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US Congress Short Memory: (Oil For Food) “Why the U.N. Shouldn’t Own the Seas”

The Law of the Sea Treaty is as harmful today as it was when Reagan and Thatcher first opposed it in 1982.

June 13, 2012
By DONALD RUMSFELD

Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan asked me to meet with world leaders to represent the United States in opposition to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. Our efforts soon found a persuasive supporter in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Today, as the U.S. Senate again considers approving this flawed agreement, the Reagan-Thatcher reasons for opposition remain every bit as persuasive.

When I met with Mrs. Thatcher in 1982, her conclusion on the treaty was unforgettable: “What this treaty proposes is nothing less than the international nationalization of roughly two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.” Then, referring to her battles dismantling Britain’s state-owned mining and utility companies, she added, “And you know how I feel about nationalization. Tell Ronnie I’m with him.”

Reagan had entered office the year before with the treaty presented to him as a done deal requiring only his signature and Senate ratification. Then as now, most of the world’s nations had already approved it. The Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations had all gone along. American diplomats generally supported the treaty and were shocked when Reagan changed America’s policy. Puzzled by their reaction, the president was said to have responded, “But isn’t that what the election was all about?”

Yet, as the Gipper might have said, here we go again: An impressive coalition—including every living former secretary of State—has endorsed the Obama administration’s goal of ratifying the treaty. The U.S. Navy wants to “lock in” existing and widely accepted rules of high-seas navigation. Business groups say the treaty could help them by creating somewhat more certainty.

Can so many people, organizations and countries be mistaken? Yes. Various proponents have valid considerations, but none has made a compelling case that the treaty would, on balance, benefit America as a whole.

Though a 1994 agreement (signed by some but not all parties to the treaty) fixed some of its original flaws, the treaty remains a sweeping power grab that could prove to be the largest mechanism for the world-wide redistribution of wealth in human history.

The treaty proposes to create a new global governance institution that would regulate American citizens and businesses without being accountable politically to the American people. Some treaty proponents pay little attention to constitutional concerns about democratic legislative processes and principles of self-government, but I believe the American people take seriously such threats to the foundations of our nation.

The treaty creates a United Nations-style body called the “International Seabed Authority.” “The Authority,” as U.N. bureaucrats call it in Orwellian shorthand, would be involved in all commercial activity in international waters, such as mining and oil and gas production. Pursuant to the treaty’s Article 82, the U.S. would be required to transfer to this entity a significant share of all royalties generated by U.S. companies—royalties that would otherwise go to the U.S. Treasury.

Over time, hundreds of billions of dollars could flow through the Authority with little oversight. The U.S. would not control how those revenues are spent: The treaty empowers the Authority to redistribute these so-called international royalties to developing and landlocked nations with no role in exploring or extracting those resources.

This would constitute massive global welfare, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. It would be as if fishermen who exerted themselves to catch fish on the high seas were required, on the principle that those fish belonged to all people everywhere, to give a share of their take to countries that had nothing to do with their costly, dangerous and arduous efforts.

Worse still, these sizable “royalties” could go to corrupt dictatorships and state sponsors of terrorism. For example, as a treaty signatory and a member of the Authority’s executive council, the government of Sudan—which has harbored terrorists and conducted a mass extermination campaign against its own people—would have as much say as the U.S. on issues to be decided by the Authority.

Disagreements among treaty signatories are to be decided through mandatory dispute-resolution processes of uncertain integrity. Americans should be uncomfortable with unelected and unaccountable tribunals appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations serving as the final arbiter of such disagreements.

Even if one were to agree with the principle of global wealth redistribution from the U.S. to other nations, other U.N. bodies have proven notably unskilled at financial management. The U.N. Oil for Food program in Iraq, for instance, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in corruption and graft that directly benefited Saddam Hussein and his allies. The Law of the Sea Treaty is an opportunity for scandal on an even larger scale.

The most persuasive argument for the treaty is the U.S. Navy’s desire to shore up international navigation rights. It is true that the treaty might produce some benefits, clarifying some principles and perhaps making it easier to resolve certain disputes. But our Navy has done quite well without this treaty for the past 200 years, relying often on centuries-old, well-established customary international law to assert navigational rights. Ultimately, it is our naval power that protects international freedom of navigation. This treaty would not make a large enough additional contribution to counterbalance the problems it would create.

In his farewell address to the nation in 1988, Reagan advised the country: “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.” If the members of the U.S. Senate fulfill their responsibilities, read the Law of the Sea Treaty and consider it carefully, I believe they will come to the conclusion that its costs to our security and sovereignty would far exceed any benefits.

Mr. Rumsfeld was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 and from 2001 to 2006. He is author of “Known and Unknown: A Memoir” (Sentinel, 2011).

A version of this article appeared June 13, 2012, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Why the U.N. Shouldn’t Own the Seas.

LOST: Law of the Sea Hearings Point to Lame Duck Passage Strategy

Brian Darling
June 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

Today, the Senate has two hearings scheduled on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). The Senate will have had three hearings on the LOST after today—yet, not for the purposes of educating Senators on the flaws versus the benefits of the treaty. These hearings are a pretext for a lame duck strategy to railroad the treaty through the Senate after the November election.

The first hearing today is titled “Perspectives from the U.S. Military.” Witnesses include Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from other government stakeholders in navigation on the high seas. The question that these witnesses can’t sufficiently answer is, “What can’t you do today, because of the LOST, that you could do if the treaty were to be ratified?” The answer is nothing.

Heritage’s Kim Holmes, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, wrote for The Washington Times last year that the navigational provisions in the treaty are not necessary.

The treaty’s navigational provisions offer nothing new. Yes, the U.S. Navy says (LOST) might improve the “predictability” of these rights, but does the Navy’s access to international waters really depend upon a treaty to which we are not even a member? The last time I checked, the U.S. Navy could go anywhere it wanted in international waters. Though redundant, the navigational provisions of (LOST) are actually pretty good. That’s why President Ronald Reagan supported them. But Reagan and others objected to the unaccountable international bureaucracy created by the treaty.

The second hearing today will include former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Heritage Foundation expert Steve Groves, former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, and former Legal Advisor at State John B. Bellinger, III. This hearing will be an excellent opportunity for the opponents of LOST to make the case that this treaty is flawed.

The bottom line is that Senator John Kerry (D–MA) has been stacking hearings in favor of proponents of LOST. The first hearing this year included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As I wrote in an op-ed at Townhall, opponents of the treaty made a strong case against ratification.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) professed to be starting from a neutral position vis a vis ratification. Directing a query to Ms. Clinton, he said, “A lot of people believe that the administration…wants to use this treaty as a way to get America into a regime relating to carbon, since it has been unsuccessful doing so domestically. And I wonder if you might respond to that.” Ms. Clinton’s response? She said she has a legal analysis that knocks down that argument. But not all Americans are willing to rely on a politically driven legal memo from the Obama Administration as a guarantee that this treaty will not empower the International Sea Bed Authority to force regulations on American business. Those seeking certainty on this vital issue would rather take a pass on the treaty than take a chance on Ms. Clinton’s promises.

Senators Mike Lee (R–UT) and Jim Risch (R–ID) expressed dissatisfaction with the Administration’s alleging that opponents of the treaty were engaging in “misinformation” and “mythology.” Risch argued that “you addressed the people who oppose ratification of the treaty, and…I hope you weren’t scoffing at us.” Proponents have engaged in name calling to avoid the central issues to be considered before ratification.

These hearings are intended to show that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Kerry allowed conservatives to have their say before the lame duck strategy is implemented. The deck has been stacked, with two hearings in favor and one with a 50–50 split between proponents and opponents. Kerry used a similar strategy the last time the Senate considered the LOST.

Make no mistake; these hearings are part of the strategy of the treaty’s proponents to wait until after the election to push through LOST—in November or December of this year when the American people have no recourse against this offense against American sovereignty.

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Law of the Sea Treaty = The Rape of America … J. D. Longstreet

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May 23rd, 2012
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

The Obama Administration has dragged the Law of the Sea Treaty back before the US Senate this week.

The treaty, if approved by the Senate will amount to the rape of America.

Here’s what the Center for Security Policy has to say about the Law Of The Sea Treaty: “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 UN 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% 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.”
SOURCE:

Center for Security Policy

Still, many, if not MOST, Americans have never heard of it — the Law Of The Sea Treaty.

So why is it important?

OK, lets look at some reasons why the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) is important to you as an American and to all inhabitants of the earth:

Why We Lose if LOST Wins
By asserting UN authority over seven-tenths of the Earth’s surface, LOST would be the largest territorial conquest in history.

In principle, the treaty would assert UN jurisdiction over U.S. territorial waters, and eventually over waterways within our country.

It would create a huge bureaucratic entity called the “Enterprise” which would regulate and tax all commercial uses of the high seas.

By taxing all efforts to develop the wealth of the seabed, the UN would be given a huge revenue stream, independent of national governments, to push its agenda for international socialism.

The treaty would require the redistribution of cutting-edge technology from the U.S. to all governments in the “developing world,” including extremely repressive governments.

Get the picture??? It’s that cussed “One World Government thing again! (Otherwise known as “Global Governance) You know… the “GLOBALISTS” at work.

Apparatchiks from the Obama Administration will trudge over to the US Senate this week to sing the praises of LOST. They will applaud it and explain to the Senators that it is the best thing since the US Constitution for America, indeed, for the whole world.

It will be a pack of lies.

So, where do we stand today on LOST? Not good, I’m afraid.

The National Center for Public Policy Research has a website providing educational resources on the Law of the Sea Treaty (also known by the acronyms LOST and UNCLOS).

“The Law of the Sea Treaty is a terrible deal for the U.S. It would threaten our sovereignty, place a significant portion of the world’s resources under the control of a U.N.-style body, and complicate our efforts to apprehend terrorists on the high seas by subjecting our actions to review by an international court unlikely to render decisions favorable to the U.S.,” said National Center Vice President David Ridenour.

“The Law of the Sea Treaty would help radical environmentalists achieve what they haven’t been able to achieve through legislation,” Ridenour added. “Greenpeace has said ‘the benefits of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea are substantial, including its basic duties for states to protect and preserve the marine environment and to conserve marine living species.’ The Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the Navy’s use of ‘intense active sonar,’ arguing that it violates the treaty by posing a danger to marine life. The Navy ultimately agreed to scale back use of this technology. The Law of the Sea Treaty has also been used by Australia and New Zealand in an attempt to shut down an experimental blue fin tuna fishing program and by Ireland in an attempt to shut down a plant on land in England”

The website, the United National Law of the Sea Treaty Information Center, contains a collection of research papers, commentaries and blog entries about LOST from a variety of think-tanks, scholars, opinion writers and bloggers. It can be accessed at: Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST or UNCLOS III).

“Although the Law of the Sea Treaty has been around for decades — the National Center for Public Policy Research first worked on it in 1982 — relatively few people know much about it,” said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “The United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty Information Center website is designed to help correct this.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation based in Washington, D.C.

It is more important now then ever before to contact your senators and urge them to oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Look. This Law Of The Sea Treaty is serious socialist, global governance, trickery! And NOBODY IS Talking ABOUT IT! Of course, we cannot expect the so-called “Mainstream Media” in America to bring it up, being so deep in the bunker for Obama, that is. The near incestuous relationship between the MsM and Obama prevents them from actually informing their readers, listeners, and viewers, of important, pending, life-changing policy being considered in the nation’s legislature.

We urge you to educate yourself about the Law Of The Sea Treaty — and do so quickly.

In the meantime, however, we suggest that you get on the phone, or send an e-mail or fax to the offices of your US Senators and ask them to vote NO on the Law Of The Sea Treaty.

Every so often, we get a chance to use our constitutional rights for good. This is one of those times.

J. D. Longstreet

Law of the Sea Treaty: A Tool to Combat Iran, China, and Russia? or Redistribution of wealth

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Posted by Doug Bandow

Every few years, the Law of the Sea Treaty rears its head as a one-size-fits-all solution to a host of current maritime problems. This time, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, are urging the Senate to ratify the treaty. The officials claim it will act as a tool to deal with aggressive actions by Iran, China, and Russia. But as I have long argued, no matter the current rationale for the treaty, it represents a bad deal for the United States.

Panetta and Dempsey rolled out three hot issues to make their case:

  • Iran is threatening the world economy in the Strait of Hormuz? The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) will help solve this.
  • China is threatening the Philippines in the South China Sea? LOST is a crucial tool to prevent war.
  • Russia is claiming land in the Arctic region to extract natural resources? LOST will put the screws to Moscow.

These international controversies will be magically resolved if only the Senate ratifies the convention.

If this sounds too good to be true, it is. It is not clear the treaty would do much at all to alleviate these flashpoints. Especially since the two most important potential antagonists, China and Russia, already have ratified LOST. And it is certainly not the best option policy-wise for the United States with each issue: Iran’s bluster in the Strait of Hormuz may prove its weakness. U.S. policy in the South China Sea suffers from a far more serious flaw: encouraging free-riding by allied states. Russia’s move into the Arctic has nothing to do with Washington’s absence from LOST.

The treaty itself, not substantially altered since 1994, is still plagued by the same problems that have halted its ratification for decades. Primarily, it will cede decisionmaking on seabed and maritime issues to a large, complex, unwieldy bureaucracy that will be funded heavily by—wait for it—the Untied States.

On national security, the U.S. Navy does not need such a treaty to operate freely. Its power relative to all other navies is the ultimate guarantee. Serious maritime challengers do not exist today. Russia’s navy is a rusted relic; China has yet to develop capabilities that come close to matching ours. Moreover, it is doubtful that the United States needs to defend countries such as the Philippines when flashpoints over islands in the region affect no vital American interests.

The average American knows very little about this treaty, and rightly so. It is an unnecessarily complicated and entangling concoction that accomplishes little that the longstanding body of customary international law on the high-seas or the dynamics of markets do not account for. My conclusion in testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services in 2004 still holds true:

All in all, the LOST remains captive to its collectivist and redistributionist origins. It is a bad agreement, one that cannot be fixed without abandoning its philosophical presupposition that the seabed is the common heritage of the world’s politicians and their agents, the Authority and Enterprise. The issue is not just abstract philosophical principle, but very real American interests, including national security. For these reasons, the Senate should reject the treaty.

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