The treaty would subject our governmental, military and business operations to mandatory dispute resolution by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany. If you think activist judges in the United States are out of control, wait until you try your case before this U.N. tribunal, whose decisions cannot be appealed.
Because several U.S. Supreme Court justices are on record as using, and urging others to use, foreign law in deciding U.S. cases, the treaty would be an open invitation to activist judges in the U.S. to interpret the treaty's purposely vague provisions. Liberal U.S. judges might even develop the theory that the treaty is "evolving" (like liberal notions about the U.S. Constitution), so that liberal social and, especially, environmental biases could be written into U.S. laws.
All Law of the Sea Treaty agencies are U.N. organizations, and the U.N. secretary general plays an important role in administering the treaty. With the U.N.'s shocking track record of corruption, it makes no sense to give it a new infusion of power and money.
The Bush administration argues that the United States needs the treaty to protect U.S. interests in the world's oceans and to ensure that the U.S. Navy can go where it needs to go. The problem with that argument is that if the U.S. signs and ratifies the treaty, America will be bound to abide by its decisions.
Based on U.S. experience in other international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, decisions will usually be contrary to U.S. security and economic interests. The U.S. Navy can already go wherever it needs to go, and it should remain that way.
One of the silliest arguments is that the U.S. needs the treaty to guard against Russian claims to the North Pole and its oil riches. If the United States ratifies the treaty, America would have to accept the treaty tribunal's decision.
Even though the United States already has valid claims to the North Pole region under the Doctrine of Discovery, the chances of the treaty bureaucrats ruling for the United States against Russia are about 1 in 155.
The best protection for U.S. interests in the world's oceans is the U.S. Navy, which should not and must not be subject to orders or regulations made by paper pushers in the International Seabed Authority or rulings of the International Court of Justice. U.S. access to the high seas, as well as freedom of the seas for all countries, is best protected by a great U.S. Navy, not a U.N. bureaucracy financed by a global tax.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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