The Arms Trade Treaty and the US buys a few more toys

The draft treaty text for the Arms Trade Treaty has been released (with only three days left to debate and approve or reject the text) and according to the reliable Political Minefields blog, it is unclear whether or not the draft Treaty would regulate the trade of landmines and in the absence of clarity I’m afraid we can assume the Treaty does not regulate such trade (Political Minefields http://politicalminefields.com/2012/07/25/a-drafty-treaty-the-holes-in-the-draft-arms-trade-treaty/). 

The United States has published its points of view and stances on the Arms Trade Treaty on the State Department’s website here: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/armstradetreaty/.  One of the key points (redlines) for the United States is that “There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives” in the Treaty.  Such reporting and marking would regulate the trade of landmines, including the alternative systems under development by the United States to replace persistent, victim-activated landmines. 

Speaking of those landmine alternatives, despite the pending sequestration (read: $1 trillion in reductions in US military spending) (The Economist http://www.economist.com/node/21558306), the Defense Department found enough spare change ($58 million) to buy additional XM-7 Spider landmines from Alliant Techsystems (Solicitation and Award from www.fbo.gov: More Spider Mines ordered 5-14-12).  I know completely eliminating landmines from the Defense budget wouldn’t solve all of the United States’s budget woes, but it wouldn’t hurt.

Michael P. Moore, July 25, 2012

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