Thursday, May 14, 2009

The UN and the Law of the Sea

From the 18 May 2009 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

Earlier this month one-time presidential candidate and influential senator John Kerry announced to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the very committee that he chairs, that one of his goals for 2009 is getting the United States to sign on to the United Nation’s Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).

LOST was first introduced by the UN in 1982 and since then 157 nations have joined the pact. The treaty gives the UN oversight of the open seas which account for over 70 percent of the world’s surface. Under ratification, the affected nations are at the mercy of the UN when it comes to economic development, environmental issues and commercial, recreational and naval navigation on the oceans.

To those who live in fear of Somali pirates or melting polar ice caps there may be some comfort in that. But, LOST is more horrific than it sounds; it is a monster, one of nautical omnipotence. The treaty features some pretty powerful language and there is one little three-letter word (“all”) that makes the greatest impact. It is used throughout the document as the UN claims that it has the right to regulate all activities on all ocean space, which includes everything on, under, and above the water.

That means that were the US to sign on, we’d be giving-up our sovereignty, becoming subjects of the UN, which is not something in our best interests. No longer could our navy freely sail the oceans. It would first need authorization from an external higher power that is neither our Congress nor our Commander-In-Chief. The same would hold true for our private fleets: By ratifying the treaty we would allow ourselves to be regulated and taxed by a non-representative entity, as the UN would be able to dictate what US commercial activity is allowed on the seas, and at the same time, reap tax revenues from that activity.

Not only would our sovereignty be cast aside abroad, it would also take a serious hit right here on the home front. Under LOST, the United States would have to give up the rights to our territorial waters, a border so very important to our national defense and well-being. What we can and cannot do in that region would be dictated solely by the UN. On top of that, the treaty’s power over everything that affects the oceans would allow the UN to manage all the waters that flow into seas, be it the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi or the run-off from a coastal home or farm. Yes, we would give up our rights not just on the water, but on land as well!

Despite the significant flaws with LOST it’s foreseeable that Senator Kerry will make his agenda come to fruition this year because he has an alliance of like-minded, globalism-loving individuals on his side. In past attempts to force the United States into the agreement the lone hurdle has always been the small-government, anti-UN conservatives who were able to force a procedural impasse. But, now that the Democrats control the Senate it’s a different story. It would take only 67 votes to ratify the treaty and, if partisanship held true, Kerry would need to bring only 8 Republicans over to his side. Looking at all the various supporters of LOST that will be an easy task: Joining Kerry in his cause are President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, seven coastal governors and that bastion of Republican cronyism, the US Chamber of Commerce.

It’s disheartening to see such a list of influential people and organizations behind LOST, knowing full well that the treaty will eliminate plenty of our rights and a good amount of American power. It makes you wonder what they’re thinking. Why would they want our naval superiority to become a thing of the past? Why would they want our border waters to be under the control of a multinational organization? Why would they want to stifle commercial trade and fishing? Whose side are they on, that of the US or the UN?

With questions like that, it’s important that you call and write your US senator and even those senators who don’t count you as a constituent. Let them know that you won’t stand for the reckless giveaway of our rights, rights that millions of men and women have fought and died for. Remember, active public uproar worked with the border issue a couple years ago. So, there’s no reason why it couldn’t help prevent our involvement in LOST.

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