". . . Why not allow rich countries to double the impact of their aid dollars by not only addressing human need, but also requiring developing nations to make changes from within, and promoting best practices in socioeconomic development? . . .
Speaking from the standpoint of the victims of humanitarian wars, Arias has a different prescription from Perriello's:
". . . We learned the hard way that a shipment of weapons into a developing country is like a virus in a crowded room. It cannot be contained; we do not know whom it will attack; and it can spread in ways we would never have imagined. As I watched what was happening to my region, I realized that the same story was being repeated, time and time again, in developing countries all over the world. It is happening today, in countries such as Libya and Syria, where conventional weapons are being channeled in the service of short-term goals, with no thought for the eventual consequences. As any Central American can tell you, the weapons sold to the Middle East today might end up in anyone's hands. We cannot foresee their consequences. The only certainty is that we cannot control the outcome.
"That is why I began an effort in 1997, along with other Nobel Peace Laureates, to establish a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty, which would prohibit the transfer of arms to States, groups or individuals, if sufficient reason exists to believe that those arms will be used to violate human rights or International Law. The destructive power of the 640 million small arms and light weapons that exist in the world, most in the hands of civilians, demands our attention. It is a threat to security that requires no great expenditure to combat. It requires only political will. That is why its path to reality has been such a difficult one. It is scheduled for a vote this July at the United Nations, but the struggle to ensure that that event results in a comprehensive and binding treaty that covers all conventional weapons, munitions and ammunition, faces opposition from the strong and consolidated interests of some of the world's leading arms exporters -- foremost among them, the United States."
Now there's an issue we could seize hold of and pressure our government on, if we were independent people speaking to our government as a whole. As fans of one team in a partisan competition, we're rather disabled. Both teams view weapons as jobs programs and campaign funds, not instruments of death. The fact that these weapons are used for nothing other than murder is left out of our conferences, so we forget to think that we might want to put an end to that.
We can participate in any events we like, but we must eternally emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.