November 3, 2007


Sea treaty needs safe passage: The US Senate must not let a bogus complaint about sovereignty sink a global oceans treaty – again. (CS Monitor, November 2, 2007)

The Law of the Sea Convention protects its members' navigation rights to the oceans. It establishes limits for marine boundaries and rules for extracting resources and preserving the health of the seas. And it sets up a way to resolve disputes about these issues.

The United States was the lead negotiator on this treaty, starting during the Nixon administration. President Reagan had some problems relating to deep-sea mining, but they were fixed in a second negotiation. It's in force for more than 150 nations – for almost all NATO members, and for four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China, but not the US.

They're too dismissive of folks' legitimate concerns about sovereignty. The more honest argument is that, as with the global free trade regime, this is an area where some slight diminishment of sovereignty serves the national interest, so long as we reserve all our options should national security be implicated.

A Sinkable Treaty: Why America doesn't need the Law of the Sea (Opinion Journal, November 3, 2007)

The best arguments for the treaty come from the U.S. Navy, which likes how it creates a legal framework for navigational rights. The oil and gas industry approves of provisions that create an "exclusive economic zone" for the U.S. out to 200 miles. There's also the potential for development (with clear legal title) of resources in the deep seabed, which would be managed by the International Seabed Authority on which the U.S. would be guaranteed a seat. And, in fact, the 1994 amendment did get rid of some of LOST's most obnoxious provisions, such as mandatory technology transfers and other redistributionist nostrums. [...]

Consider the treaty's potential effects on military activities. The Administration says these are excluded from the treaty and, further, that the U.S. gets to decide what constitutes such activity.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2007 7:43 AM
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