US foreign policy is based on more than military and economic might. The non-military foreign policy of the United States relies on treaty making and
trade policy. It has recently lost credibility in the eyes of world opinion due to its serious violations of international treaties and resulting
trade disputes. To violate these good faith promises made to the international community is to render international diplomacy on all levels more
Despite the FTA
, the US and Canada are having trade disputes over softwood lumber, wheat and beef, to name a few. The softwood
lumber treaty violation is particularly egregious in light of the fact that the NAFTA Dispute Resolution Panel as well as the WTO
both ruled on
the matter. Yet the dispute continues with the US refusal to comply with the rulings.
The US and EU are having disputes over Genetically Modified Organisms, Steel and other commodities and the EU recently threatened to place over $2
billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on US goods.
Among the non-trade related treaties currently in violation are:
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(CTBT) that the U.S. signed in 1996 but has not ratified. The CTBT bans nuclear explosions, and its language
does not contain any "exceptions allowing laboratory thermonuclear explosions”.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(ICC). Former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, signed the Rome Treaty supporting the ICC when
he held office. However, in an unprecedented action, George W. Bush actually erased Clinton's signature (a United States president has never before
'unsigned' a treaty). Moreover, his Administration has declared it has no intention whatsoever of cooperating with the ICC. Furthermore, in what is
being called The Hague Invasion Act, or the Services Members' Protection Act, the G.O.P.-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to authorize
the use of military force to "rescue" any American brought before the ICC. Erica Terpstra, a parliamentary representative in the Netherlands where
The Hague and ICC is located, states that this "is not only a gesture against the Netherlands…but against the entire international community."
The Biological Weapons Convention
(BWC) (the US is the largest producer and stockpiler of these weapons). As recently as November 2002, the
Bush administration continued to quash negotiations on verification and enforcement measures needed to detect and prevent violations to the BWC. Then,
the U.S. announced its intention to build and operate bio-warfare agent facilities at its two premier classified nuclear weapons laboratories,
Lawrence Livermore in California and Los Alamos in New Mexico. The co-location of bio-warfare agent and nuclear weapons design capabilities is
proceeding without Environmental Impact Statements, public hearings or proliferation reviews.
The U.S. is also not complying with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT), crucial to global security because it bars the spread of
nuclear weapons. The current administration's Nuclear Posture Review and the subsequent National Security Strategy of the United States promulgate a
policy of "preemptive" or "preventive" first use of nuclear weapons. It is no coincidence that North Korea and Iran, targeted by new U.S. nuclear
policy initiatives, have apparently stepped up their nuclear programs. North Korea, following the US lead, has announced its withdrawal from the
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
(ABM) despite its crucial factor in US national security interests. Some conservatives have willingly
dismissed the ABM Treaty because it stands as the major obstacle towards development of a "Star Wars" missile defense system. Discarding treaty
constraints and putting weapons in space is nothing short of pursuing absolute military superiority.
The Kyoto Protocol
on global warming despite the overwhelming evidence that something is going on with climate change.
Others include the Chemical Weapons Commission
(CWC)(the US is the largest producer and stockpiler of these weapons), and the UN framework
Convention on Climate Change
and the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines
What do the Party Platforms contain on these issues?
If they are not addressed, what can be gleened from their ideologies or past actions?
Treaty Busting By the United States
EU-US Trade Disputes
" target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow">Canada-U.S. Lumber Trade Disputes
CBC News Backgrounder - Softwood Lumber
The Canada-US Wheat Trade Disputes