Why the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty Won’t Work

Ted Bromund /

The U.N. wants to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty. The Heritage Foundation recently published a lengthy study of this proposal. It found that the Treaty, if brought into being as currently projected, will be used not to restrict the access that dictators and terrorists have to conventional arms, but to reduce the ability of democracies like Israel to defend their people against terrorism.

This week brought further evidence of the U.N.’s impending failure. First came the announcement of a major arms deal between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. The size of the deal is staggering: Russia has given Venezuela a $2.2 billion line of credit. According to the Economist, this deal is about one quarter the size – to take one comparison – of all of Britain’s arms sales in 2008.

And Venezuela’s got quite the shopping list: 92 T-72 tanks, plus a lot more sophisticated hardware. What would the U.N.’s projected treaty do about this transaction between an authoritarian and repressive Russia and a dictatorial Venezuela? Nothing at all. Indeed, the treaty would give the deal a pat on the back, because it explicitly states that all nations, even dictatorships, have “the right…to manufacture, import, export, transfer and retain conventional arms.” (more…)