• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • As Arms Trade Treaty Meeting Concludes, U.S. Frustrations Grow

    Once again, America’s interests, and the rights of her people, are at risk. And once again, a United Nations treaty is the source of this danger—the U.N Arms Trade Treaty, to be specific.

    The Preparatory Committee for the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty is nearing the end of its second and final week of meetings.

    The Preparatory Committee is not engaged in negotiating a treaty, but in defining what should be included in the treaty when it is negotiated. As a result, many of the statements by the participating states are very general. But enough has been said to show that the Obama Administration’s decision to participate only on the basis of “consensus”—which it justified as a way to ensure that the final treaty is satisfactory—was ill-advised.

    Right off the bat, Belgium, speaking for the EU and acknowledging that “a certain number of countries still retain concerns,” called on those with concerns to show “engagement and flexibility.”

    Nigeria—speaking for the African Group—also struck a familiar note: that of self-interest cloaked in principle. It called on the committee to recognize “the special responsibilities of major arms producers and the special rights of arms importing States.” In plain language, that means that the African Group wants a treaty that imposes all the responsibilities on the United States, and gives its own members “special rights.” Among those rights—supposedly based on Article 51 of the U.N. Charter—would be, as Nigeria stated, a guarantee that all U.N. member states (be they dictatorships or democracies) have the right to import all the arms they want.

    This, not surprisingly, was also Iran’s view. To quote it in full, it demanded:

    In view of my delegation, the most important principle that the ATT shall be based upon is the sovereign and inherent right of States to acquire, manufacture, export, import and retain conventional arms, technology and know-how for their self-defense and security needs in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

    That demand summed up the delusory beliefs on which the Arms Trade Treaty process is based. It is supposedly intended to create basic standards for the international sale or transfer of arms—with the goal of keeping these arms out of the hands of terrorists, insurgents, and mass murderers. But because it’s proceeding through the U.N., with the U.N.’s universal membership, the treaty has to be based on the assumption that all U.N. member states are law-abiding and democratic.

    This creates a bit of a mystery, because it leaves unexplained exactly how terrorists, insurgents, and mass murderers get arms. The answer, of course, is that states like Iran supply them. But you will not hear the U.N. saying that.

    What you will hear is a lot of U.S. frustration. Throughout the committee’s meeting, the U.S. has repeatedly called for the other delegations to abandon their fantastic positions and embrace some semblance of reality.

    On July 15, the U.S. said it would block the treaty if hunting weapons were included. As the plenary sessions resumed on July 21, the U.S. intervened twice in the discussion, both times to urge delegates to focus on what was realistic and achievable.

    Sadly, there is not much sign the U.S.’s words have had any effect. That same day, Mexico—speaking for eight other Central and South American nations—called for a treaty that would cover:

    All types of conventional weapons (regardless of their purpose), including small arms and light weapons, ammunition, components, parts, technology and related materials[,] hence permitting the development of the concept [of] “conventional arms” together with the future with technological developments of the armaments industry . . .   Internal transfers which . . . might have an impact on other States should also be part of an ATT.

    In other words, Mexico and its compatriots want a treaty that covers all weapons that exist now or are invented in the future, all parts of weapons, all technology related to all weapons, and which applies to gun sales inside the United States.

    That is just the kind of demand that the U.S. has repeatedly warned the committee against making—both because it is unrealistic and would create a completely unverifiable treaty, and because it immediately raises extremely serious questions about the implications of the treaty on rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment. That is not a shock. But in view of the public efforts of the U.S. to encourage sanity, it is regrettable nonetheless.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to As Arms Trade Treaty Meeting Concludes, U.S. Frustrations Grow

    1. Jim Hallman Oregon says:

      It is time to stop beating around the bush and tell the American public that we are fighting against the secret organizations such as the Round Table, CFR, TC, Bilderberg, and others. The mainstream under the control of theses organizations will not report on what at really going on and never will.

      Almost all the foundations are in the business of deceiving us with propaganda using mind control techniques. Most of the government and major corporations are a member of one or all these organizations and operate against the general public to implement new world order. Our demise is very near.

    2. John Haxton, Mentone says:

      Get the UN out of the US and the US out of the UN. As to Mexico's arms problems, let them sue us in an International Court over arms smuggling so that the world will finally see that the overwhelming of weapons the cartels are using really come from other sources. This of course is why Mexico doesn't sue us and wants the ATT ratified, then they won't have to cop to what the world already knows, that theirs is one of the most corrupt governments in the world. And does anyone really think that nations like North Korea and Iran are going to abide by the letter of the ATT? What a farce. Get US out of the UN. Sorry, I repeat myself.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×