Implications of the BAE Scandal: Senate to Examine Blair-Bush Defense Trade Treaty
June 25, 2007 (LPAC)--With little public attention, President Bush and outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed a treaty last Thursday, June 21, which was described that same day in the following question addressed to Lyndon LaRouche from a Democratic Senate office during a national LPAC webcast.
"Mr. LaRouche, currently there is a proposal to allow sales of arms to Great Britain, without the normal licensing agreements. This proposal has been raised by the White House, and President Bush seems to think that he has the power to allow this, without Congressional authorization. Some members of his own party are alarmed by the implications of this. For those listening to this broadcast who may not be familiar with the implications, such a proposal, if implemented, would essentially privatize and deregulate the global arms trade. The current breaking story surrounding BAE simply expresses one aspect of why I believe this proposal, if adopted, would represent nothing short of a threat to global peace and security. I'd like your view of this, and I'd like you to comment specifically on whether it is your understanding that the President of the United States has the power to do this by virtual diktat, and what you think we in the Senate should do about it."
Instead of proceeding by executive order as the questioner apparently anticipated, Bush that day signed a treaty with Blair to the same effect. But as a treaty, it requires approval by two thirds of the US Senate under our Constitution (and by Britain's Parliament).
It is clear merely from this question, that this treaty may not sail at all as smoothly through the US Senate as its signers had hoped. The treaty eliminates export licensing requirements for British defense firms seeking to buy military equipment from the U.S. Defense News reports that according to John Rood, assistant secretary of state for international security affairs and nonproliferation, British companies would not be able to sell U.S. technology to third countries under the treaty. Lyndon LaRouche characterized that as "a pretty worthless precaution."
An un-named Congressional aide told Defense News, last week, that the Senate already has a full agenda. "I don't know how all this will play out," he said. He indicated that while the treaty may appear to be straightforward, "when you get into the details that's where you find the surprises." One example the aide gave was that lifting export licensing requirements could lead to trans-Atlantic defense company mergers and acquisitions. He said that the Senate is likely to give the treaty close examination before approving it.
The Bush Administration has not yet submitted the treaty to the Senate for approval, but expects to do so before the end of the year.