Monday, March 14, 2005

Tough questions

Tough question. What is the one other country besides Somalia that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child? OK, that was too easy. How about the Kyoto Protocol, which has been ratified by 141 nations and every industrialized country except Australia and one other one. Well, how about this. What country has nullified her signature on the International Criminal Court? Or has announced it won't fulfill a prior commitment to ratify the landmine ban treaty by 2006? Still don't know? Ask Eduardo Bianco. He knows (LA Times):
When he helped pioneer an antismoking movement a decade ago, Eduardo Bianco looked to the United States for novel ways to keep young people in Uruguay from taking up cigarettes.

Today, the 49-year-old cardiologist no longer considers America a leader in the fight against smoking. That's because it is not among the 57 nations that ratified the first global tobacco control treaty, which took effect in recent weeks and imposes tough restrictions on tobacco advertising and packaging.

The Bush administration signed the treaty in May, but the president hasn't sent it to the Senate for ratification, saying it needs further study. Uruguay did ratify the treaty — and Bianco was among those who persuaded his government to do so.


Under the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco, countries are obligated to restrict tobacco advertising and sponsorship, increase the size of warning labels and limit the use of terms such as "light" and "low tar" that may convey a more healthful image.
How about the Law of the Sea Convention?
Bush's hesitancy to spend political capital on treaties may be a reason for delays in ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention, which was originally championed by the United States in the 1970s and has been in force since 1994. More than 100 nations have ratified the wide-ranging agreement governing such things as ocean navigation, fishing rights and seabed mining.

The treaty has garnered the support of Bush, the Navy and leaders in both parties. But conservatives argue the treaty would threaten U.S. sovereignty and endanger national security, forcing American fishing fleets and Navy ships to abide by the rules of a global body that could be hostile to U.S. interests.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., president of the conservative Center for Security Policy in Washington, said he was confident the president wouldn't push for the treaty now because it would antagonize the "core constituency" he needed if he was to win congressional approval of changes in Social Security and the tax code.
Second term. Afraid things will get worse? Here's the answer in two words: John Bolton.
Those fears were heightened last week when the Bush administration appointed John R. Bolton, an outspoken critic of multilateral institutions, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton pushed for U.S. withdrawal from the missile pact and opposed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court. The U.S. said Thursday that it was withdrawing from an accord that allowed the International Court of Justice to rule on U.S. treatment of foreigners in its jails.
Hmmm. Now why would they be concerned about someone else ruling on U.S. treatment of foreigners in its jails? That's another tough one.