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The Rosett Report

What’s the Deal With the UN Arms Trade Treaty?

March 29th, 2013 - 2:37 am

So, there was the big Arms Trade Treaty conference at the United Nations, rolling along toward consensus approval of the deal, with some 2,000 attendees gathered in New York for the grand finale. And at the last minute, the whole thing stalled out, because the Trio of Evil — Iran, Syria, and North Korea — said no.

Surely that’s not because Tehran, Damascus, and Pyongyang are worried about infringing on Second Amendment rights.

Something about this is puzzling, and I’ll confess upfront I do not have the answer. Maybe it’s obvious, and I’m missing it. But, setting aside for the moment the question of whether the UN should be ginning up an Arms Trade Treaty in the first place, I’d like to focus on the players. Why these three?

Press accounts are offering various explanations. The New York Times suggests that with all three nay-sayers being under arms embargoes already, they “were concerned that the treaty would add muscle to such blockades.” Reuters offers a similar account, citing the views of anonymous western diplomats. The Iranian ambassador is quoted here and there, lamenting that the treaty has big loopholes that would leave it “hugely susceptible to politicization and discrimination.” Syria’s ambassador objected that it would not stop weapons transfers to those fighting his government. North Korea’s delegate complained that it was “not balanced.”

None of that quite adds up. A prime feature of UN treaties is that in practice they apply most heavily to countries with democratic governments — which, unlike dictatorships, are constrained by domestic debate and rule of law to abide by their agreements. Rogue regimes are less burdened by such niceties. If the U.S. signs onto a UN arms trade treaty, it’s a lot likelier that the result would be to interfere with the Second Amendment than to stop North Korean arms-smuggling to Syria and Iran. These are countries that don’t mind violating every rule in the international book, or cheating on any deal they make. Beyond the arms embargoes that all three have already been violating, Iran, Syria and North Korea all have records of ignoring international treaties in order to pursue nuclear weapons.

In raw economic terms, inveterate illicit arms dealers such as North Korea might actually stand to profit from a international treaty that would constrain those more punctilious about honoring their agreements. Rogue suppliers might get yet more business, commanding higher premiums.

So, what was the real aim of Iran, Syria, and North Korea popping up, arm in arm, in New York, three against 190, to derail a treaty they would be highly unlikely to honor even it if passed and they signed on? I don’t have an answer, but I do have the sense that something is missing from the explanations.

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All Comments   (11)
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Voted against a North Korea, Iran and Syria. 23 countries, including Russia and China abstained.
In the contract there are items that are amenable to arbitrary interpretation. They were made primarily under U.S. pressure. According to them, the supply of weapons prohibited in the event that they carry a huge risk and could lead to human rights violations. If the arms are used to peace and stability in the world, they are, in principle, allowed.
Russia and China have made the right choice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well this UN treaty thing is such a threat to liberty globally, that whoever strikes it down is irrelevant....whatever their motives....


If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
Winston Churchill


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
on the subject of fast & furious, i only recently figured out what it was all about. it just didn't make any sense to do such a stupid thing for no good reason. not tagging the guns? everybody watching knew the kenyan and hitlery had been telling untruths for quite a while about all the mexican deaths being caused by American arms. heck, they don't even want our guns. they only shoot one bullet at a time. fully auto's is what they like in drug wars.

did you notice how quickly the kenyan and staff jumped on sandy hook? teary eyed, let's take those 'assault weapons', when it is common knowledge that long guns don't really account for that many deaths every year, percentage wise. if you really wanted to stop all the slaughter, get the pistols away from the punks in the big blue cities.

i believe our most famous kenyan was trying to create a sandy hook south of the border, and did a pretty good job of it. hundreds, maybe thousands were killed using those guns. then the guns were left there to be found? yeah, right. problem was, border agents were killed by them, the media got hold of it, and that took the sandy hook moment away. am i wrong? why else would our little forger use executive privilege to stop the investigation just when the truth was close at hand? i doubt any legitimate state secrets exist on a purposely left open open border to validate its use; and, now sandy hook has dozens of questionable hidden actions coming out of that mess.

i watched as f & f took place, and i constantly brought it up again and again, as many here know. at least now i understand why fast & furious took place.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So...the underlying message of the article is...if those evil dictators and backwards third-world nations are against it, why are we against it? We must be evil and backwards, too! So, if we're not evil and backwards, we'd better change our minds and be quick about it!

What's with the propaganda on PJM, lately???
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What is it in the UN Charter that allows 3 tyranical regimes to block consideration of the arms treaty?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think they are fearful, for good reason, of the growing propensity for intervention into "rogue" nations under cover of UN authority.

The script should be pretty familiar. When statists want to expand the power of the state (in this case, the UN) they find a cause which "everyone" will agree is "just" and deserving of attention, and then use that cause to justify the expansion of state power.

These "rogues" know the game only too well and sense the targets on their backs. I only wish the rest of the world understood what is going on.

Sometimes I'm torn between being glad I'm 66 years old and won't have to live through all of what's coming, but being a little curious to watch the train wreck unfold.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You nailed it ... this is also the MO of our POTUS, Mr. Internationalist.
You'll live to see some great things happen by the way ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"So, what was the real aim of Iran, Syria, and North Korea popping up, arm in arm, in New York, three against 190?"

That's no mystery. They're pissed off at the entire world because we don't show enough appreciation for them; Khomeini, Achmadinajab, Assad and Chubby Kim Bong have now developed invincibility as a trait - they're all legends in their own little pinhead minds. This does NOT bode well for their futures as pinhead leaders - sad really. But hey, maybe some other "enlightened" leaders that lean heavily towards their totalitarian impulses will take note and adjust; when the above pinheads assume room temperature.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Under rogue governments breaking international laws on small arms transfers you left out the little American Fast and Furious episode of state sanctioned gun smuggling under the rubric of doing law enforcement. I suspect they did it because it's in their nature to be oppositional, because they could, and they probably enjoy the existential authenticity of knowing they pissed everyone off.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe they're trying to milk the West for concessions. They know all the usual gutless wonders are for it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
a: maybe they don't trust our kenyan in chief any more than a great many Americans. or

b: maybe they figure that whatever the prez. wants is just the opposite of what would be wise to do. isn't there an old addage about doing what your enemy doesn't want you to do? or

c. maybe they are closeted Tea Party members just trying to help out a brother.

d. none of the above

there, that probably covered it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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