After years of efforts to curb the $70 billion conventional arms trade, a global treaty was blocked by Iran, North Korea and Syria. But the measure is expected to go to the U.N. General Assembly where it may be resurrected.
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.
After years of campaigning to bring the arms trade under control, we sometimes forget who we are fighting for. The negotiations get technical and it all gets a bit tedious. But we must never forget why we're doing this.
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?
The Arms Trade Treaty is a common-sense measure that would make it more difficult for weapons to be sold on the black market and halt the flow of weapons to dangerous regimes. Yet the NRA has gone on record saying the treaty will threaten Americans' rights to bear arms.
Given the vast network of domestic constituencies and economic as well as environmental issues it raises, climate change is the most complicated but surely the most consequential of issues on the president's multilateral agenda.
Trafficking in conventional weapons threatens our collective mortality no less than nuclear arms. The most important lesson from the Missile Crisis is simple: peace is fragile. Having survived those 13 days 50 years ago, it's now our duty to remember its lessons.
Bill Clinton's masterful speech to nominate Barack Obama summed up the philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans saying, "We believe that 'We're all in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'You're on your own'.''