One day after Indiana Republicans handed Lugar his walking papers, an outfit called the Atlantic Council held a forum to promote the discredited Law of the Sea Treaty. As former Republican U.S. Sens. Chuck Hagel and John Warner beamed their approval, Obama's Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared that "the time has come" for the Senate to ratify the treaty.
Hagel, Warner and Lugar share an internationalist mindset. All three senators supported "comprehensive immigration reform" (aka amnesty) bills that failed to pass Congress in 2006 and 2007. In support of LOST, they are joined by former Republican Sen. Trent Lott, now a high-priced lobbyist who no longer answers to his former Mississippi constituents.
Americans today are in no mood for subordinating U.S. sovereignty, plus seven-tenths of the world's surface area, to another entangling global bureaucracy, so advocates are using Orwellian talking points to pretend that LOST would do the opposite. Panetta's statement is over the top: "Not since we acquired the lands of the American West and Alaska have we had such an opportunity to expand U.S. sovereignty."
The coalition for ratification includes three groups whose interests are rarely on the same side: the U.S. Navy, the big multinational oil companies led by Shell, and the radical environmentalist lawyers. That peculiar alliance should make you suspicious.
The Navy says we need LOST to preserve our freedom of transit in dangerous waters, such as the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to block and the South China Sea, where China wants to be the dominant naval power. Panetta said, "How can we argue that other nations must abide by international rules when we haven't officially accepted those rules?"
In fact, freedom of navigation is recognized by centuries of international law, effectively policed by the British Navy for 400 years and by our U.S. Navy since 1775. The United Nations has no navy of its own, so American sailors will still be expected to protect the world's sea lanes and punish piracy.
Big oil supports LOST because of its provision to extend jurisdiction over the continental shelf beyond the current 200-mile limit. But LOST would require a royalty of 1 to 7 percent on the value of oil and minerals produced from those waters to be paid to the International Seabed Authority based in Kingston, Jamaica.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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