For nearly 30 years, the United Nations has sought ratification of the onerous Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). Although numerous presidents have supported LOST – formally known as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea – fortunately, the Senate has never managed to ratify the treaty.
What is LOST and why should it concern the American voter?
We ask Cliff Kincaid, editor of the Accuracy in Media Report and president of America’s Survival, Inc.. Kincaid has led a national education campaign about LOST.
Chris Carter: How does LOST threaten American sovereignty?
Cliff Kincaid: This treaty is the biggest giveaway of American sovereignty and resources since the Panama Canal Treaty. It gives the United Nations bureaucracy control over the oceans of the world — seven-tenths of the world’s surface. It sets up an International Seabed Authority to decide who gets access to oil, gas and minerals in international waters. The companies that get those rights to harvest those resources have to pay a global tax to the International Seabed Authority.
Carter: You wrote that the passage of LOST "could be the final nail in the coffin of U.S. Naval superiority." How so?
KINCAID: It would cement in place a procedure to use the treaty, rather than Navy ships, to safeguard U.S. interests. That would cause a further decline in the number of Navy ships, on the ground that we don’t need them.
Carter: If LOST weakens our military, why do you think the Joint Chiefs support the treaty?
KINCAID: Several reasons. One, the influence of international lawyers in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) offices; and two, the dramatic decline in the number of Navy ships. We have gone from 594 under President Reagan to only 276 today. Susan Biniaz, Assistant Legal Adviser, Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, speaking July 17, 2007, at the American Enterprise Institute, said, “I think someone said how few ships there are compared to how many there used to be. We don’t have the capacity to be challenging every maritime claim throughout the world solely through the use of naval power. And [we] certainly can’t use the Navy to meet all the economic interests." This was her justification for ratifying the treaty.
Carter: While previous presidents have endorsed – or expressed support of – LOST, the treaty has never been ratified. What provisions kept the U.S. from ratifying LOST, and have those provisions since been addressed?
KINCAID: Bill Clinton claimed he had solved some of the problems with the treaty in a 1994 side agreement. But Reagan’s people have said that it was not fixed. Some of the supporters of the treaty say Reagan only objected to the provisions on deep-sea mining.
But the fact is that his chief negotiator to the Law of the Sea convention, a man named James L. Malone, gave testimony in 1995 saying that President Reagan rejected this treaty as a whole — that it was flawed in concept and in detail. Reagan’s diaries have now come out and one of those diary entries quotes the former president as saying he rejected this treaty not just because of the deep-sea mining provisions; his objections were far broader than that. Reagan rejected the whole concept of the treaty.
Carter: What kind of timeline are we looking at for a possible ratification of LOST, and what can the American people do to stop it?
KINCAID: I am not aware of any action on the treaty being planned at this time. What we should be focused on instead is the fact that China is building what could be the largest Navy in the world by 2020. Our response should be to deep-six the treaty and build more American Navy ships, striving for the 600-ship Navy envisioned by Reagan.
While LOST hasn’t yet begun its push for ratification of LOST, numerous government officials and reports have endorsed the treaty. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff have endorsed LOST. The National Security
Strategy and the Quadrennial Defense Review both call for its passage.
But do we want to subject ourselves to an international law that prohibits submarines from traveling underwater, prohibits aircraft operations, prohibits training with weapons, and even limits our ability to board ships – even when there is a possibility that the ship is carrying weapons of mass destruction? The Constitution states that once a treaty is ratified, it becomes the supreme law of the land. And the U.S. would be only one vote among 155 that historically have proven to vote against U.S. interests.
LOST grants us no rights that we do not already have. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
The United States armed forces are the sole reason that American liberty and security has endured for over 200 years. If our nation is to survive for another 200, we must continue to rely on "peace through strength" and not corrupt international lawyers and bureaucrats.
Chris Carter is the Director of The Victory Institute – take a moment to become familiar with his site.