VIENNA — The world was a more peaceful place when a newly sworn-in President Barack Obama pledged to “aggressively pursue” a global ban on nuclear arms tests. But as his term winds down, a working test-ban treaty remains a dream and some of the loudest voices out of Washington are hostile.
Seven years on, the Obama administration continues to publicly back ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed late last year to “re-energize” efforts for congressional approval — a move that the head of the U.N. organization created to enforce a ban says would lead at least some of the other holdouts to do the same.
“The U.S. needs to show leadership,” said CTBTO chief Lassina Zerbo ahead of the 20th anniversary of his organization. “We need to keep the momentum on what President Obama said in 2009.”
But with Obama’s days in office numbered, that appears to be a forlorn hope. His deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told the Arms Control Association last week that Republican control of the Senate had left the administration “with no viable path forward” for ratification.