By Daryl G. Kimball
At a March 8 public forum, former Secretary of State George Shultz underscored once again his support for U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Shultz was asked for his “personal view on whether the U.S. should ratify the test ban treaty as a way to enhance U.S. security?”
Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State from 1982-1989, said: “Yes I clearly think we should ratify that treaty.”
“This issue has kind of lost its attention and we need to get back on the offense. And here’s the way to get back on the offense,” Shultz continued.
“I would say that in some ways a Senator … Senator Nunn might put it this way … a Senator might have been right to vote against it when it was first put forward and right to vote for it now,” he said.
“Why? Because things have changed. Its now not just an idea that we can detect tests. There is a network that has built out now and has been demonstrated that we can detect all, even small tests.”
Shultz went on to note that the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program has also been very successful and in the past nuclear tests were conducted primarily to develop new types of nuclear weapons and so, he said, we have no need to test today.
“I find it hard to see how we would justify going and producing a new nuclear weapon, we have quite an arsenal right now.”
In their influential January 2007 joint op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Shultz, along with Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn called for:
“Initiating a bipartisan process with the Senate, including understandings to increase confidence and provide for periodic review, to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, taking advantage of recent technical advances, and working to secure ratification by other key states.”
“[Republicans] might have been right voting against [the CTBT] some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on these new facts…. [There are] new pieces of information that are very important and that should be made available to the Senate.”