Top Bush Administration Official Denounces Clinton Test Ban Treaty as Dangerous ‘Unilateral Disarmament’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vice President Dan Quayle Urges Senate to Reject C.T.B.T.

(Washington, D.C.): Today, the second-ranking member of George Bush’s administration announced his categorical opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiated and signed in 1996 by President Clinton. Former Vice President Dan Quayle attacked the proposed permanent ban on nuclear testing as "a disarmament mechanism" being utilized by "members of the Nuclear Freeze movement I fought in my days in Congress." The twice-elected U.S. Senator urged those currently serving in that body to "reject the treaty." Indeed, he declared:

    It will not be enough for the Senate to refuse to ratify the CTBT. The U.S. Congress must also send a clear message to the rest of the world that we repudiate any commitment made by President Clinton that the U.S. is now — or would ever be — ready to unilaterally disarm.

Vote, Vote

The Vice President’s statement was issued by his presidential campaign committee on what had been declared by the Treaty’s proponents to be "CTBT Day of Action." His denunciation of the object of this call-to-disarm combined with the seemingly desultory response to the Day of Action (measured in terms of phone calls to the Capitol switchboard and attendance at a demonstration on the Hill) can only further dissipate Senate enthusiasm for the Comprehensive Test Ban. It already faced strong opposition from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, 1 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms and most (if not all) of the forty-four Senators — nine more than are needed to disapprove a treaty — who voted last October against an amendment described by its sponsors as a "test vote on the CTBT." 2

The prospects that the Senate will heed Vice President Quayle’s advice and reject the CTBT appears even greater, if as seems likely, other members of the Bush Administration join their counterparts in the Reagan Administration (a number of whom recently signed an Open Letter to Sen. Lott counseling against ratification of this accord). 3

If, in contrast to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Republican ranks are unified, this fatally flawed arms control treaty will surely be defeated in the Senate.

The Bottom Line

Vice President Quayle is to be commended for his courageous leadership on this matter. The American people are entitled to know the views of all other candidates for the Nation’s highest office concerning both the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the importance of preserving the sort of credible, safe and reliable nuclear deterrent this treaty would preclude. As a catalyst to such deliberations, the Center for Security Policy recommends the attached two columns by its President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., which appeared in the past forty-eight hours in Investors Business Daily and the Washington Times.

1 See the Center’s Decision Brief entitled Charles Krauthammer Launches Surgical Strike on the Anti-Nuke Crowd’s ‘Back-Door’ Disarmament Scheme (No. 99-D 100, 10 September 1999).

2 See R.I.P. C.T.B.: Biden-Specter Amendment’s Phyrric Victory Shows Decisive Senate Opposition to Clinton’s Flawed Test Ban (No. 98-D 158, 2 September 1998).

3 See Center Releases Open Letter to Senator Lott from Fifty-two Top Security Policy-Practitioners Opposing C.T.B.T. (No. 99-P 98, 9 September 1999).

Center for Security Policy

Please Share: