Michael Douglas: The CTBT is essential
“At five or six years old, it was hard to grasp this thing, this white light. It was so powerful. And there was obviously a nightmare quality about it – a monster quality…” In an interview in the latest issue of the CTBTO’s bi-annual magazine Spectrum, Michael Douglas, Academy Award-winning actor and producer and UN Messenger for Peace, explains how the threat posed by nuclear weapons has haunted him since his childhood. He points out how his movie The China Syndrome later reinforced his awareness of nuclear threats.
Asked how he would persuade U.S. senators to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Douglas answered: “[T]he CTBT is essential for reducing the arms race because it prevents nuclear proliferation to a large degree… the CTBT is strongly and clearly verifiable, which is very important. And unless we, the original signatories, ratify, we won’t have much influence on the other countries that haven’t yet done so.”
Douglas also participated in the September 2008 Ministerial Meeting in New York to promote the CTBT’s entry into force. Speaking as a "citizen of the planet", he emphasized that: “There is no need to test nuclear weapons. It is imperative that the CTBT can come into force, including in my own country the United States.”
Regarding the prospects for the CTBT’s ratification in the United States, Douglas described himself as being “fairly optimistic”, adding that “We’ve heard what President Obama has said and more recently what Secretary of State Clinton has said about the Treaty. I would hope that within the next couple of years, it will be ratified.”
During the recent G20 summit, United States President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a joint statement saying: “As a key measure of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, we underscored the importance of the entering into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In this respect, President Obama confirmed his commitment to work for American ratification of this Treaty.”
Other prominent contributors to this latest issue of Spectrum include German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.
The CTBT has been signed by 180 States and ratified by 148. For its entry into force, however, the following nine States have yet to ratify: China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.