The fact that the Senate hasn’t ratified it, and likely never will, should comfort no one. The State Department will argue that we’re bound not to violate the “object and purpose” of any agreement we’ve signed -- and now that includes the ATT. The administration can argue that Senate action isn’t required to implement the treaty in the United States.
That’s a disturbing prospect for a treaty that Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman has described as “ambiguous,” and rightfully so. The ATT doesn’t define its terms. Writes Bromund: “The treaty is a conveyor belt that will pull along its signatories -- including, potentially, the U.S. -- as the meanings of its terms are defined.”
Moreover, the ATT may compromise the ability of the U.S. to arm the opponents of tyrannical regimes worldwide. When the violence in Syria broke out, for example, some (including President Obama) called for arming certain groups among the Syrian rebels. But ATT supporters were quick to argue that such activity is “arguably unlawful” under the treaty.
As Inhofe and Moran write: “Our constitutional rights are too important to be entrusted to a dangerous treaty drafted by nations hostile to the ownership of firearms by private citizens.” Let’s hope the next administration “unsigns” this pernicious pact.