Armed with an appropriate acronym, the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) could cause the United States to lose the following:
· National Security
· Private Property Rights
· Military Intelligence
· Competitive Markets
· Access to U.S. territory
· Natural Resources
· Argument against submitting to International Criminal Court
There are a multitude of reasons not to ratify this treaty, but it should be rejected by the Senate primarily because it gives an exorbitant amount of power to a corrupt and anti-American few at the United Nations (U.N.). President Bush’s desire to make the U.S. seem less unilateral and more compromising is not worth the consequences this treaty would impose on America’s military, businesses and taxpayers.
As if one United Nations were not harmful enough, this treaty would create another multinational body to govern all the seas of the planet. As if $1.26 billion American taxpayer dollars in mandatory dues paid to the U.N. were not sufficient for their lackluster service around the world, LOST would require the U.S. to fund the bureaucracy of this new treaty as well. Ed Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation, explains that we would be giving even more money to anti-American causes than we already are: “If the treaty went into effect, the result would resemble the United Nations: The U.S. would foot the bill for about 25 percent of the organizations set up under the treaty. But blocks of non-democratic nations could limit our actions easily.” It makes no sense to fund another arm of the U.N., which will only use its power to point fingers at the United States.
LOST would be particularly harmful during a time of war, where military intelligence is necessary to protect U.S. borders and prevent terrorist attacks. “Under the Treaty, intelligence and submarine maneuvers in territorial waters would be restricted and regulated,” explains the Heritage Foundation’s Carrie Donovan. Those sitting on the board of the International Seabed Authority would decide which countries gained access to which waters. This does not present a particularly attractive situation for the U.S., considering that countries like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan have signed the treaty and will gain a vote.
One of the goals of LOST is to promote industry in developing countries by forcing developed countries to give them access to previously unavailable technology. Doug Bandow of the CATO Institute points out the danger of the endeavor: “Of particular concern is the integrity of American technology, some of which might have military applications. The treaty still requires member governments to facilitate technology transfers … if they are ‘unable to obtain’ the necessary equipment commercially, whatever that ends up meaning.” America’s technological superiority in business and military innovation would be utterly compromised. This provision would strip businesses of their natural and constitutionally protected right to private property. There are enough security issues to deal with currently without voluntarily handing over military secrets to countries which seek to harm us.
By ratifying LOST, the U.S. would give up its sovereignty in exchange for begging hostile unelected international officials for permission to use its own resources. The treaty establishes a governing authority called the International Seabed Authority (the “Authority”) which has the power to tax countries for using their own property. The Authority will also determine whether or not countries will have access to natural resources. Peter Leitner of George Mason University explained the problem before a congressional committee in 2004: “The American people have little to gain and much to lose by acquiescing in and supporting the creation of a new super-government — the International Seabed Authority (ISA) — empowered to control access to the resources on and below the seabed, previously freely available to us under customary international law.” This “Authority” will have the power to regulate who uses the natural resources and how much they have to pay for them. It is shocking that any American would risk international taxation of our own oil when gas prices are already sky high.
Ratification of LOST would undo the protections that President Bush has secured by avoiding the International Criminal Court. Not only does LOST come complete with all the elements of a true U.N. treaty (a body of unelected officials, the power to tax without representation, the power to restrict, the endorsement of non-democratic nations, bureaucracy and plenty of anti-American attitude), it also establishes its own court: The Law of the Sea Tribunal. It would be incredibly ironic for the President to fight so passionately against submitting to an International Criminal Court and then encourage the Senate to sign a treaty that makes the U.S. a party to another U.N.-sanctioned court with a different name. In either case, one can assume the court would not favorably judge U.S. interests when it is dedicated to giving preference to developing countries.
The Senate must reject this dangerous treaty. Losing in the poll of international public opinion does not compare to losing America’s sovereignty, security and sacred human rights.