, 21 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Last Wednesday @defenseintel director Lt. Gen Ashley claimed Russia has “not affirmed” the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a “zero-yield” treaty and “there’s not an agreement to what” the treaty bans.

Is that correct? No. hudson.org/events/1694-th…
2/ CTBT critics have long claimed the treaty doesn’t define a nuclear test, Russia and China have a different interpretation than the United States of what the treaty prohibits, and Moscow and Beijing are conducting yield-producing tests based on that different interpretation
3/ Here's how the opponents of CTBT ratification on the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States put it in the commission's 2009 final report usip.org/sites/default/…
4/ And here are Senators Cotton and Lankford in 2016: foxnews.com/opinion/sens-c…
5/ Back to reality. Article I bans “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” The treaty negotiating record and leader/negotiator statements from the time make it clear all major signatories, including Russia, accepted CTBT as a zero-yield treaty
6/ For example, chief U.S. treaty negotiator Stephen Ledogar in 1999: 2009-2017.state.gov/t/avc/rls/1739…
7/ So why doesn't the treaty just define what constitutes a nuclear test? Wouldn’t that have made things clearer? No.
8/ “The decision not to include a specific definition of scope..was a deliberate decision..made to ensure that no loopholes were created by including a highly technical and specific list of what specific activities were and were not permitted” 2009-2017.state.gov/t/avc/rls/2121…
9/ So then what accounts for the myth that Russia and China have a different interpretation of the treaty’s scope? Surely there must be a litany of Russian and Chinese leaders stating that the treaty allows certain yield producing tests
10/ No. Here are former Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Foreign Affiars official Yuri Kapralov, and Ambassador Grigory Berdennikov all defining CTBT as a zero-yield treaty 2009-2017.state.gov/t/avc/rls/1739…
11/ And here's current Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in April 2017: "The 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibits “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion,” anywhere on Earth, whatever the yield." thediplomat.com/2017/04/the-nu…
12/ When @DarylGKimball flagged the Ryabkov op-ed to Gen. Ashley, Ashley said he "had not read that"
13/ Some CTBT supporters have called on the P5 to formally (re)affirm that there is an agreed understanding of the scope of the treaty
14/ There are pros and cons to this approach. But it’s questionable whether the effort would assuage CTBT opponents, many of whom want to use the scope myth as a bludgeon to oppose the treaty
15/ Of course, the fact that Moscow (and Beijing) agree CTBT is a zero-yield treaty does not mean that they wouldn’t illegally try to violate it. So are they? @ArmsControlWonk did a great thread on this question:
16/ Gen Ashley suggested in his prepared remarks that Russia is “probably” violating the treaty, but when pressed would only say that Russia has the capability to do so
17/ Meanwhile, there is no consensus within the intelligence community about whether Russia is actually conducting very low-yield tests time.com/5597955/china-…
18/ Former State Department officials Rose Gottemoeller told Congress in December 2015 that "within this century, the only state that has tested nuclear weapons..in a way that produced a nuclear yield is North Korea."
19/ So what’s changed? Is there new evidence that is spurring concern? Or is a new administration interpreting old evidence differently? As Michael Krepon notes, Congress must ascertain “What is fact and what is surmise” armscontrolwonk.com/archive/120753…
20/ Were the administration serious about ensuring compliance with CTBT, there are steps it could pursue. Such as supporting ratification of the treaty. Or enhanced transparency measures at test sites. Or joint verification experiments
21/fin But the Bolton White House isn’t interested in those steps. What it is interested in is undermining arms control and laying the groundwork for still more treaty trashing. And more treaty trashing could soon be in our future
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