October 28, 2006

Putting the brakes on the international arms trade.

By a 139 to 1 vote, the UN General Assembly has decided to start work on a treaty to put limits on international weapons trafficking.

Guess which country was the lone vote against the effort? Yep, it's the same one that has the planet's 53rd-freest press.

And why, I hear you ask, did the US vote against the treaty? Take your pick:

"The only way for a global arms trade treaty to work is to have every country agree on a standard," said Richard Grenell, a spokesman for the US mission to the UN told the Associated Press. The official US line is that so much compromise would be required to pass a UN treaty that it would be watered down to the point of not having any substance. "For us, that standard would be so far below what we are already required to do under US law that we had to vote against it in order to maintain our higher standards."

But Rebecca Peters, [director of the International Action Network on Small Arms], believes the Bush administration's decision is the result of powerful lobbying from groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has traditionally opposed UN arms control resolutions. "The most likely explanation for why the US was the sole opponent of the resolution is that the US has Congressional elections in two weeks, and the government is bowing to pressure from the extremist NRA," Peters said.

I know which reason I believe.

Via Spiegel.

Posted by Magpie at October 28, 2006 01:25 PM | International | Technorati links |