April 18, 2013


Strange Bedfellows: While Urging Gun Laws at Home, Obama Joins NRA to Weaken U.N. Arms Trade Treaty IS OBAMA AN ALLY OF THE NRA INTERNATIONALLY WHILE FIGHTING THEM AT HOME? I GUESS THE ARMS TRADE/DEFENSE CONTRACTORS MAKE SO MUCH MONEY THAT THEY CAN'T BE STOPPED. JUST LIKE OIL AND MONSANTO. OUR ECONOMY WOULD REALLY FALL APART IF WE REGULATED ONE OF OUR BIGGEST EXPORTS: WEAPONS AND WAR. AMY GOODMAN: That was NRA chief Wayne LaPierre last July. But it was the U.S. government—interesting, strange bedfellows here, the NRA and the Obama administration—it was the Obama administration that, at the last minute, ended these talks last July. You had the head of Amnesty International saying, "This was [a] stunning cowardice [act] by the Obama administration, which at the last minute did an about-face and scuttled progress toward a global arms treaty," so that people, especially the activists, couldn’t even organize, because it happened at the very end. So, NRA and Obama together, when here at home they seem like they have their sights set on each other. ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Let me make an initial point, and that is that the NRA has peddled untruths about this international arms trade treaty since the beginning. It is suggested that it would in some way impact on their ability internally within the United States to bear arms, which is an absolute nonsense. So, not only are they strange bedfellows on the international stage, but even what is happening domestically should be put in its place by the Obama administration itself domestically. But it has used the NRA, effectively, and I think for domestic political reasons in the lead-up to an election, to prevent the passage of the treaty. And, yes, it was done in an enormously cynical way at the tail end of the negotiations that led activist groups and civil society in an impossible position. And even in the current negotiations, the United States has attempted to weaken the treaty in a whole range of ways, some of which, unfortunately, have come to fruition. And I think one has to bear in mind that there are massive interest groups here: the NRA plus the large defense contractors in the United States and around the world, who want to see as weak an arms trade treaty as possible, if there has to be one at all. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, of course, this is in the context of our nation being by far the largest merchant of weapons in the world, dwarfing any other country in the world in terms of exporting of weapons of destruction around the—around the globe. ANDREW FEINSTEIN: The United States sells and buys almost as much weaponry as the rest of the world combined. So what happens in the United States is absolutely crucial to the future of arms control in the entire world.