Wednesday, August 22, 2007


American sovereignty, lost at sea?

According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the United States may soon become a signatory to the Law of the Sea Treaty. What's the Law of the Sea Treaty? Well, it is:

"[A] little-known but highly contentious international treaty - set to come before the U.S. Senate next month for ratification - that governs every aspect of ocean law, from underwater mineral rights to access to shipping lanes.

"The 208-page Law of the Sea Convention, debated since the 1930s and sealed in 1982, has stirred passions for decades in Washington. Critics in the Senate have repeatedly blocked its ratification, saying the pact would undercut U.S. sovereignty."

What's changed to make the Wall Street Journal think that the U.S. Senate will finally approve the Law of the Sea Treaty? Well, this:

"[S]carce energy sources, the thawing Arctic ice cap, and the U.S. Navy's desire to for unfettered access to the world's seaways. These motivations have helped galvanize an odd coalition of environmentalists, oil interests and military brass to persuaded enough senators to back the treaty."

As far as I'm concerned, the United States needs to join another international body which is biased against it like it needs a hole in the head. Those who disagree would do well to read this article by Rod Martin, which was published in 2004 on a now-defunct Web site:

Sometimes words can mislead by lulling us to sleep when we should be awake. Utter the words, "Law of the Sea Treaty" (LOST), and watch people's eyes glaze over.

When it comes to this treaty, the road warriors of the Left hope yours do, too.

Don't let them. Keep reading. LOST, if ratified, would represent the single greatest loss of sovereignty in the history of America. It must be stopped.

For our purposes, the LOST story begins in 1980, when Republicans condemned this Carter-era treaty in their national platform. It continues in 1981, when the treaty was sprung on President Reagan. In 1982, he consigned it to the circular file -- and fired the State Department staffers who had negotiated it.

End of story? You'd think.

In 1994, Madeleine Albright, then Bill Clinton's UN ambassador, signed the treaty. But for the subsequent Republican landslide that November, the Democratic Senate would certainly have ratified it. Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms, however, put a stake through its vampire heart.

Or so it seemed. Like a zombie in Dawn of the Dead, a decade later, LOST has been found yet again.

This time, thanks to a rather creepy alliance of liberals like John Kerry and Joe Biden with squishy "moderate" Republicans led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, it's steamrolling toward ratification.

And that's very bad.


LOST would cede control of the oceans -- 3/4 of the Earth's surface -- to a powerful new UN entity, the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

This agency would wield unprecedented power to regulate the seas, impose worldwide production quotas on deep-sea mining, oil output, and other activities, levy and collect taxes, oversee exploration and research, and create a court to make rulings and enforce them. And LOST would empower ISA to collect the profits of private companies and transfer them to socialist, Third World regimes.

Let's stop and think about this, since Mr. Lugar will not. If production quotas are imposed, say goodbye to any hope of American self-sufficiency in strategic materials. And if profits can be collected and transferred, that means what the United States earns, Sudan, China, or Cuba will keep, assuming our companies (and jobs) survive at all.

But it gets even worse.

LOST would ban President Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which interdicts ships suspected, for instance, of ferrying terrorists or transporting North Korean nukes to the Middle East (or American ports). It would prohibit us from collecting intelligence in territorial waters (greatly expanded by the treaty). It would force us to share intelligence with our enemies and transfer key technologies, from our underwater mapping systems to our means for detecting enemy submarines.

In other words, this treaty would surrender our sovereignty, redistribute wealth and power from us to an unelected, unaccountable, runaway UN bureaucracy, transfer wealth from the world's democracies to its failed dictatorships, strengthen the militaries of our foes while straightjacketing our own, and threaten our national security at the worst possible time, when we're engaged in a global fight to the finish against terrorism and the tyrants who sponsor it.

This is an atrociously anti-American treaty; yet Senator Lugar and friends are hell-bent on convincing their colleagues to ratify it. And they're not playing by the rules. When LOST critics tried to testify against it last year, Lugar and Company prevented them even from speaking.

Now Lugar is trying to get LOST ratified before anyone can organize and warn the American people.

In 1980, the Republican Party Platform got it right, condemning this treaty by name.

In 1982, President Reagan got it right by tossing LOST into the trash.

In 1995, the new Republican Congress got it right by pronouncing LOST "dead on arrival."

It is now time for a new generation of Republicans to rise up for liberty, sovereignty, and national security and lead the charge against this monstrous UN power grab.

President Bush has saved us from two unfathomable sovereignty-shifting boondoggles already, withdrawing us from the ABM Treaty, and "unsigning" Bill Clinton's treaty to create the International Criminal Court.

But this is a surprise attack, from the so-called "moderates" inside the Republican camp. It's going to take all of us to fight them.

It's time to organize, to email, call and write letters, to senators and to the White House.

Time is desperately short. Before the UN taxes start, before the UN Navy sails, before U.S. sovereignty gets an unceremonious burial at sea, we must stop LOST now.

Copyright: Rod D. Martin, 12 March 2004.

-- Rod D. Martin, Founder and Chairman of Vanguard PAC, is an attorney and writer from Little Rock, Arkansas. A policy director for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Special Counsel to Founder Peter Thiel, he is the Center for Cultural Leadership's Senior Fellow in Public Policy and Political Affairs and a Vice President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.

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