Thursday, October 17, 2013

130.2 - Good news: US signs Arms Trade Treaty

Good news: US signs Arms Trade Treaty

The other bit of good news has a connection to the first bit. It's from a couple of weeks ago but it's still worth mentioning because I'd be willing to bet real money that you hadn't heard about this one.

On September 25, acting on behalf of the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the Arms Trade Treaty.

What this treaty does is to require the governments that sign it to not sell or transfar arms when there is an “overriding risk” that the weapons will support genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. It also requires those governments to establish effective arms import and export control systems and to cooperate and share information about the international arms trade, which now is often conducted in the shadows.

More than 90 other nations have already signed, but many of the top arms exporters have yet to do so. That's one of the reasons that this is important: The US is the world's largest arms dealer, and its signing is seen as critical to the success of the treaty even though the action is mostly symbolic because existing US laws would very likely be enough to satisfy the requirements of the treaty. Those laws are all too often not enforced or wished away with some presidential "finding" or another, but that for the moment is a different issue.

The issue right now is that the signing is doubly symbolic because the chances of the Senate endorsing the treaty are let's be optimistic and say minimal. Beyond the expected GOPper response, as it is to everything, to act like a 6-year-old brat stamping their foot and going "No!" is the fact that at least some of the dim bulbs of the other party - and this is the real connection to the other good news bit - will embrace the bull that the treaty "violates the Second Amendment!"

The fact is, the treaty only applies to the international arms trade; indeed it specifically and explicitly leaves it up to the nations that sign the Treaty to decide how they are going to regulate and control their domestic arms trade. Anyone who says this treaty limits, violates, or even has anything to do with the Second Amendment is either lying or has no idea what they are talking about.
And considering that we are referring here to members of Congress and assorted right-wingers, it could easily be either.

Even so - for all its symbolic nature, signing this treaty was still the right thing to do and still good news and still good on the Obama administration for doing it. I don't get to say that too often, so I'm taking advantage here.


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