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Obama Will Go To UN Instead Of Congress On Nuke Testing

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama will not push for the Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and will instead seek a United Nations Security Council resolution that will call on states to not test nuclear weapons, Josh Rogin of The Washington Post reports.

The treaty was referred to the Senate for ratification in 1996, but has not been ratified since. The Obama administration reportedly did not notify Congress before referring the matter to the UN.

“This is a plan to cede the Senate’s constitutional role to the U.N. It’s dangerous and it’s offensive. Not only is this an affront to Congress, it’s an affront to the American people,” Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Bob Corker told Rogin.

Corker elaborated he was concerned U.S. nuclear policy was being outsourced to an international body. Corker also highlighted the presence of U.S. adversaries like Russia and China on the UN Security Council, and how the U.S. could be sued in international courts with no Congressional input whatsoever.

Obama’s strategy of pursuing unilateral executive action mimics his tactics for reaching the nuclear deal between the P5+1 powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) does not require Congressional approval, but likely binds future U.S. government policy towards Iran.

In his first foreign policy speech in 2009 Obama envisioned “a world without nuclear weapons.” The news marks the second major shift in the Obama administration’s nuclear policy in recent weeks, and Obama’s likely desire to leave a nuclear legacy with only six months left in office.

Reports indicate Obama is considering changing U.S. nuclear policy to pledge that the U.S. will never adopt a first-strike policy. Advocates say the policy would enforce the norm that nuclear weapons can only be used in the most extraordinary of circumstances, while critics say it would severely limit U.S. options in the midst of catastrophic war.

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