Monday, September 26, 2011
WHY DOES THE USA REFUSE TO SIGN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS?
President John Kennedy signed a nuclear test ban treaty in 1963. Then how come the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 15 years awaiting Senate ratification, signed by 182 countries, is still awaiting American approval? According to President Obama, because the Republicans are blocking it. What? Maybe this has something with our allies of this insidious international agreement: China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.
More than a thirty years ago when I was the point staff person for the congressionally passed Hard Minerals Act, led by U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga, I got involved with the intrigue of the Glomar Explorer (left) searching for a Russian submarine in the Pacific, participated in a range of totally boring Law of the Sea Treaty (known as LOST) conferences and got wined and dined by a range of major U.S. corporations interested in seabed minerals, I learned an interesting lesson. It is okay to enact certain laws to position the U.S. with government support, but, my gosh, don't sign any international treaty which would only limit the ability of the private sector to make profits.
LOST, for example, compels American companies to share technology with other nations, just one of a host of negotiated positions that, according to corporate America, provides advantages to China and Russia. Patriotism, as best advocated by Republicans, have thus prevented ratification for all these decades.
Actually, there around 30 other international treaties awaiting our approval, including:
- an international effort for labor to organize (waiting for approval since 1949)
- Convention on Human Rights (1978)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1980)
- Convention to control the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosives (1998)
- Landmine Ban Treaty (agreed to by 150 countries, but not the USA, China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Russia--something to do with conservative policymakers and the fact that the military does not like taking orders for civil society in general)
Democratic senators tend to support these international agreements, but you need a two-thirds majority to pass any treaty, and there are always more than 33% Republicans in the U.S. Senate. The problem is as simple as that. If I sound cynical, it is because I deservedly am.
The Dow Jones Industrials zoomed up 272 to 11,043, with world markets mixed. Gold fell $35/toz to $1624, while the WTI Cushing Spot is at $81/barrel and Dated Brent Spot at $107/barrel.
Hurricane Hillary in the East Pacific is at 125 MPH, but will turn north over the next few days and cool off. In the West Pacific, though, Typhoon Nesat is just about up to 100 MPH and now slamming into the Philippines, north of Manila.
Nesat will weaken, then by midweek regain typhoon status, and strike Hainan Island, probably on Thursday.