Today Marks the 10th Anniversary of CTBT "no" vote

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the Senate’s failed attempt to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In this month’s Arms Control Today, Daryl Kimball writes a “Looking Back” feature, reflecting on the mistakes made and lessons learned from the 1999 vote.

Deeply involved in the NGO effort to support CTBT ratification in the 1990s, Kimball recalls the lack of high-level executive leadership on the treaty, and the overwhelming presence of non-substantive, partisan politicking. “The ‘no’ vote had less to do with the substantive issues,” Kimball writes, “and was more a consequence of the political miscalculations of treaty proponents; the failure of many senators to explore and understand core issues; the deep, partisan divisions in the nation’s capital; and the president’s failure to organize a strong, focused, and sustained campaign for the treaty.”

Although many things went awry in 1999, Kimball states that today, “The prospects for U.S. ratification are better than they ever have been.” He cites technological advances in monitoring for cheating and maintaining the U.S. stockpile, as well as a changed political landscape within the Senate and a more committed executive, as causes for optimism.