In the latest issue of Spectrum, Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union, makes a strong case for the entry into force of the CTBT. In his article entitled “The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty: Helping to create a truly global community,” Gorbachev argues that although there is an increasingly strong normative understanding that nuclear explosions are unacceptable, commitments must be legally binding. He sees a particular responsibility and leadership role for the United States as one of the remaining Annex 2 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to take effect. “Universal ratification of the test ban treaty,” he concludes, “would be a step toward creating a truly global community of nations, in which all share the responsibility for humankind’s future.”
Spectrum interviews the two co-presidents of the 2011 CTBT Article XIV Conference, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, offer valuable insights into the role of the CTBT in global affairs today. Carl Bildt emphasizes the importance of the CTBT as a cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. In an interview featured in Spectrum, he states that a “Treaty in force means a safer and more secure world and is a necessary step towards a future without nuclear weapons.” Espinosa Cantellano sees the CTBT as a major step on the road to a world free of nuclear weapons. In order for the Treaty to enter into force, she urges that the “international community must undertake a greater commitment to convince Annex 2 States that have not signed or ratified the Treaty to do so as soon as possible.”
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, reaffirms the full commitment of her country to the CTBT, having ratified the Treaty in May 2010. She highlights the great potential of the civil and scientific uses of the CTBTO data, in particular with regard to tsunami warnings in the Caribbean. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal, believes that a ban on nuclear testing is more necessary than ever before: “Fifteen years after the Treaty’s adoption (…) we should make a strong push towards its entry into force. Now is the time.”
On the 25th anniversary of the Reykjavik Summit, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes recalls the historic meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in 1986, which almost reached agreement on a process of abolishing nuclear weapons. As Rhodes points out, although Reykjavik was often perceived as a failure, the negotiations were indeed “uniquely fruitful.”
Patricia Lewis, Deputy Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, talks to Annika Thunborg, Head of CTBTO Public Information. In this interview Patricia Lewis talks about her experience as a female nuclear physicist and arms control expert, the crucial role of civil society in issues of nuclear security and non-proliferation, and the need for universal adherence to the CTBT.
“Why wait?” asks Christine Wing from the Center for International Cooperation at New York University, explaining that “There are significant gains to be had if States choose not to wait for others to adopt the CTBT.” And in a section entitled In Memoriam, Spectrum 17 pays homage to six great men and women from the United States who passed away over the last year and whose work played a crucial role, in one way or another, in banning nuclear testing and helping to lay the foundations for the CTBT and its verification regime.
On the verification side, Spectrum 17 includes an article by Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Jarraud outlines the fruitful collaboration between WMO and CTBTO, particularly in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Two radionuclide experts, Wolfgang Weiss and Gerhard Wotawa, offer evaluations of the CTBTO’s contribution to monitoring the worldwide dispersal of radiation from the Fukushima accident.
View Spectrum 17 in a single document here.
Read the Editorial by CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth, here.