America: International Treaties

The USA seems to have specialised in NOT taking part in international agreements that most other nations think are a good idea.

Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming

The Land Mine Treaty

The Law of the Sea Conference,

The Small Arms Agreement

The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed by every member of the UN except the USA and... Somalia!!)

And Revoked various others:

The Biodiversity Treaty

The Geneva Conventions

The Forest Protection Treaty

The Nuclear Non-Prolifertation Treaty

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

The 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Righs

The Chemical Weapons Convention

The International Criminal Court.

America: Panama

The US invasion of Panama was seen by many as good move in that it helped remove the regime of General Noriega.

The FAS site supports the invasion but there are other sites that cover the human cost, eg “Physicians for Human Rights”.

Essentially, the US helped depose an unwanted dictator but succeeded in killing 300-1000 Pamanian civilians (they killed just 50 Panamanian military- the civilians were just collataral damage!)


America: Somalia

The US was involved in 1993 as part of a UN-sanctioned operation- (see fas).

The UN operation “UNOSOM I” was set up to feed the starving people of Somalia. Rival warlords were preventing the delivery of food to the needy and so the UN authorised Operation “Restore Hope” to permit the food to be delivered and distributed safely.

The Somalis (especially their warlords) didn’t take too well to the well-intentioned US intervention. Subsequent events lead to the killing of 7000 Somalis with 1000 Somalies being killed in just one search and rescue mission.

It is clear that the USA was in this case trying to be helpful, but their ever-present inability to understand that the rest of the world thinks differently means that the relatives of 7000 people have good reason to hate the USA.


America: Cotton Production

The United States subsidises its Cotton growers, forcing down the world price for Cotton and making it very difficult for many small, poor cotton farmers (eg in Mali) to make a living growing and selling cotton. US policies mean that their children don’t go to school, are poorly clothed, and miss meals.

There’s lots of material on the internet about this, such as:
A Guardian article which starts
“American taxpayers are wasting their money subsidising American cotton farmers to overproduce cotton to the point of world glut. The value of the subsidies - given in exchange for votes - exceeds the value of the crop; the resulting overproduction destroys the US environment with pesticides and herbicides and destroys the livelihoods of millions of people both in Africa and right across the cotton-growing belt of the developing world.”
An Organic Consumers Association article which starts
“If it weren't killing them, people in Burkina Faso might get a good laugh at America's unprofitable cotton-growing fetish. Burkinabe, after all, are known for their sense of humour. And what could be more absurd than the sight of the world's richest nation — a fiery preacher of free-trade and free-market values at that — spending $3 billion or $4 billion a year in taxpayer money to grow cotton worth less than that and selling its mounting surpluses at an ever greater loss?”

If you are an American reading this have you ever considered why people get upset with the US but not Canada? Have you considered it might be about the behaviour of your country and its corporations?