A treaty that gives the United Nations “authority over everything, over, on, in, and under the oceans and seas of the world” (in the words of The John Birch Society’s Larry Greenley) is inching ever closer to defeat in the U.S. Senate. According to The Hill, 30 Republican Senators have now signed a letter being circulated by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C., pictured, along with the logo of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention) stating that they will “oppose … ratification” of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). In addition, reports Examiner.com, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), has indicated that he plans to vote against the treaty, though he has not yet signed DeMint’s letter.
LOST, officially known as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), was drafted in 1982. Because of opposition from conservatives, beginning with the Reagan administration, it has never been ratified by the Senate. Thus, though 161 other countries and the European Union have joined LOST, the United States remains outside the convention to this day.
The Obama administration, however, has been pushing for LOST ratification in recent months. Top officials have been making appearances in favor of the treaty, including a high-profile hearing in May before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, whose chairman, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is a LOST proponent.
The administration hopes to get the Senate to accede to LOST this year. To do that, it needs 67 Senators to vote for the treaty. “Most political observers believe that all 53 Democrats in the Senate will vote to approve LOST,” says Examiner.com. That means it will be up to Republicans to put a stop to it, and that will require at least 34 of them to vote No. As of this writing, 31 GOP Senators are now on record as planning to do just that.
The latest Senators to sign DeMint’s letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Their letter expresses concern that LOST “reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.”
By its current terms, the Law of the Sea Convention encompasses economic and technology interests in the deep sea, redistribution of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations, freedom of navigation in the deep sea and exclusive economic zones which may impact maritime security, and environmental regulation over virtually all sources of pollution.
To effect the treaty’s broad regime of governance, we are particularly concerned that United States sovereignty could be subjugated in many areas to a supranational government that is chartered by the United Nations under the 1982 Convention. Further, we are troubled that compulsory dispute resolution could pertain to public and private activities including law enforcement, maritime security, business operations, and nonmilitary activities performed aboard military vessels.
The Senators’ concerns are well-founded. As The New American has reported, LOST would put the oceans under the control of the UN-created International Seabed Authority (ISA). The ISA’s decision-making body, the Assembly, consists of one representative for each LOST party. Therefore, were the United States to join the convention, it would have just one vote out of 163 while contributing one dollar out of every four dollars to the ISA’s operating budget. (Contra LOST proponents, the United States would not have a “permanent veto” over the Assembly’s actions.)
LOST is indeed a socialist redistribution scheme based on the notion that “the seabed and ocean floor … are the common heritage of mankind, the exploration and exploitation of which shall be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole,” as the treaty’s preamble states. It permits the ISA to impose a global tax on undersea mining and oil and gas exploration and then to distribute those revenues to “developing” countries to spend as they please.
The treaty does have implications for freedom of navigation and national security. The mandatory dispute resolution process, which can be invoked by any member state with a grudge against another over something sea-related, could be used to thwart U.S. military or civilian operations. It could even be used to obtain sensitive technologies since the treaty states that parties to a dispute must provide a resolution tribunal with “all relevant documents, facilities and information.” “This,” observed the Heritage Foundation, “amounts to a blanket invitation for unscrupulous foreign competitors to bring the U.S. and American companies before a tribunal for the sole purpose of obtaining sensitive data and technologies that would otherwise be unavailable to them.”
LOST is also a means by which the UN can take charge of the environmental laws of every country. The pact requires member states to “take … all measures consistent with this Convention that are necessary to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from any source”—land, sea, or air. Radical environmentalists have taken note of this sweeping power and have vowed that if the United States ratifies LOST they will use it to force America to comply with international environmental agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol regardless of whether the U.S. has acceded to those treaties. That LOST could be employed in such a fashion is evidenced by the fact that “nations have already attempted to use the Law of the Sea Treaty’s environmental provisions to affect the environmental policies of others,” albeit with only limited success thus far, according to David Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research.
Therefore, Republican opposition to LOST is essential to preserve U.S. sovereignty and prevent Americans from being subjected to yet another globalist wealth grab. Assuming all Democrats vote for the treaty, at least three more Republicans must vote against it.
One Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, is clearly a lost cause. He has long advocated LOST accession, and rumor has it that Kerry delayed his committee hearing on LOST until after the Hoosier State GOP primary to help Lugar survive a challenge by Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock. This ploy failed, but Lugar can now vote for the treaty without fear of voter reprisals.
Kerry says he will put off bringing LOST to the Senate floor for a vote until after the election, leading some to believe Democrats will try to ram it through during the lame-duck session at the end of the year, a time when losing politicians can vote the way they really want and winners can do likewise with the expectation that voters won’t be paying attention or will forget by the next election. This makes getting firm, on-the-record commitments from Republicans of the utmost importance. Here’s hoping several more GOP Senators, regardless of what Democrats and the mainstream media tell them, refuse to get LOST.