Senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott brought a different spin to the issue of territorial rights, though. In justifying his flip-flop on the treaty (he was vehemently against it before he before it), Lott said, “the world has changed from an economic and military standpoint. … Some people say ‘we have the biggest, baddest navy fleet in the world, we’ll go and do what we want to,’ [but] we ought to be careful about how we think about that.”
Just days prior to Memorial Day, lawmakers and lobbyists use the military – and the Navy in particular – to tout a treaty that would undermine American sovereignty because they apparently no longer have faith in its ability to carry out necessary missions.
While General Dempsey obviously rejects that vision, the treaty’s most prominent lobbyist does not; and make no mistake, Trent Lott is no ordinary Senator-turned-lobbyists. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Lott’s lobbying effort, saying, “Seeing Trent Lott in the room, I feel a hell of a lot better about the chances for ratification.”
The administration, senators and lobbyists should stop using the military to justify the treaty. Senators must understand the Navy’s support for the treaty is extremely narrow, focused on navigational rights, which are the least controversial provisions. A new legal regime created by LOST, which covers seabed mining, international lawsuits and more, is extremely dangerous.
Instead of transferring billions – and potentially trillions – of dollars to an unaccountable international bureaucracy, lawmakers should focus on ensuring America’s Navy has the necessary resources to protect our national interests.