Treaty | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »