November 27, 2007

Sink L.O.S.T.

I'm in touch with my senators to register my disapproval of the Law of the Sea Treaty. This is admittedly a position I have come to hold after reading only a dozen or so articles and analyses on the subject, but it seems counterintuitive to me to support a treaty that would grant unprecedented new legal and economic powers to a U.N. organization that has proven not only to be reflexively anti-American in practice, but also arrogantly unaccountable, systemically corrupt, and resistant to the slightest reform.

Plus it would create a whole new U.N. bureaucratic apparatus in the process. The presumption is that the enforcement arm of this bureaucracy (if any) would necessarily be the only organization that can effectively police the high seas, and protect shipping lanes and international commerce for all. The organization that is doing it now...The U.S. Navy.

It's enough that this treaty would put the United Nations in effective control of all underseas natural resources, with the power to tax and regulate their mining, and command a percentage of profits to 'redistribute' as they see fit. But there are more reasons to project negative consequences for the U.S., not least the problem of signing treaties with countries who don't adhere to the treaties they sign.

Excerpting NR's "The Week", on L.O.S.T.

The Senate is set to consider the Law of the Sea Treaty, which has the Bush administration’s blessing. Senators should say no. The treaty’s codification of existing maritime law, while modestly useful, grants the U.S. no rights it does not already possess under earlier and customary law. Those who argue, as U.S. Navy lawyers do, that the treaty will help the Navy assert American rights over North Pole oil (supposing such oil exists in large quantities) must explain (a) why the supra-national agencies that will rule on treaty disputes can be counted on to support the U.S. position; (b) who will enforce a favorable ruling over Russian or other objections apart from — the U.S. Navy; and (c) exactly why, if other powers will be required to help the U.S. enforce a favorable decision under (b), the U.S. Navy will not be required to enforce other decisions of no concern to the U.S. The short answer is that the U.S. gains nothing important under the treaty. But we do submit to supra-national authority on a range of maritime rights; to the international regulation of U.S. corporations’ access to seabed mineral resources; and to the first independent international taxing authority. Life is full of tradeoffs...or not.

L.O.S.T. resources at CEI (including the video below)

Related:

Details of the treaty provisions at Heritage.org

The Cato Institute says sink it

Iain Murray

LOST would be a big step toward United Nations global governance. The treaty’s reach extends far beyond international issues and disagreements into nations’ internal policies on a wide array of issues. The treaty’s structure is designed to replace national decision making with UN decision making on these issues.

For the first time, the United Nations would have international taxing authority through LOST. Enough said.

A "RejectLOST" blog

Eagle Forum LOST links

Joseph Klein

If the case for U.S. Senate ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty is being persuasively made elsewhere, I'd appreciate a heads-up. The Cato article linked above does specify, rather tepidly, some of the perceived benefits to the U.S.


Why, given all this, was the Senate Foreign Relations Committee eager to sign on? The treaty is not without benefits. Provisions regarding the environment, resource management, and rights of transit generally are positive, though many reflect what is now customary international law, even in the absence of U.S. ratification. Lugar notes that "law and practice with respect to regulation of activities off our shores is already generally compatible with the Convention." This would seem to be an equally strong argument for not ratifying the treaty.

Most influential, though, may be support from the U.S. Navy, which is enamored of the treaty's guarantee of navigational freedom. Not that such freedom is threatened now: The Russian navy is rusting in port, China has yet to develop a blue water capability, and no country is impeding U.S. transit, commercial or military.

The Wikipedia site lists several 'pro' and 'anti' arguments.

Posted by dan at November 27, 2007 9:43 PM