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Contentions

What Careless Diplomacy Looks Like

Sometimes, careless diplomacy looks like a mistranslated Russian phrase, or a set of incompatible DVDs. But those things, though damaging and indicative of superficiality and carelessness, are the stuff of day-to-day incompetence.  The real work of diplomacy centers on presenting the government’s policy, reporting home, and negotiating treaties.

Last week, during his visit to Mexico, administration officials confirmed that President Obama will push the U.S. Senate to ratify the “Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.”  The Clinton administration signed the treaty, better known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA, after the Organization of American States adopted it in 1997.  The Senate has not ratified it, but as the administration acknowledges, the U.S. has abided by the spirit of the Convention.

The Convention has several problems, about which I’ve already written at length on Heritage’s Foundry.  The biggest one is that it criminalizes speech: under its terms, it is illegal to “counsel” the illicit manufacturing of or trafficking in arms.

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