Another foreign policy battle in the presidential election
This week, the Obama administration will roll out its big guns in support of President Obama’s latest assault on American sovereignty and security interests: the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (better known as LOST). Of course, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, they will appear to be talking about another accord altogether – one that strengthens our sovereignty and is deemed by the U.S. military to be essential to our security.
So which is it?
The proponents are hoping that senators on and off the Foreign Relations Committee will do what they did during what passed for their chamber’s consideration of the New START Treaty in 2010: take the administration’s word for it, be impressed by the pro-treaty testimonials and lobbying of an array of former eminences and special interests, and largely dispense with the serious scrutiny and check-and-balance vetting the framers had in mind when they entrusted to the Senate the constitutional responsibility to advise and consent to treaties.
If, on the other hand, the members of the U.S. Senate trouble themselves to study, or at least read, the text of the Law of the Sea Treaty, they would immediately see it for what it really is: a diplomatic dinosaur, a throwback to a bygone era when U.N. negotiations were dominated by communists of the Soviet Union and their fellow travelers in the Third World.
These adversaries’ agenda was transparent and wholly inimical to American equities. They sought to establish control over 70 percent of the world’s surface, create an international governing institution that would serve as a model for bringing nation states like ours to heel and redistribute the planet’s wealth and technology from the developed world to themselves. LOST codifies such arrangements and would subject us to mandatory dispute resolution to enforce them via stacked-deck adjudication panels.
Fortunately, even if senators are disinclined to go to school on what the Law of the Sea Treaty entails – and why it cannot possibly serve even the parochial interests of the U.S. Navy or oil and gas industries whose willfully blind support will be much in evidence in the ratification campaign ahead – others are doing their homework. Such efforts are likely to make the timing of the Obama administration’s current quest, shall we say, most inopportune.