By Alan J Chwick & Joanne D Eisen
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Although the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) proponents hysterically advise us that the goal is to save lives, we believe that the treaty will not and can not live up to its promise.
We believe that the implementation of the treaty will disarm the law abiding, create power imbalances that harm many and grow the global Black Market in noxious goods and services.
The ATT will fail, as have almost all weapons control schemes, excepting, for example, North Korea. And, we note that the United Nations (UN) does not have the reach, nor the means, to match North Korea's control of its citizens.
The ATT is designed to be evolutionary. That is, there is a millennia old culture of state sovereignty that needs to be broken prior to the successful implementation of the Treaty, as imagined by the proponents. At the present time, nations are protecting their sovereignty and are unwilling to cede their rights as nations to an unproven philosophy. States have retained the power to make arms trade decisions.
As time goes by, because of the change in the UN’s voting rules that will eliminate the need for 100% agreement to the treaty, activists can increasingly strong-arm weaker, poorer nations into changing and ‘strengthening‘ the treaty by adding more stringent rules. They expect to eventually break the sovereignty of nations by changing global culture and norms.
In order to successfully control arms flows, they will need to control the behavior of nations and individuals.
The Treaty’s proponents are attempting to create law that controls all weapons, ammunition and any dual use products from manufacture to ‘end users.' This is dangerous to us because the path to this dream is not well thought out. It is the culmination of many past disarmament failures, and it disregards human nature. The path to this dream ignores the ubiquitous presence of Black Markets, as well.
As the treaty itself matures, its failure may have the ability to muddy the purity of America’s Second Amendment, unless we remain strong and resolute for many years into the future. (Please see International Law And The United States Constitution In Conflict: A Case Study On The Second Amendment by Joseph Bruce Alonso)
Nations that ratify the ATT will be obligated to live by it. While many in this nation would cheerfully agree, our present Senate will not ratify it. However, as we all know, politics runs in cycles and we will need to be constantly alert to the small thefts of US sovereignty.
Theodore Bromund writes, “This treaty is failing because it has no connection to reality. It is based on the fantasy that an international agreement can cause incompetent or dictatorial regimes to behave better, and the mistaken view that wars are caused by guns, not the regimes that use them.”
We who possess civilian firearms are drawn into a war of which we are mostly ignorant. Every generation must fight its battle for freedom. Many reading this piece already know that Freedom and the Second Amendment are perpetually under fire, but most newbies do not. We can still hear gun owners ask why hunters need assault weapons or accept that so-called ‘universal background' checks are ‘reasonable' and successfully keep guns away from criminals.
If you hear this confusion from your friends, you're hearing your call to battle. Our battle field is full of traps made of lies. Sun Tsu tells us to know and understand the battlefield. He tells us to change the battlefield to suit us, but that's what our enemies already did in order to weaken and divide us.
The lies are designed to make us change our actions. They make us doubt ourselves. They make us change our vote. They make us think that a global arms treaty is ‘reasonable‘ and would make our families more safe.
When we are lied to in order to induce us to change our thoughts and behaviors, we should understand that the liars do not have our best interests in mind. We should never compromise with liars, as they have only their goal of global power disguised as the creation of a peaceful global society, in mind.
The Past Predicts the Future
One of their major lies is that they are successfully on the way to a peaceful, disarmed future. However, the very attempt to develop an ATT is actually the reflexion of multiple past failures.
After the Soviet Union fell, “Small arms suddenly became widely available through massive leakages from Russian military bases…” and were used in many areas of conflict. Horrified pacifists began to act within the UN venue.
However, the UN’s attempt to control global weapons began to fail almost immediately. The 1991 UN Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects spent many donor dollars on incredible amounts of public relations hoopla in the search of global disarmament.
Many measures were initially agreed to, but implementation was bogged down. The mantra about failure, “Lessons were learned,” was a facade that was created for media consumption.
One such measure, the marking and identification of weapons, is necessary to the goal of tracking weapons. Yet, the marking of weapons and parts was dependent upon advanced technology that was beyond the scope and capacity of underdeveloped nations to accomplish.
Whether there was a lack of will to cooperate or a race to steal donor funds, the marking of weapons became an impossible task for Third World nations despite all kinds of aid. Marking machines broke down regularly and personnel were unable to repair those machines. At one time, it was suggested that adhesive labels could be used instead of permanent markings.
A key requirement on the way to total weapons control, after the identification of weapons, was transparency. Nations were asked to identify and report, in a very detailed manner, their total supply of weapons and their annual weapons acquisitions and sales, among other things. This burdensome task was impossible for the Third World nations, too.
Weapons marking and transparency are required in order to understand weapons flows. But, as one could expect, most nations would fail to accurately report their arms records to the PoA, and, as years went by, many nations stopped providing reports. Imagine telling your enemies about your strengths and weaknesses! Imagine obeying a UN bureaucracy who think that they will eventually be able to deny approval for most of your planned arms transfers on the grounds that weapons might fall into the wrong hands!
The lack of those reports were to become a major cause of failure of the PoA.
Even with great amounts of donor funding flowing into the third world countries, transparency did not happen within the PoA.
Theodore Bromund wrote,”while many UN nations were eager to win political kudos by participating initially in the PoA…they are unwilling , or unable, to live up to their commitments under it.“
Mr. Bromund further suggests that lack of transparency will remain a serious problem with the ATT.
By 2006, Saferworld ( http://www.saferworld.org.uk/), an anti gun Non Government Organization (NGO), discussing the review conference of the PoA, would lament, ” at the eleventh hour the whole Conference collapsed….the failure of the Review Conference is a significant setback to the momentum that had been in place internationally.”
In conjunction with the PoA, the UN attempted to establish a series of arms embargoes. They were an abject failure. By 1993, M. Shane Smith would opine, “the ability for embargoes to actually stymie weapons acquisitions by a determined state is questionable.” Additionally, Elizabeth Kirkham and Cathrine Flew wrote that, “Although in principle, all UN member states are compelled to adhere to binding UN embargoes, this is not always borne out in practice.”
And the UK Independent would unambiguously state in 2006, “All United Nations arms embargoes have been breached with impunity, with only a handful of the weapons traffickers responsible for the trade in death ever facing prosecution.” The reason for these embargo failures is the presence of the Black Market arms traffickers. Countries and non state actors wishing to acquire arms, but not wishing to comply with the embargoes placed upon them, buy on the Black Market. Whatever we may think about state or individual violence, we can never stop criminal actors from acquiring weapons.
About half the nations in our world can produce arms and there are always rogue people/nations who will transfer arms and provide them to those who pay.
The proponents of the many arms control schemes, including proponents of the ATT, never explain how they intend to eliminate the Black Market. They conveniently ignore that they cannot stop criminals and criminal governments from arming themselves.
It was a short step to demand a treaty that would prove that their disarmament philosophy would work under the right circumstances.
Activists assume that a legal agreement, such as the ATT, will force member nations to comply with the stated intention to reduce arm flows to areas in conflict.
Even though the treaty grants authority to authorize or deny authorization of arms transfers to member nations, it is evident from the behavior patterns of the proponents that they plan to be the ones to ultimately be in charge. They also believe that, member States will then comply with the demands of the ATT and cease to transfer arms.
Yet an embargo by any other name is still an embargo! The ATT proponents would give us many embargoes without using the term ‘embargo,’ hence their new norm will be ‘non-embargo.’
The ATT proponents further believe that the treaty will magically control the Black Market. They believe that nations will arrest and bring to justice those very traffickers who help those very same nations to acquire the weapons they seek.
The Final Weakness
Failure after failure, frustration after frustration, led to the the creation of the ATT. The proponents believe that a legally binding law will succeed where voluntary action has failed. But the same individual need for self defense and personal safety, and the same national desire to retain sovereignty, to protect its citizens and its very existence, still exist now as those needs did thousands of years ago. This is one major failure point for the ATT.
As nations are becoming more aware of the end game, they are becoming more wary of ATT cooperation. It would appear from the early ATT activist’s behavior that there will be many more of these non-embargoes placed upon unwilling nations. As the non-embargoes proliferate in number and more and more nations are involved, the less the nations will want to comply with the ATT. This is another major failure point for the ATT.
The number of these so called non-embargoes even add up now. Conservatively, at this time, there are about 30 conflicts, globally. And according to UN data, about half the worlds nations are weapons producers, of some kind. What this ultimately means to leaders of nations is that Treaty activists will be attempting to control the globe. But, as we have seen for decades, nations, as well as individuals, will not comply because their sovereignty will be at stake. Again, another failure point for the ATT.
The Arms Trade Treaty has failure built into its very core.
At best, when the ATT fails, our world will be left with disoriented activists still lying to global civilians about the benefits of accepting the myriad of rules and regulations that have not in the past shown to be able to improve any lives.
At worst, bewildered activists will leave us with a massive Black Market in goods that can be stronger than some nations and will remain active for decades. We note here that the Mexican government fought a gallant war against drugs, and after failing to control the flow of drugs, is left with armed and well organized violent drug cartels.
The ATT activists may be well meaning folks, but they need to learn from history of the attempted control of goods and services before they continue. They need to ask why they have been moving from one failure to another, seeking ever stronger rules after each failure.
They need to learn that disarmament is not the path.
NOTE: The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty can be found @ https://unoda-web.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/English7.pdf
About the authors:
Alan J Chwick has been involved with firearms much of his life, and is the Managing Coach (Ret.) of the Freeport Junior (Marksmanship) Club, Division of the Freeport NY Revolver & Rifle Association, Freeport, NY. He has recently escaped from New York State to South Carolina. Alan J Chwick – [email protected] | @iNCNF
Joanne D Eisen, DDS (Ret.) practices dentistry on Long Island, NY. She has collaborated and written on firearm politics for the past 25-years, and is a Senior Fellow in Criminology at the Independence Institute in Denver, CO. She has also recently escaped from New York State, but to Virginia. Joanne D Eisen – [email protected]