Cut Adrift In Water World
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, November 02, 2007 4:30 PM PT
International Law: The Law of the Sea Treaty, the latest Bush administration surrender of U.S. sovereignty, has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a 17-4 vote. Prepare to be boarded by the United Nations.
Once Britain ruled the waves, then the U.S. Navy. Now will it be judges from landlocked states such as Chad and Bolivia?
It will be, if LOST, as it is commonly known, receives a two-thirds majority required for ratification of a treaty
on the Senate floor.
The administration supports the treaty that Ronald Reagan vetoed in 1982, arguing that it is not the same accord, but rather a version said to address Reagan's objections submitted by Bill Clinton in 1994.
We find that hardly an endorsement of a treaty also endorsed by the National Resources Defense Council, largely because of the environmental and economic restrictions it places on the U.S.
LOST would establish rules governing uses of the world's oceans, defined as waters more than 200 miles from land, placing them under the jurisdiction of a body called the International Seabed Authority.
The ISA would be empowered to selectively grant mineral, oil and fishing rights to countries and companies, collecting what amounts to a global tax for the privilege.
would also establish rules of the road for the world's oceans. But the U.S. Navy already obeys standard international conventions and does not need a U.N. body to tell it how it how or where it can conduct operations to protect the U.S. Nor does it need the permission of a panel of judges in Hamburg, Germany.
The administration says the treaty exempts military activities. But it does not define a military activity. Would an American carrier task force off Iran violate the treaty? Is the use of active sonar to detect quiet enemy submarines be a violation if the Hamburg judges rule it harms marine life?
The administration also claims the support of the military, which likes the 12-mile limit on national claims of sovereignty. Yet international law already protects nonaggressive passage, as well as nonmilitary activities of naval vessels.
Certainly Reagan didn't need
the U.N. in 1986, when Libya laid claim to the entire Gulf of Sidra. To demonstrate what the State Department termed "U.S. resolve to continue to operate in international waters and airspace." All that Reagan needed was the Sixth Fleet and a few F-14 Tomcats.
This isn't the first time the Bush administration has shown a preference for international law versus U.S. law and sovereignty.
Bush supported a decision by the International Court of Justice regarding Jose Medellin, a Mexican national on death row in Texas, ordering the U.S. to reopen the case on the grounds Medellin's rights had been violated under the 1963 Vienna Convention.
The treaty was co-authored by Elisabeth Mann Borgese, an admirer of Karl Marx, who ran the World Federation of Canada. She called the oceans the "common heritage of mankind" and in a January 1999 speech declared: "The
world ocean has been, and is, so to speak, our great laboratory for the making of a new world order."
LOST would codify John Kerry's "global test" of the validity of U.S. activities. Communist China, a LOST signatory, contends the treaty bans our Proliferation Security Initiative, which lets us stop and search ships suspected of transporting WMD on behalf of or for use by terrorists.
Borgese argued LOST prohibited the free movement of U.S. nuclear submarines through international waters because the treaty stipulated that the oceans "shall be reserved for peaceful purposes."
When John Kerry declared in 2004 that U.S. actions be subjected to a "global test," President Bush rightly responded that our national security was too important to be left to bodies such as the United Nations Security Council.
Bush was right then, but
not now. Our access to the seas should be guaranteed by the U.S. Navy and not a U.N. bureaucracy.