Incredibly, even as President Bush was preparing his call for an American foreign policy that would resist tyrants ? not rely on organizations they and their friends effectively control ? his Administration was being committed to the ratification ?as soon as possible? of a treaty that would give unprecedented power to just such an organization.
The treaty in question is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST). It was drafted over twenty years ago at the behest of Soviet bloc and ?non-aligned? nations to serve as the centerpiece of their so-called ?New International Economic Order,? a scheme to transfer wealth from the industrialized world to the developing one.
Ronald Reagan objected to LOST?s creation of a supranational agency to govern the world?s oceans at the expense of U.S. sovereignty and America?s capacity to utilize and assure freedom of the seas. When American concerns were ignored or simply voted down, he refused to sign the accord.
The treaty has not improved with age, despite claims by its supporters that Mr. Reagan?s objections have subsequently been addressed. For example, it still allows an international organization for the first time to collect revenues from American taxpayers as the price for permission to exploit the world?s seabeds.
LOST would also still infringe in significant ways on the movement and activities of U.S. military and intelligence operations at sea. It would still oblige the U.S. to transfer sensitive data and technology to potentially hostile nations. And some LOST member states, including Communist China, insist that the treaty prohibits President Bush?s Proliferation Security Initiative ? a vital ?coalition of the willing? effort to counter the sea-borne spread of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and their state-sponsors.
Yet, despite these and numerous other problems, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice last week responded to pressure from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (Republican of Indiana) by saying, ?the convention as it now stands serves our national security interests, serves our economic interests?and we very much want to see it go into force.?
As a result of that endorsement, Sen. Lugar is expected shortly to try to get his committee to recommend Senate ?advice and consent? to the Law of the Sea Treaty. LOST?s ratification would not only make the United States subject to a seriously defective accord and its hostile-majority-ruled institutions. It would also give unwarranted new legitimacy, precedents and power to the bloated, scandal-ridden and oppressor-dominated United Nations and international organizations it has spawned.
Senators who subscribe to President Bush?s vision of an America made more secure by ?the expansion of freedom in all the world? must prevent this expansion from being diminished, if not LOST, at sea.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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