The next time the Pentagon congratulates itself on another "good year" for arms transfers, Congress, the public, and the press should take a closer look at how those arms are being used. Being the world's leading arms trading nation is nothing to brag about.
The leadership of the National Rifle Association and their allies are mounting a campaign of lies and fear to build American opposition to the treaty, inaccurately arguing that the treaty would infringe on Americans right to bear arms.
An Arms Trade Treaty won't solve all the complex issues that lead to criminality, conflict and terrorism, but by galvanising states around the world to clamp down on illicit sales of weapons, it is a vital part of the solution.
Don't be deceived by the gun-grab rhetoric. An international commitment to strong standards on arms transfers will help to ensure that the global arms trade meets the legitimate security needs of all countries.
While the administration is pledging to try to curb the wholesale spread of ever more powerful weaponry at home, what is it doing about the same issue abroad where it has so much more power to pursue the agenda it prefers?
As the final date of the Arms Trade Treaty Conference gets ever closer, there is an increasing willingness by States to aim at compromise to achieve a treaty. What is certain, though, is that States must not use the 'spectre' of consensus to conclude the conference with a weak treaty.
We are in a dangerous zero-sum world in which a military reduction in the United States means a military increase somewhere else. To break out of this situation and create a virtuous circle of military reductions, we must pursue a three-prong strategy.
It is deeply regrettable that two countries would seek to arm the government of Syria while it is virtually waging war on its own people, sending tanks and troops into cities to kill innocent civilians. However, this is something we see time and again.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a move initiated by the Obama administration, has voted to waive Bush-era human rights restrictions on military aid to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on the planet.