Research Analyst Samuel Hickey and former intern Jessica Budlong wrote an op-ed in Responsible Statecraft about how the little-known Arms Trade Treaty has influenced the U.S.-China diplomatic chess board.
Almost four years into its term, the Trump administration continues to abandon international security agreements at a dizzying clip. These actions are providing China with the perfect opportunity to fill the vacuum left by collapsing American leadership.
Two days prior to the June U.S.-Russia strategic dialogue, China’s top legislative body voted in favor of joining a treaty that President Trump had unsigned in flamboyant fashion more than a year ago. The little-known Arms Trade Treaty sought to set a minimum standard for arms exports and raise international arms trade practices closer to the U.S. standard, an obvious “win” for the United States. Unregulated arms transfers to high-conflict zones intensify and prolong conflict, and also make it more dangerous for international aid organizations to provide humanitarian assistance. The ATT simply seeks to establish international norms to stop such transfers and promote accountability in the global arms trade.
In an adept reading of the geopolitical room, China declared its intention to join the ATT from the same U.N. podium that the United States announced its withdrawal back in 2019. Read more