Frank Gaffney

Proponents of the United Nation’s Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) came up with a brilliant idea. Led by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, they hoped to celebrate the 24th of October – also known as UN Day – by having that panel rubber-stamp LOST.

Fortunately, one of the Senate’s most knowledgeable and determined opponents of the Treaty, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, exercised his right to defer its consideration, from the committee business meeting scheduled for Wednesday to at least the next one. Whether this will amount to more than a fleeting stay-of-execution depends on how many other Senators – and their constituents – become aware of the implications of making the day in this manner of the United Nations and affiliated organizations.

Sen. Vitter is certainly doing his part. He has asked for additional hearings before the Foreign Relations Committee, offering an opportunity for more witnesses to explain LOST’s myriad shortcomings. He has also provided a powerful briefing to many of his colleagues, prompting others to take up the cause.

Another leading critic of the Treaty, Sen. Jim Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, has asked for hearings before two committees on which he serves. Both the Armed Services and Environment and Public Works Committees would have their respective jurisdictions dramatically affected by LOST and the implementing legislation sure to follow from its ratification.

The same should certainly be occurring in at least six other committees. For example, the Finance Committee surely has an interest in the repercussions of LOST- established precedents for international taxation. The Judiciary Committee should consider how this accord will further the practice of subordinating domestic law to international jurisprudence.

The Intelligence Committee – whose Democratic chairman Jay Rockefeller generally treats with extreme skepticism what Bush Administration officials tell him – should obtain a “second opinion” on the latters’ assurances that U.S. intelligence will not be impaired by LOST.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs would have a two-fer, due 1) to the fact that LOST may require, among other things, the compromise of sensitive information about domestic industries in the name of environmental regulation, and 2) the growing allegations of corruption and incompetence in LOST’s utterly unaccountable International Seabed Authority.

Frank Gaffney

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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