One of the first things Ronald Reagan did when he entered the White House in 1981 was to reject the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which had been laboriously negotiated by our State Department and made ready for the President's signature. Reagan said, No way. He clearly saw that the Treaty was a bad deal for the United States. LOST would interfere with U.S. sovereignty and with our Navy's duty to keep the high seas open.
The Clinton Administration signed the treaty in 1994, but despite strenuous efforts by the George W. Bush Administration, the Senate has refused to ratify it. Now Barack Obama is trying again to breathe life into the Law of the Sea Treaty, and the Democratic Senate is showing signs of agreeing.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton has just warned us that the Law of the Sea Treaty is now even more dangerous than we thought earlier. Bolton writes, "With China emerging as a major power, ratifying the treaty now would encourage Sino-American strife, constrain U.S. naval activities, and do nothing to resolve China's expansive maritime territorial claims."
Because of ambiguities in LOST, it will give China the excuse to deny U.S. access to what China claims is its "Exclusive Economic Zone" extending 200 miles out into international waters. China's purpose is to control its neighbors and prevent the U.S. from gathering intelligence in the Pacific. So China is building a network of "anti-access" and "area denial" weapons, including air defenses, submarines, ballistic and cruise missiles, and cyber and anti-satellite systems designed to threaten U.S. ships and aircraft.
LOST is based on the un-American concept of global government. Americans certainly don't want to give more power and wealth to the United Nations to regulate seven-tenths of the world's surface area, to levy international taxes, to regulate ocean research and exploration, to impose production quotas for deep-sea mining and oil production, or to create a multinational court system.
John Bolton reminds us that all America wants is to continue doing what we have been doing since we became a maritime power: use our Navy to enhance international peace and security, deter conflict, reassure allies, and collect essential intelligence. LOST undercuts all these strategic goals. LOST is a formula for endless legal maneuvering and for requiring us to submit all disputes to LOST's international tribunal where the decision-making bureaucrats are allied against us.
The whole concept of putting the United States in the noose of another one-nation-one-vote global organization, which reduces the U.S. to having the same one vote as Cuba, is offensive to Americans. In the post-9/11 world, the idea of signing a treaty that mandates restricting intelligence gathering, information-sharing with our enemies, and technology transfers, is not only dangerous but ridiculous. Tell your U.S. Senators to stand with Ronald Reagan and vote No on the Law of the Sea Treaty.
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