This isn’t good news. As much as Bush was a disappointment in many ways, he at least put Bolton in charge of our relationship with the UN, and Bolton was willing to tell the UN to go to hell:
The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush’s administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would support the talks as long as the negotiating forum, the so-called Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, “operates under the rules of consensus decision-making.”
At least Clinton is insisting on consensus, which gives any nation a veto over the process. But will we use it? Â As I said before, it doesn’t really matter whether the US ratifies the treaty or not. Most forms of it that have existed in the past require signing nations to implement licensing of gun owners and registration of guns — something that’s not going to fly in the United States — in order to be a nation that can legally be exported to. This means even without US ratification, if Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Italy, Czech Republic and Russia signed on to the treaty, we’d essentially lose imports of all firearms and ammunition from those countries. In that case, we can only hope that there are ways to get around the treaty. But you can bet that International NGOs like Amnesty, IANSA and Oxfam will be lobbying the UN hard to close those “loopholes” in the treaty. Many foreign manufactures set up shop in the US to get around our importations laws already, but we still import an awful lot from foreign countries.