When Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., asked Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearings about the Law of the Sea Treaty, she replied that President George W. Bush "certainly would like to see it passed as soon as possible." Assuming she was authorized to deliver that shocking news, the president can no longer claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan's conservative legacy.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was a terrible idea when then-President Reagan refused to sign it in 1982 and fired the State Department staff who helped negotiate it. It's an even worse idea today because of the additional dangers it poses.
The acronym for the Law of the Sea Treaty - LOST - is apt. LOST is the correct word for our sovereignty that would be lost under LOST.
Republicans who oppose this giant giveaway are looking at a stunning historical model. Reagan became the conservative standard bearer when he led the fight against the Panama Canal Treaty, which was supported by incumbent Presidents Ford and Carter.
The battle to prevent the Panama Canal giveaway was lost in 1977 by one vote in the U.S. Senate. But that battle made Reagan the undisputed leader of the conservative movement and multiplied its activists.
Hindsight teaches us that the battle was well worth fighting because it brought about the cataclysmic events of 1980: the election of a real pro-American conservative president plus the defeat of most of the internationalist senators who voted for the giveaway.
Conservatives are currently searching for a man of pro-American principles whom they can support for President in 2008. The Republican senator or governor who steps up to the plate can hit a home run if he leads the battle against LOST's enormous wealth transfer to the unpopular United Nations.
The LOST is grounded in such un-American and un-Republican concepts as global socialism and world government. There is not much of a constituency today for giving more power and wealth to the United Nations, whose officials just committed the biggest corruption in history (oil-for-food) and continually use the United Nations as a platform for anti-American diatribes.
LOST is so bad that it is a puzzlement how anyone who respects American sovereignty could support it with a straight face. LOST would give its own creation, the International Seabed Authority, the power to regulate 70 percent of the world's surface area, a territory greater than the Soviet Union ruled at its zenith.
LOST would give the authority power to levy international taxes, one of the essential indicia of sovereignty. This authority power is artfully concealed behind direct U.S. assessments and fees paid by corporations, but the proper word is taxes.
LOST would give the authority power to regulate ocean research and exploration.
The LOST would give the authority power to impose production quotas for deep-sea mining and oil production.
LOST would give the authority the power to create a multinational court system and to enforce its judgments. The authority's courts would have even wider jurisdiction than the International Criminal Court - to which, fortunately, we do not belong - or the World Trade Organization, which has ruled against the United States a dozen times and forced us to change our tax laws and import duties.
There is no guarantee that the United States would even be represented on the authority's tribunals. The whole concept of putting the United States in the noose of another one-nation-one-vote global organization, which reduces America to the same vote as Cuba, is offensive to Americans.
In the post-9/11 world, the idea of signing a treaty that mandates information-sharing with our enemies plus technology transfers is not only dangerous but ridiculous.
Of course, former President Bill Clinton is for the LOST; he signed it in 1994. The LOST meshes perfectly with his speech to the United Nations in September 1997, in which he boasted of wanting to put America into a "web" of treaties for "the emerging international system."
Of course, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Lugar is for LOST. Like Clinton, he is a Rhodes scholar and an internationalist who never saw a United Nations treaty he didn't like.
Vice President Cheney is an advocate of LOST. He doesn't have to listen to U.S. voters because he will never again run for office.
Lugar's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about LOST, held without any publicity and with only advocates invited to testify, was an insult to the American people. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., will forfeit his chance to be in the running for the Republican nomination for president if he schedules a vote before all Senate committees affected by the LOST hold hearings with both sides represented.
The real purpose of LOST is to force the United States to use our wealth and technology to mine the riches of the sea and turn them over to a gang of Third World dictators who are consumed with envy of America. Opportunity is knocking for a Republican senator or governor who will lead the charge against LOST.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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