Opposition to a proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is growing over concerns about its possible implications for America’s sovereignty and interests.
As Heritage’s Kim Holmes explains in the Washington Times, the language in the draft circulated at the U.N. this week would harm law-abiding nations like the United States while allowing the true offenders to carry on with their arms trafficking.
Under the rhetoric of international security and justice, member states of the U.N. are working on a legally binding treaty to regulate the sale or transfer of all kinds of arms, which treaty supporters say contribute to human rights abuses, violence, crime, and terrorism around the world. But the U.N. continued to undermine its credibility and contradict its own intentions by electing Iran to a top post at the treaty conference, even though the Security Council had recently found that Iran had transferred weapons to Syria.
The draft of the proposed treaty contained criteria for arms transfers based on human rights and regional stability under which, Holmes notes, U.S. adversaries such as Russia could continue to supply arms to anyone while criticizing U.S. arms sales to our allies like Israel or Taiwan. Opponents of the treaty point also to the fact that some U.N. member states now negotiating the treaty are failing to uphold other commitments.
Heritage senior research fellow Ted Bromund spoke against the proposed treaty at the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Conference. “It is a fantasy,” he said, “to believe that a universal ATT, backed by nothing more than the words of the treaty itself, will succeed where the Security Council, backed by the authority of Chapter 7 [of the U.N. charter], has failed” to stop illegal arms sales.
As Holmes concluded, “Why on earth would we sign up to such a thing?”
Michael C. Cunningham is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.