A nuclear program, after all, is expensive and involves many fixed assets. But pirates work in small teams aboard tiny boats on vast oceans. They can strike, quickly collect a ransom and disappear before U.N. bureaucrats even have time to book suitable accommodations at a beachfront hotel.
Had the United States been party to LOST, could our military’s hands in the Phillips’ rescue have been tied? According to The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens, the treaty “enjoins naval ships from simply firing on suspected pirates. Instead, they are required first to send over a boarding party to inquire of the pirates whether they are, in fact, pirates.”
The ambiguities in LOST could lead to international institutions second-guessing the U.S. In this case, the question is whether or when lethal force is appropriate when responding to acts of piracy.
The convention would also require the U.S. to change other military practices. For example, we’d be limited in our ability to collect intelligence at sea. So much for the moment-to-moment updates the SEAL team relied on.
We’d also lose our Navy’s freedom of movement. Article 20 of LOST would require American submarines, for example, to travel on the surface and show their flags while sailing within another country’s waters. So pirates could confidently evade our Navy by simply ducking into any country’s territorial waters.
There’s no downside to telling the treaty’s proponents to, well, get lost. Without it, American ships will still enjoy freedom of movement and our Navy has the freedom to act to protect them -- and any other vessels legally plying the seas.
The world needs an empowered American military, not a U.N. bureaucracy, to protect commerce at sea.