Cooperation (co-operation) is the process of groups working or acting together for their common or mutual benefit, as opposed to unilateral actions for purely selfish benefit. Whether it is a family, small community, nation, or globally, there is social, cultural, and existential benefits associated with working together, especially in the 21st Century where globalization makes cooperation among nations imperative. Republicans cannot fathom, or countenance global cooperation because as they clearly stated in their 2012 party platform; America is exceptional. The RNC devoted 8,000 words espousing America’s “unique place and role in human history,” and as such, has no interest is anything other than unilateralism and sovereignty over the world in dealing with global issues; even the proliferation of arms to evil dictators. It is why there are several global treaties languishing and will never be ratified by America no matter how beneficial they are to humanity.
One might wonder what kind of malcontent opposes a worldwide treaty that limits the transfer of conventional arms and battlefield components to evil dictators who promote and commit genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and attack civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals. In America, it is Republicans indebted to, and serving, the National Rifle Association. On Christmas Eve, an international treaty went into effect limiting the sale of conventional (non-nuclear or biological) weapons to warlords, rogue nations, and terrorist groups and Republicans oppose the treaty on the principle of American exceptionalism.
The purpose of “The Arms Trade Treaty” (ATT) is to limit the number of civilians slaughtered around the world by requiring countries that sell weapons of war to establish the same kind of export criteria that the United States and other semi-humanitarian and peace-loving nations have in place. The treaty garnered signatures from 130 countries, including the Obama Administration, and 60 nations ratified it easily exceeding the number necessary to put the conditions into effect. In fact, when the U.N. General Assembly put the treaty to a vote just last year, only the formerly-designated Axis of Evil, North Korea, Syria, and Iran openly opposed the treaty. However, even though the Administration signed the treaty based on America’s weapon sales criteria, Senate Republicans joined the Axis of Evil and blocked ratification. Apparently, Republicans oppose any gun restrictions; even those applying to terrorists and war criminals because the NRA has made no secret they are vehemently opposed to the global treaty and when the NRA speaks, Republicans duly obey.
By embracing the NRA, North Korea, Syria, and Iranian position that selling assault weapons, missiles, tanks, jet fighters, and artillery to rogue nations and terrorist groups, Republicans reveal they are aligned with the Axis of Evil. However, according to the NRA and Republicans, they claim to oppose the treaty because it gives the United Nations power over the U.S. Constitution and all legal authority to abolish the Second Amendment and seize Americans’ guns. Senate Republicans blocked any possible chance the treaty will ever be ratified because America is exceptional and not interested in humanitarian causes. The ATT is not the only treaty Republicans refuse to ratify out of loyalty to their various special interest donors.
For example, the United States has six tax treaties with over 60 countries to prevent and protect American individuals and companies from double-taxation, and to make corporate and wealthy Americans like Willard Romney’s tax evasion scams more difficult to pull off. Republicans have blocked approval of the six tax treaties that are costing the country billions in lost revenue each year because as they are wont to say; if the government has adequate revenue, it will spend it on infrastructure, domestic programs, and national interests. That, and they want the government bankrupt so their Koch brother, Grover Norquist masters can drown it in a bathtub.
Another treaty Republicans blocked is one that was drafted over thirty years ago, The Law of the Sea Treaty that is designed to bring order to the world’s oceans and reduce the chances of armed conflict in places like the South China Sea. The treaty was Ratified by 162 countries and avidly supported by the oil and gas industry, the Pentagon, environmentalists, and past presidents from both parties; Republicans opposed it because according to their mindset, “no international organization owns the seas;” they are solely America’s to police and administer.
Two years ago, 38 Senate Republicans blocked ratification of The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities that applied American legal standards for the disabled to other countries. The treaty has been ratified by 141 other countries and is supported by veterans’ groups, corporate interests, and any human being with an ounce of humanity. However, the treaty is opposed by home-school groups and religious fanatics in the right-to-life movement who are convinced it is a machination of Satan to allow the world to interfere with their children’s religious education and “increase access to abortion.”
One can gauge the true inhumanity of Republicans, and the religious right, by their opposition to what is touted as “one of the most popular and respected human rights treaties in world history. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was negotiated during the GOP man-god Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations with major American input. However, as of now, the United States is the only country among the 193 member-nations of the U.N. that will not ratify it. According to the usual suspects, the family values and religious right cult, the treaty is an attack on traditional biblical families and a menacing scheme to destroy the rights of American parents to raise their children. Obviously, Republicans agree with the evangelical fanatics that a global treaty on the rights of children is an all-out assault on America’s evangelical parents and to show how exceptional America is, they will ensure this exceptional nation is the only U.N. member nation exceptional enough not to ratify the treaty.
Republicans and conservative claim that any treaty is an assault on America’s world American sovereignty and not a key aspect of international cooperation. Any American with a brain understands that in any relationship, whether it is between two individuals or two hundred of the world’s countries, there must be limitations on what one party or country can do. The fact that America is part of the global community makes cooperation all the more important, but according to Republican, NRA, and the religious right ideology America’s exceptionalism qualifies it to rule the world unilaterally. Globalization and cooperation be damned.
What the Republicans are doing is allowing their American arrogance, and the paranoia of gun fanatics and religious zealots prevent this nation from cooperating, or even participating, with the rest of the world to address the myriad challenges facing all nations. Especially the challenges of global terrorism, peace, abuses aimed at children and the disabled, and the theft of riches by the wealthy elite. However, few Americans should be surprised Republicans oppose addressing those issues globally because they are the pillars of conservative ideology in governing America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.