DATE=12/17/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=YEARENDER: TEST BAN TREATY NUMBER=5-45037 BYLINE=ANDRE DE NESNERA DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: This past year, the Senate handed President Bill Clinton a major foreign policy defeat by failing to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In this year-end report, National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the treaty, the Senate vote and what ramifications it has had - and still may have - overseas. TEXT: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - or C-T-B-T - prohibits nations from carrying out nuclear explosions, including those to test nuclear weapons. President Clinton signed the treaty in 1996 and made Senate ratification one of his administration's top foreign policy priorities during his second term. But in mid-October, the Republican-dominated Senate rejected the treaty. This was the first time the upper house of Congess voted down an international pact since an isolationist Senate rejected the 1919 Versailles Treaty that included rules setting up the League of Nations. Opponents of the C-T-B-T said the pact was incompatible with U-S national security needs. They said the United States - which has stopped nuclear testing since 1992 - must be able to test its nuclear weapons to guarantee their reliability. Those in favor of the Test Ban Treaty say nuclear weapons testing is not needed since a sophisticated simulation system can get the same results. And they reject the notion the treaty is unverifiable, saying the pact calls for creating an international monitoring system and on-site inspections. Defense analysts are debating what the Senate rejection means for the U-S leadership role in the arms control field - and are asking what sort of message the vote sent internationally. Paul Beaver is a senior analyst with the British publication "Jane's Defense Weekly." He says Europeans are distressed about what they perceive to be an increasingly inward-looking U-S Congress. And he says Europeans are also concerned that the United States government may not have a unified foreign policy. /// BEAVER ACT /// We have a President on the way out. We do not know what direction the people of America will vote the next time around. And there is, I think, a feeling that there are several different forms of foreign policy. The State Department has different foreign policies: there are Madeleine Albright's own ideas and there are the State Department's ideas. We see people jostling for position for the future. We know that there is the U-S military, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the C-I-A - all have their own policies. The White House has its own policies. Europeans are a bit worried about America and think that America is going to be in some sort of limbo for the next 12 to 18 months. /// END ACT /// Mr. Beaver says it is important for the United States to ratify international treaties if Washington is to continue to have a leadership role in such areas as arms control. Nuclear weapons expert George Perkovich (with the "W. Alton Jones Foundation" in Charlotesville, Virginia) says when the (1969) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty comes up for review next April, countries may vent their anger at the United States for the Senate vote rejecting the C-T-B-T. /// PERKOVICH ACT /// The reason for that, of course, is that when the Non-Proliferation Treaty was extended forever in 1995, the central bargain - the key deal - that was made there was that the United States and the four other recognized nuclear weapons states (France, Britain, China and Russia) - would sign a test ban treaty. And that was part of the package that induced others to extend the N-P-T indefinitely. Now if that is in doubt - and certainly from the U-S point of view that was put into doubt, there will be a lot of anger, saying: "You guys made a promise. You guys made a deal with us and now you've pulled back your side of it and you are still expecting us to keep our side of the deal?" That's not the way to lead the world. / /// END ACT /// But not all analysts believe the Senate rejection of the Test Ban Treaty sends a negative message worldwide. Baker Spring - a nuclear expert with the conservative (Washington-based) "Heritage Foundation" says the Senate vote strengthens the U-S role regarding its allies. /// SPRING ACT /// Despite the complaints that have come from some nations around the world, I think the message that goes out is ultimately positive. And that is that the United States is going to maintain its nuclear deterrent, is going to protect its national interest and is going to stand by its allies who also depend on the U-S deterrent for their security. So I ultimately think it sends a positive message regarding the United States and its role in the world. /// END ACT /// Following the Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty a few months ago, President Clinton said the United States will continue to abide by its 1992 moratorium on nuclear tests. And Democrats say they will make the rejection by the Republican- dominated Senate a key issue during the upcoming presidential campaign. (Signed) NEB/ADEN/KL 17-Dec-1999 13:59 PM EDT (17-Dec-1999 1859 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .