by Alan J Chwick & Joanne D Eisen
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- A funny thing happened on the way to the attempted disarmament of sovereign nations, in Geneva, this past September 2017. The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) began to show the spider cracks of failure. We knew it would happen, but not as rapidly as it appeared during the third annual meeting.
The mutiny of member nations against the ATT proponents has begun.
The idea of a global treaty emerged because of the early failures in the 90’s of civil society peace and disarmament groups, called Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), to disarm civilians and reduce violence. Their theory goes, fewer weapons, less crime, and violence. They repeatedly failed to panic or coerce people into disarming.
Those groups discovered early on that individual people do not easily accept voluntary or forced disarmament. The black market enters the picture and helps both the criminal and the frightened civilian to rearm, albeit illegally. So it would be with nations. The black market in arms is ready and willing to provide weapons, as shown by past UN embargoes on rogue nations which were all violated.
Frustrated and fatigued with failure, NGOs, like the Control Arms Coalition, began to pressure the approximately 200 countries of Earth into accepting an ATT which would be legally binding. It would be a new global law, and so, it would force global obedience.
However, this treaty is not in the best interest of any nation. The road to disarmament runs through a phase of partial disarmament, which is not wise for nations or their civilians.
And civil society’s ATT proponents are besotted with the concept of disarmament. Allison Pytlak, of Reaching Critical Will, derided the notion that, “there are some actors in the international community that can be ‘trusted’ to possess or ‘responsibly use’ weapons …”
We acknowledge that global peace is a moral goal that most of us believe in, even though our species may not be ready to take a step towards disarmament. Many nations signed or ratified the treaty because of the fake promise of peace, and other less developed nations signed on because of the expectation of extra funding that would become available to corrupt officials.
Just as nations have signed many UN treaties without any intention of obeying them, many decided to participate in the goodwill engendered by the hype of moral superiority, but they would never actually participate in the treaty implementation.
So in September, when the time for talking ended, and the time for obedient adherence to the treaty’s goal of arms control and violence reduction began, the state parties started to rebel against the NGO proponents.
The first problem began with lack of ‘universalization,’ which means in UN lingo, a lack of unanimous global participation, as only 92 nations have been bullied into the ratification of the agreement.
The second problem is the treaty’s reporting requirements. The agreement includes yearly reports regarding the manufacture and transfer of arms, which is termed ‘transparency,’ and few, if any, nations want to disclose what weapons they have. Nations want and need, to protect their borders and their sovereignty, and this often requires secrecy regarding their capabilities. There are very positive financial benefits of arms sales for many nations, as tyrants require weapons to control their civilians, who often begin to fight their oppressors. And lastly, disrupting nations need weapons to, well, disrupt.
So it should not be surprising that even those nations who believe in the ATT process are loathed to follow its program, like the requirement of reporting all arms transfers in detail.
According to Ted Bromund, who has been following the ATT discussions for years, the reporting is very uneven. He wrote, “Only seven nations from the developing world … reported in 2016. Whatever the treaty is doing, it’s not doing much of anything in the Third World.”
Allison Pytlak of Reaching Critical Will warned, “It has been said that a lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity, a very dangerous combination for such a young treaty.”
Another serious crack that appeared at September’s meeting, was that total NGO obedience was expected, but even there, there was outright rebellion, too. The NGO Amnesty International called out the transfer of arms to the Philippines over their use of weapons against “alleged drug offenders that appear to be systematic, planned and organized by the authorities.“
The Philippines’ representative said that the information was FALSE, while the response by Control Arms was that the information was TRUE. The veiled threat of damage to the progress of universalization was used. And other governments remained silent.
Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will later complained, “They speak not a word when the Philippines says civil society must not bring up certain issues … it should be at least clear that telling civil society or international organizations that they cannot bring issues forward for discussion or present evidence for consideration is not an acceptable response to hearing information that you do not necessarily want to hear.”
Allison Pytlak, in an October 23, 2017, editorial, complained about Canada supplying Saudi Arabia with armored vehicles which were used in Yemen to suppress riots. She took the opportunity to comment that France, the UK, and the US are known to be transferring weapons to Saudi Arabia which is being used in Yemen, “declined to comment on this in their conventional weapons statements.”
This is not a picture of a happy international family.
We acknowledge that there is a serious problem here on Earth. In 2016, there were 49 armed conflicts, of which 12 were considered wars because they each had more than 1,000 battle deaths. There is a great deal of criminality in our neighborhoods and there are many criminal governments.
We grieve for each one of our fellow humans who lose their lives to unnecessary violence, for those who suffer the loss of loved ones and their homes due to such violence.
We also understand that those in the peace and disarmament community, who have fruitlessly attempted to improve their fellow humans, will have difficulty accepting the truth that their work of a lifetime has failed. They will never accept the idea that weapons control is not an effective answer and it may even be contraindicated to the path to peace. They are left with partial disarmament, and that tends to create greater chaos.
We do not know if there is a road to global harmony. We know that the theory that weapons control is necessary for nonviolence is only misplaced pacifism and, it is not going to be part of any answer. We know for sure that the ATT is failing under its own weight.
We all want peace and security, but the problem is how to get there. So, we guess that A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to World Peace and Security.
About the Authors:
Alan J Chwick has been involved with firearms much of his life and is the Retired Managing Coach of the Freeport NY Junior (Marksmanship) Club, Division of the Freeport NY Revolver & Rifle Association, Freeport, NY. He has escaped from New York State to South Carolina and is an SC FFL (Everything 22 and More). Alan J Chwick – [email protected] | @iNCNF
Joanne D Eisen, DDS (Ret.) practiced dentistry on Long Island, NY. She has collaborated and written on firearm politics for the past 30+ years. She has also escaped from New York State but to Virginia. Joanne D Eisen – [email protected]