LOST: Law of the Sea Treaty: Although LOST Would Threaten American Sovereignty by Giving the UN Control of the Oceans, Ratification of the Treaty Is Still a Top Priority of the Obama Administration

Article excerpt


The United States Senate may vote very soon on one of the most far-reaching and dangerous treaties our government has ever considered for ratification: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST). The treaty, which has simmered on the back burners of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for decades, would give the United Nations control and jurisdiction over the world's oceans, nearly three-quarters of the surface of our planet.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contain 97 percent of the planet's water. The agency also notes, "one of every six jobs in the United States is marine-related and over one-third of the U.S. Gross National Product originates in coastal areas." Of course, the oceans are important not only for our commercial transportation, recreation, food production and energy production, but also for our national security; our navy's unhindered access to the ocean seas is crucial to our defense at home and the protection of our interests abroad.

The Law of the Sea Treaty would jeopardize all of this by subjecting America to the rules and jurisdiction of UN bodies and the incessant harassment of lawsuits by foreign nations and activist non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The LOST proponents snort in derision at these concerns, insisting that the treaty merely codifies customary international maritime law already in effect, and actually strengthens American sovereignty. "One of the most common criticisms of the treaty is that ratification will lead to the largest transfer of sovereignty and wealth in US history," says the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) in its "fact sheet" on LOST. "Instead," asserts the UNA-USA, "the treaty strengthens and extends U.S. sovereignty over vast amounts of ocean territory and resources."

However, when we look closely at what the authors of the Law of the Sea Treaty say in various international fora and publications, and when we examine the admissions and boasts of the UN's officials and legal experts, we find that they have baited a very big trap. Their public assurances notwithstanding, they have designed and birthed a monster that they intend will do far more than they openly concede when seeking state ratification. Here's what the UN's Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS) had to say at the official celebration of the "25th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea" on October 17, 2007:

   The United Nations Convention on
   the Law of the Sea ... is perhaps
   one of the most significant but less
   recognized 20th century accomplishments
   in the arena of international
   law.... Its scope is vast: it covers all
   ocean space, with all its uses, including
   navigation and overflight; all uses
   of all its resources, living and nonliving,
   on the high seas, on the ocean
   floor and beneath, on the continental
   shelf and in the territorial seas; the
   protection of the marine environment;
   and basic law and order.... The
   Convention is widely recognised by
   the international community as the
   legal framework within
   which all activities in the
   oceans and the seas must
   be carried out.

Please note that DOALOS, the UN agency in charge of administering LOST, claims the convention covers "all ocean space," including everything on, in, under, and above the oceans. Note also the heavy use of the adjective "all," as in "all uses," "all resources," "all activities." But wait; as we shall see, the claims go even far beyond this to include global regulations that will override domestic laws covering not only coastal waters and shorelines, but also human activities in rivers and inland waterways, and land-based activities that may be claimed--no matter how far-fetched--to be harming the marine environment. …