The United Nations yesterday approved the first ever global arms trade treaty in an effort to regulate the multibillion-dollar international weapons trade. The treaty is supposed curb the ability of countries like Iran and Russia to sell weapons to countries like Syria, though implementation of the agreement is still years away and no actual enforcement system has been drawn up. As of now, the treaty’s only real effect is enabling some countries to flag other countries’ weapons sales as illegal under international law.
President Obama has backed this treaty, but for the US to actually become a party at least 67 Senators will have to get on board. And as we’ve noted before, this is a long shot. Over half the Senate has already signed an amendment pledging to defeat the treaty, citing concerns about ceding authority over US interests to foreign governments. And while the treaty does not grant the UN jurisdiction over any domestic sales, the NRA has also been active in stirring up opposition, capitalizing on the parallels with gun control measures at home.
President Obama may come to regret pushing for a global treaty that has little hope of passing the Senate. Insofar as he believes that this is an important cause, he should have worked on lining up some Jacksonian support in Congress ahead of time.
If the treaty fails, it will join the likes of the Law of the Sea and the Kyoto Protocol in the Senate graveyard. And for any greens reading this, this would likely be the fate of any new global warming treaty as well. The Senate has a long tradition of defeating global cooperation agreements, and it’s one it appears happy to continue.
[Image of Congress courtesy of Shutterstock.com]