While addressing the National Rifle Association's annual conference, Donald Trump made a big show of withdrawing the US from the Arms Trade Treaty. This in order to protect the rights of the NRA members and presumably other Americans who failed to attend. He got the headlines he wanted, The Washington Post article was titled " …...Trump drops out of a another global arms treaty" while Politico offered a more accurate but less attention grabbing "Trump says US 'will never ratify' Arms Trade Treaty.
That he engaged in such theater in front of the NRA is no surprise. Nothing like aiding and abetting the spread of weapons around the globe to keep the gun lobby happy. It is also indicative of Trump's worldview that the treaty was disadvantaging the US while other nations such as China and Russia were not planning to sign on and therefore dominating the world small arms trade. Small arms are those weapons that an adult can easily carry and use in a battle. Rifles, pistols, shotguns and grenade launchers are the big four of the small arm market. Rifles dominate for obvious reasons. The most popular rifle in the world for non western armies, terrorists and freedom fighters is the AK47. Sales of AK47s are likely higher than all other military rifles combined. The AK47 is even featured on Mozambique's flag.
Why are sales of the AK47 so much higher than those of US rifles? It isn't because of the possibility that the US will ratify the ATT. The AK47 is simply the best overall assault rifle in the world if you want to hand it to someone who can effectively use it with minimal training. Designed for the Soviet Army in the last days of WWII it was built to be used and abused by a soldier with minimal or even no training, who knew nothing about maintenance, cared little for keeping it clean and was prone to dropping it. The AK47 can be run over by vehicles, covered in mud and frozen in water. Pick it up, load it and fire. It will work. The metal parts are mostly stamped making them cheap and easy to manufacture. It fires a 7.62 round giving it a tremendous punch but making the oversized magazines pretty heavy to carry. It isn't terribly accurate but that doesn't matter on full auto at close range. AK47s are the mules of the assault rifle market. They aren't pretty but they are cheap, tough and will get the job done.
Mao Ze Dong said political power flowed from the barrel of a gun. I disagree with him but there is no doubt he was talking about an AK47.
US military rifles are exquisitely designed and well built. They are very accurate and will last a long time if properly maintained. Their optics are the best. They are the thoroughbreds of the assault rifle world. They are pretty, but their tolerance for abuse, mud, water and other contaminants is low and they are expensive. They also fire the deadly 5.56 round. Many military personnel think the 5.56 is inferior to the 7.62. That discussion is for another day. A hint: Russia's modern replacement for the AK47 is the AK74, which also fires the 5.56 round.
So Donald throws red meat to his base and gets the liberals' knickers in a twist while actually changing nothing of any consequence. At least this time he hasn't done any real harm, only further damaged the US' reputation for at least trying to do the right thing.