Worth Reading If you think the Obama administration doesn't need help in dreaming up new schemes to reinterpret the Constitution and add new restrictions on our freedom, think again.
Arms-control bureaucrats at the United Nations and dozens of allied NGOs (that's non-governmental organizations in non-bureaucratic lingo) have been busy for two decades talking and negotiating among themselves to produce an international treaty regulating the sale of small arms. A U.N. resolution adopted in October calls upon member nations to negotiate the matter and finish writing a treaty by 2012. The United States voted for the resolution, which was adopted almost unanimously.
President Bush, for all his mistakes and miscalculations, never allowed his U.N. representatives to participate in such negotiations. But Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reversed course and agreed to join the negotiations.
Secretary of State Clinton announced in October that the U.S. would join the negotiations "if they are based on consensus," implying that the U.S. could exercise a veto if negotiations went off course. That implies that the U.S. would reject any treaty that violates our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. The problem is she can't make that promise or guarantee that outcome.
The truth is it is very dangerous for the U.S. to go down this road no matter how many assurances are given by Obama and his minions. Once committed to the "process of negotiations," it is hard to reject a product based on "international consensus."
There are good reasons why the U.S. ought to stay out of such negotiations, and many good reasons to be wary of any international treaty on the subject.
To put this whole matter in perspective, ask yourself how well existing arms-control agreements are working and how well international agencies are enforcing those agreements.
There is an existing conventional arms-control treaty among nations in Latin America. How well is that working? Does it prevent the Mexican drug cartels from buying advanced weapons on the black market in Asia and Europe? Hardly. Does it prevent Hugo Chavez from buying arms from Iran, North Korea and Russia and providing them to rebel groups in Colombia and Central America? No.
Has the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency stopped Iran from developing a nuclear-weapons program? Shouldn't we expect some semblance of success from such existing agreements before launching new ones?
What conventional arms treaties do is constrain the actions of law-abiding nations and law-abiding citizens while allowing outlaw nations and leftist guerrilla groups to build their arsenals.
If you think such international treaties apply only to sales and exchanges among nations and not to individuals, you have not been paying attention to the Obama administration's agenda and to what activist judges have been doing in American courts.
What is especially galling is to hear gun-control advocates use the Mexican drug cartel violence as an excuse to further restrict gun sales among private citizens inside the United States. This is exactly what the Obama Justice Department and its sister agencies have been doing lately.
The federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been claiming that 90 percent of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels come from the United States, and have added new manpower to north-to-south border inspections on the U.S.-Mexico border. Curtailing illegal arms smuggling is a good idea, but to claim that the U.S. is the main supplier of the Mexican cartels is deliberately misleading and dishonest.
That much-used 90 percent statistic is based on only the guns that are turned over to the U.S. for tracing. The truth is over 80 percent of the guns seized from the cartels and from crime scenes are not traceable to the U.S. The Mexican government will not admit that huge quantities of guns and vehicles and body armor used by the cartels come from â€“ are you ready? â€“ the Mexican government itself.
This example of outright distortion and dishonesty by the Obama administration is important because it reveals the hidden agenda. If the U.S. Department of Justice will conspire with the Mexican government against the interests of American gun owners, what can we expect when federal agencies can cite "standards" and "obligations" under an international treaty? The drug cartels are laughing, but American gun owners are not.
It is reasonable to assume that any international treaty on "small-arms trafficking" will be used by domestic gun-control advocates and liberal judges to further restrict the ownership, use and exchange of firearms by individual citizens.
This past month we saw a new demonstration of U.N. arrogance and hypocrisy at the Copenhagen conference on Climate Change. The Third World nations that now dominate the U.N. are eager to impose obligations of hundreds of billions of dollars on the U.S. and Europe to pay for their compliance with carbon-emissions targets.
But we need not speculate about future U.N. actions. We have the record of its malfeasance in following existing mandates. Does anyone want to trust the U.N.'s Human Rights Council to tell Americans how to shape civil-rights laws?
Public officials and political leaders in the U.S. have an obligation to oppose further erosion of American sovereignty in the face of U.N. designs and ambitions.
Tom Tancredo is a former five-term congressman from Colorado and 2008 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. He currently serves as chairman of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and co-chairman of TeamAmericaPac.