Friday, July 27, 2012

The Arms Trade Treaty: so near and not so far?

So near and yet so far. After coming so close, tragically we fell at what was almost the final hurdle. And yet it had all started so well. A diplomatically adept intervention by China, the best I have ever seen by that state, set an early, positive tone. While still delivering a hard-nosed message to the European Union that wished to adhere to the future Arms Trade Treaty as a "regional integration organisation", China showed skill and good humour, even breaking into French to observe that "C'est la vie et la vie c'est ça."

© Jesper Waldersten
The almost unbridled optimism of the early morning was, though, abruptly extinguished by an ill-timed intervention by the US, taking diplomatic naiveté to a new height by suggesting that they needed "more time". No serious, substantive objection was posed to justify this claim; only a series of drafting concerns that could have, and should have, been addressed in the remaining hours. What a sad indictment of the world's biggest arms exporter this was. Its incapacity to stay the course and negotiate an agreement that has been a decade in the making is, and should be, an embarrassment to the administration. 

The breach, once made, was an open invitation to others who really didn't want an agreement, and they duly accepted it with alacrity. Russia heavily criticised the Diplomatic Conference's President, Ambassador Moritan, and called for an additional two to three weeks to conclude the negotiations. Venezuela said the document lacked balance; Cuba and Syria agreed. The trickle became a flood. So what started as a shambles, ended as a shambles. President Moritan thanked everyone and their gardener and then adopted the briefest of final reports, before accepting "full responsibility" for what was truly a personal as much as a collective failure.

Mexico intervened on behalf of more than 70 governments. He said that they believed they were "very close" to achieving their goals. They were disappointed but not discouraged. The draft treaty enjoyed the support of the overwhelming number of States as a basis for a final treaty text. Mexico reiterated the determination of these states to achieving a strong Arms Trade Treaty that would lead to a safer world for everybody.

Nigeria on behalf of the African Group called for a continuation of the process. Trinidad and Tobago expressed its "disappointment but not its dismay" at the inability to adopt a treaty today. Brazil said it was not President Moritan's fault that they had not succeeded. Côte d'Ivoire on behalf of ECOWAS regretted that the shared dream has not been fulfilled. Algeria asked for the procedure from now on, specifically with respect to the UN General Assembly. Moritan curtly noted that the final report had been adopted.

So we end without an Arms Trade Treaty. What a terrible, nay unforgivable waste of an opportunity this was. Momentum was with us. We were so very close. But the many governments that genuinely wanted an agreement and the NGOs should be proud of the progress that was made and not give in to the temptation to dwell wistfully on what might have been. In Thomas Hardy's words, "The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes." Let us strive to ensure, though, that this does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy. "Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure", as Disraeli once told us.

So near and not so far, not so far at all.  So it's just au revoir from us.

32 comments:

  1. this is great news for gun owners and shooters around the world. armed citizens can never be subjects.

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    1. good luck to anyone that decides to take my guns! Our country was founded by armed citizens standing up for their rights. Our govt knows this- they also know they will never be able to get the guns owned by its citizens away from them. It would turn into a civil war. And since the greater majority of our military are also gun owners and sworn to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic- chances are if our govt tried it they would find themselves fighting its citizens and its military personel as they would be considered a domestic enemy and would find themselves being replaced.

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  2. I agree, The US stood up and delayed this asking for more time because the US citizent do not want and will not tolerate our government let alone another nations govt. trying to tell us what kind of guns, how many or who can own them. Yes guns are used in crimes, yes guns cause accidental deaths every year. The majority of guns used in crimes are illegal weapons to begin with there are already laws governing this and that situation is not about to change any time soon. As for the accidental deaths- more people are killed by bee stings each year are you going to out law them? The Us needs to pull out of the UN. We dont need them, all they do is try to get the US to foot the bill for other countrys bennifit. There is nothing wrong with being charitable but we should not do it at our citizens expence! The US needs to back off helping other countrys in any way until we get our national debt, unemployment, inflation etc under control then we can return to our helping other countrys. Take care of our problems at home before you go looking to fix someone else's. The free trade agreement needs to go ASAP! to many US jobs are lost by companies shipping jobs to other countrys leaving our people out of work for cheeper wages and no bennifits- these compannies are shipping supplies accross borders with no tax then shipping them back to the US for sale with no tax. They need to pay import/export taxes so it is not financially advantageous to ship US jobs elsewhere. Congrats to the US for stopping this, keep it up and pull out of the UN and NATO!! Do what we need as a country for our citizens first then worry about everyone else.

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    1. Learn how to write first!

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  3. Sign whatever treaty you want UN, just leave the US out. If you want our guns, come and get them.

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  4. Thank the US for preventing the worst scum nations of dictating what a soverign country can do with in its boarders. The US needs to with draw from the UN move it out of the US and move it to the middle east and let all the those nations disarm them selves. The second amendment was so well thought out that after 200 years it still prevents a would be Dictator from controlling this country. Amen.

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    1. All the anti gun groups try every year to pass something to restrict our right to bear arms- that is a fight we havent seen the last of- its bad enough dealing with the radical groups in the US that want to take away the rights we have fought for and earned- the very same rights that make the US the great country that it is- the very same one that citizens from some of these other countries like China, have many thousands of their citizens running here every year because they want to be free! The fight might not be over yet, but they will never succede in disarming us.

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    2. You would be better off learning English grammar than focussing on questions you have no idea about like the arms trade...

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  5. This is the best news I have heard in YEARS.

    Canadian Gun Owner

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  6. China, Cuba and Venezuela dictating US gun policy? What could ever go wrong?

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  7. Best news we've heard in weeks! Hallelujah! Our nation, the US of A is a sovereign nation and we citizens won't give up our guns to our own govt. and certainly not to anyone representing the UN.

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  8. *takes deep breath* YAY!!!

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  9. Read an article yesterday regarding B.O. stating he " will not be dealing with gun policies or stricter laws at this time". Hmmmm..ya think? Freaking idiot had an epiphany.I'm shocked. Thought for sure we were going to war & haven't slept for chit in weeks over it. Maybe now I'll rest easier? Doubtful to say the least.
    The best time to strike an opponent is immediately after the threat of battle. Stay on the ready, stay aware & "awake".
    This is the first volley. Likely many more will follow.
    With whom we have to choose from as Presidential candidates is still sub standard. Same old same old blah blah blah. Until we get someone with balls enough to tell THE WORLD to F* off "your on your own, we've our own problems", this country will remain in the hole.,dug by the hands of the sheeple, controlled by globalist bankers & "sellout" politicians.
    Give the country 10 years of 100% made in the USA & we'll be on our feet.

    I feel a rant coming on so on that, LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC GOD BLESS THE USA.
    Nick D.

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  10. True reasons behind the rejection to have a strict arms trade treaty based on IHL and IHRL criteria are economic and political reasons. Do we truly believe the US, Russia, China, France, and also UK want to scale down their arms industry? Around 20 percent or so the US economy depends on arms industry that will be impacted by an ATT.

    Do we truly believe the US, Russia, China, France and UK want to stop the profit from supplying dictators around the globe and get political gain in the process? All of them came to New York to negotiate a weak treaty, once they realised that the treaty is not "weak enough" as they expected they just torpedoed the process.

    We live in a very sad world where people are supplying weapons to see other people kill each other.

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  11. Dear UN delegates... don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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  12. Hey Endo: remember Rwanda about 20 yrs ago?!? Remember that it was Boutrous Boutrous Ghali's firm that flew arms into those on one side of the conflict in Kigali? And how the machete/golok/panga has caused mayhem throughout Africa? Or perhaps how the arms embargoes in the former Jugoslavia led to slaughter of innocents unable to defend themselves?
    Is there corruption in the world? You bet! Are there "people (who want to) kill each other"? Absolutely! Will I ALWAYS resist efforts of the self-anointed utopian "smart guys" like you to take away my intrinsic, natural-law based right to defend myself and my loved ones? With my dying grasp, if needed!

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  13. Several billion dollar illegal weapon trade has become big threat for peace and security of modern world. Use of illegal weapons is very common these days not only in third world poor countries but also in modern countries like US, France and Germany. Several bloody conflicts from Asia to Africa are getting all types of weapons through illegal arms trade. According to new estimates seventy four thousand women and children lost their lives every year because of Illegal weapons trade. Despite killing of large number of people every year world community is sitting silent and doing nothing to minimize illegal arms trade because illegal arms trade is providing enough support to ailing economy of several countries including USA. According to media news UN member states have failed to agree on common draft to regulating the multibillion dollar arms trade. However they agreed to hold more talks on the matter in future but things are going bad to worse after lack of interest of big powers. Many member nations accused the United States of blocking agreement after month long negotiations. Now Washington is asking more time to review its strategy. Recent failed negotiations also show that big powers have established their monopoly in UNO and UNO can do nothing without approval of big powers which is very unfortunate. Some big powers also not yet signed lands mines banning treaty because of personal benefits. Thousands of people lost their lives every year in war affected countries because of land mines. Use of cluster bombs and ban weapons against civilian population is very comer these days and due to lack of interest of big powers civilian casualties increased dramatically in war affected countries.

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    1. Hey Al-Fuq-Logik-Imarantin
      3,000 people killed on September 11th 2001 with box cutters. Are you for an international ban on Stanley knives -- genius?

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  14. wow !! it was a close call....

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  15. Look we need gun control. You have to be able to hit what you are aiming at so I do believe we should make target practice mandatory!!!

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  16. No government, no nation, no state should ever have a monopoly on violence.

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  17. Hi Gerry,

    Your argument is influenced by a premise that "weapons will solve problem". They actually do not! Genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia took place because the world did NOT do anything to prevent it.

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    1. HERP DERP nice way to gloss over the fact the atrocities in Rwanda were perpetrated by people armed with machetes. In your Utopian fantasy world no one was killed violently before the invention of firearms, right?

      By the way genius, what would you have liked the "world" to have used to "prevent" the genocide if not weapons? (Remember your statement they don't solve problems) so we'll all sit right here and have you explain what you would use instead? A U.N sternly worded letter?

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  18. This reads like it was written by a socially inept unattractive liberal female.

    Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

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  19. Molon Labe... Come and Take Them.

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  20. What idiots ever thought this was a good idea to begin with?

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  21. So all the dictatorships and third world shitholes, like Obamaland, wanted to stop the evil arms trade.

    Freedom won.

    Now you can start worrying about your hold on the people, Zero.

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  22. Αυτή τη στιγμή που διαβάζεις αυτό το μήνυμα, ένας συνάνθρωπός σου χρειάζεται τη βοήθειά σου. Μην τον αφήνεις άλλο να περιμένει. Ψάξε στις λίστες με τις αγγελίες για βοήθεια και βοήθησε τον. Δεν είναι μόνος του, γιατί έχει όλους μας δίπλα του. http://www.ehelp.gr

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  23. Goodness me, there are some scary people out there. At the end of your current blog, I just want to congratulate you on some of the best writing I've seen in years. And despite all these inane comments, there are millions of us round the world that would like to see some kind of regulation to bring an end to the horrific statistic of one person being shot dead every minute. Some people think that's ok (I'm guessing these are people who have never seen their loved ones shot dead arbitrarily). Most of us don't. I hope you will be back in October, where me and the other millions will be lobbying again for a successful ATT. Keep up the good work. There is always hope.
    Best wishes, in solidarity.

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  24. The Arms Trade Treaty is contentious! It is a one-sided treaty.

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