The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty: Still Seriously Flawed

On July 11–15, the United Nations held a third meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Arms Trade Treaty. The committee discussed the content of the treaty in advance of a meeting of the conference in 2012 to finalize the treaty and open it for ratification. This treaty is purportedly intended to address the absence of commonly agreed international standards for the transfer of conventional arms, which, it is argued, contribute to war, crime, and terrorism. Previous meetings of the committee have made it clear that the treaty as contemplated poses serious threats to American liberties and interests and to effective and serious diplomacy. The latest committee meeting has not alleviated most of those concerns. But statements by both the permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union have at least reduced the supranational danger to U.S. sovereignty.

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