United States President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty which was presented in 2013. The announcement, which was made in a speech to the National Rifle Association of America, comes as criticism of the National Rifle Association which stands to gain the most, tries to regroup amid infighting and a battering of its image by school shootings.
On one hand the U.S. withdrawal is probably not likely to immediately affect America’s relationship with New Zealand. Despite the Christchurch shooting, and the alleged attempts of the N.R.A. to interfere with New Zealand legislative processes, America understands even if it does not agree, that this is something that New Zealand domestic politics are not for it to be involved in. Any continued interference will no doubt be the work of N.R.A. hacks trying to carry out a perverted agenda we should have nothing to do with.
On the other hand it will however very probably affect how New Zealanders view American foreign policy. New Zealand strong supports the Arms Trade Treaty, which was introduced in an effort to contain the illicit arms trade that has killed millions of people in low intensity conflicts such as that which has been going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1994; Sudan and in particular Darfur since 2003; Nigeria for as long as oil has been a valuable commodity. All of these places and others are awash with small arms such as rocket propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, rifles and so forth.
America’s 2nd Amendment is hugely influential. No President of the United States dares to override it. So they tip toe around the end, with Mr Trump’s predecessor signing the A.T.T. in principle but not formally endorsing what it will stand for. No President dares to seriously sanction the N.R.A. or other like minded groups for their attempts at interference in other countries politics, as the N.R.A. tried to do a few years ago in Australia. Even laws that were commented on by commentators, but not seriously thought to be potential law making in progress are seized upon with fury by neo-conservative broadasters, who denounce them as immediately impending danger, when often they are still in draft phase.
What I really struggle with is the delusional idea that New Zealand is going to be sucked into a dictatorship and that the confiscation of guns is just the start. To suggest that the Police are coming for our freedoms is to completely not understand the New Zealand Police, who are for the most part doing a superb job reacting to the threats, informing us and dialling down the danger level when they think it is safe. It is this delusional crap spouted by supposed know alls (who I noted had a degree of intolerance for Muslims that has made this such a toxic debate, whilst also one that has only reinforced why I live in New Zealand.
But it really is the Congolese, the peoples whose lives in these countries and others with weak legal systems and guns sloshing backwards and forwards like water in an overflowing bath, that I feel the sorriest for. Those that have had their lives turned upside down by guns or been caught in the genocide of neighbouring Rwanda would be better off looking at nations that will help them build up their legal systems than maniacs who think bullets are a better form of justice. Maybe New Zealand can help there.