HORIST: Let’s unmake a deal … this time the Arms Trade Treaty
In this era of reality television, President Trump — the artisan of deal making — is reversing polarities and taking a spin on the popular “Let’s Make a Deal” television show with his own version of “Let’s Unmake a Deal.”
To the horror of the liberal establishment in Washington — that has run the federal government for generations — President Trump has terminated the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran deal and refused to extend Obama’s questionable DACA deal. He has now pulled the presidential signature – once again President Obama’s “John Hancock” – off the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
One hundred and one nations have ratified the Treaty that went into effect in 2014 — and 41 more have signed on but not ratified. Ooops! Make that 40 now that Trump has withdrawn the United States. Actually, we were never officially on board since the Senate never ratified the Obama treaty – making it possible for Trump to terminate it with the stroke of his pen. That was also the case with the Paris Accords, the Iran deal and Obama’s Executive Order that extended the DACA deal for the dreamers. None of them had the permanence of congressional action. Though Obama affixed his signature to documents, there were effectively written on the wind, as they say.
Obama once pointed to his power to advance or to stop the movement of issues with his boastful threat, “I have a pen.” Of course, so does his successor. And what lives by the presidential pen can die by the presidential pen. That was presaged when Obama decided to use executive power rather than look to the legislature to do its job. At the time, pundits pondered, what might a future President do? Now they know.
What are the common characteristics of all the aforementioned deals? They were arguably an abuse of executive power by Obama – a misuse of the pen. They are all matters in which Congress should have taken the lead and resolved the issue. Unfortunately, the House has gone from excuses under Republicans to abuses under Democrats.
Let’s take a quick review of the broken deals.
Obama signed a very bad “agreement” with Iran. It was not a treaty because that would have required Senate approval – and it was obvious that the Senate, even with a Democrat majority, was not going to approve that crappy deal. It was a huge concession to Iran – and by extension, to Russia. It did not permanently end Iran’s nuclear ambitions but did provide a green light and a lot of greenbacks for Iran to continue its state sponsorship of worldwide terrorism – which we see being played out on the international stage today with tragic results. It was a bad deal for America and the civilized world.
The Paris Climate Accord was also not a treaty because again the Senate would never have approved it. Why, you might ask? Put simply, it required the United States to make virtually all the sacrifices – and at great cost to the American economy. Nations with huge carbon emissions, such as China, were given a “grace period” in which they would not have to comply – and during which they would be allowed to build up their industrial economy as we were retarding ours. The United States would subsidize the so-called green energy efforts of nations deemed incapable of financially meeting the arbitrary standards on their own. That meant financial assistance to virtually all the 140-plus nations that obviously loved the deal. We would slow down the American economy to the benefit of all our world competitors. It was a bad deal for America.
At one time during his presidency, Obama – the former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago – correctly stated that the president did not have the constitutional authority to issue an Executive Order (EO) to extend the residency rights of the so-called “Dreamers.” That question was still pending in the courts when the Obama EO expired. Trump refused to extend it because the issue had to be resolved by Congress. (Not what an authoritarian generally does, by the way.) The Obama EO was wrong for the Dreamers because it falsely gave the impression of a permanent solution. It is Congress that needs to resolve the issue – and unfortunately, they seem incapable of doing their job as a co-equal branch of government.
And now we have the revocation of yet another of Obama’s use – or abuse –of power. The so-called UN Arms Trade Treaty was not yet a treaty – just a prospective treaty. Like Obama’s other executive actions, it was designed to implement policies from the White House that he could not persuade the Congress to pass — or, in some cases, even take up.
But what about the purpose and the substance of the Arms Trade Treaty?
As might be expected, Democrats and their left-wing ensemble have pointed to their threadbare response that everything that has to do with defending gun ownership, commerce and the Second Amendment is the nefarious work of the all-powerful National Rifle Association (NRA). In that regard, Trump might have been better served – better optics – had he not made his announcement at a conference of the NRA. But he did not ask me.
The primary question is whether the Treaty serves a good need. You would not know from the caterwauling on the left and the reports in the media that we already have a body of law that deals with illegal international arms trade. In this Treaty, the strident anti-gun folks – those who truly wish to end citizen ownership of all such weapons – are sneaking in a few provisions that should concern all freedom-loving Americans – those who value personal rights and national sovereignty.
The Treaty surrenders a number of Constitutional rights to international regulation. First and foremost is the right of privacy. Under the Treaty, if you were to purchase a German-made gun — of which there are many on the market – you would have to be registered IN GERMANY. That’s right. The German manufacturer would be notified of your purchase.
The Treaty also follows the globalist trend to surrender adjudication of some issues to international tribunals, agencies and authorities.
Finally, there is the issue of commerce. American manufacturers produce and sell a lot of guns here and abroad. It is perfectly legal commerce – and, in some cases, supports our international diplomatic goals. Anti-gun extremists see regulation as a means of effectively banning the commerce of guns.
It goes along with proposals to tax bullets at such a high rate that the average person would not be able to purchase ammunition. If they cannot take the guns away in the end, the gun opponents will end their utility.
Not only is America a nation that respects the right of citizens to own guns, we tend to believe that it is an inalienable human right—with some common sense restrictions, of course. Bans on gun ownership or extreme restrictions have been the practices of authoritarian regimes, such as China and Russia. A society without personal weapons is much easier to oppress.
Just because the adversarial international communities of anti-gun activists and organizations are enraged by Trump’s action does not mean removing America from this Treaty is a bad idea. Undoing an Obama policy is not the primary reason. It is to defend the rights and sovereignty of America – to protect American interests. That is the job of a President.
So, there ‘tis.
Editor’s note: Two things.
This bill was suppose to “protect innocents.” Did it occur to anyone that the innocents may be better served by having guns themselves?
Second, I believe it is ALWAYS good policy to undo an Obama policy…