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  • Issue Brief posted August 21, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The U.S. Must Uphold the Arms Trade Treaty’s Limits at the First Conference of States Parties

    The first Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will be held in Cancun, Mexico, on August 24–27, 2015. This CSP will establish the rules of procedure for this and all future CSPs, decide how to organize and fund the treaty secretariat, adopt procedures for the reporting mandated by the treaty, and perhaps begin the campaign to amend the treaty.…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller The UN Turns Its Economic Development Goals to Mush

    The United Nations is quite proud of its Millennium Development Goals - the criteria it uses to measure the success of economic development programs. In a 2013 report, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "modestly" stated that "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history." Of course, this is vastly…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • Issue Brief posted July 20, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The Failings and Structural Irrelevance of the U.N.’s Small-Arms Process

    In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation. On June 1–5, 2015, the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA was held in New York…

  • Backgrounder posted June 11, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Push for Fundamental Changes to the United Nations Scale of Assessments

    Every three years, the member states of the United Nations negotiate how to apportion the expenses of the U.N. regular budget and the peacekeeping budget. These negotiations center on the U.N. “scale of assessments,” which assigns a specific percentage of the budgets to each member state, broadly based on its capacity to pay as calculated from its gross national income…

  • First Principles Series Report posted June 2, 2015 by Justin D. Lyons Champion of Liberty: Winston Churchill and His Message to America

    2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston S. Churchill. Dwight D. Eisenhower, fortified by memories of long association and collaboration with Churchill through cataclysmic events, wrote a remembrance for National Geographic: “When Sir Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965, full of years and honors, the entire world quickened with emotions of grief…

  • Issue Brief posted May 28, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Declines in National Reporting Reveal Failure of U.N.’s Programme of Action on Small Arms

    In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation. On June 1–5, 2015, the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA will be held in New…

  • Issue Brief posted May 13, 2015 by Grace Melton At U.N., Radicals Regret Lack of “Progress” and Seek to Feminize Post-2015 Development Agenda

    Against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations over the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), delegates and activists from around the world met at the U.N. headquarters in New York last month for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which this year commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women that was held in…

  • Testimony posted May 6, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer Key Issues of U.S. Concern at the United Nations

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate May 6, 2015 Brett D. Schaefer Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs The Heritage Foundation My name is Brett Schaefer. I am the Jay…

  • Commentary posted April 20, 2015 by Steven Groves Will the Obama administration agree to ban 'killer robots'?

    They're known as "lethal autonomous weapons systems," or LAWS, although some people prefer the catchier term "killer robots." Either way, representatives from around the world recently gathered in Geneva to debate an important question: Should they be banned from the battlefield? What are LAWS? No one can seem to agree on a definition, but basically they are weapons…

  • Backgrounder posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Respond Cautiously to North Korean Engagement Offers

    In what is now something of an annual rite on the Korean Peninsula, 2015 dawned with perceived signals of North Korea’s supposed desire to resurrect diplomatic ties with the United States and South Korea. Although these signals were met with predictions of another inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s offer to refrain from nuclear tests in return for a freeze on allied…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Steven Groves U.N. Conference Debating a Ban on Autonomous Weapons: Understanding Key Issues

    This week, a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is being debated at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva. The U.S. delegation has been non-committal on such a ban, and U.S. policy currently permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue the development of LAWS in a responsible manner. At the conference, the United States should…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos North Korea Should Be Held Accountable for Persecuting Christians

    In February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) confirmed the world’s worst fears: North Korea is guilty of crimes against humanity.[1] In addition to the atrocities committed by the Kim regime, the report found that “there is no effective freedom of religious belief in the…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…