(Washington, D.C.): Arizona Senator John McCain has become the latest Presidential candidate publicly to express opposition to ratification of the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). During a call with bloggers, Senator McCain noted in response to a question about LOST: "…I do worry a lot about American sovereignty aspects of it, so I would probably vote against it in its present form."
Other Presidential candidates who have recently come out against ratification of LOST include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. Huckabee has expressed opposition to LOST in a series of statements, including during an October 19th appearance on the Glenn Beck show, when he stated that LOST was: "…the dumbest thing we’ve ever done. It’s like taking our sovereignty and handing it over to some international tribunal. What’s wrong with us?...the Law of the Sea Treaty essentially would say that the United States would give up certain controls of its territorial waters, it would give up its sovereign understanding of what it can do within its own seas both at the surface and within the depths, and that we would virtually hand ourselves over to an international body of justice."
Meanwhile, in a posting on his campaign website dated October 24th, former Senator Thompson stated:
I oppose the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty at this time. The Treaty threatens U.S. sovereignty and gives a U.N.-affiliated organization far too much authority over U.S. interests in international waters. The American people also deserve ironclad assurances that the problems with the treaty highlighted by President Reagan more than two decades ago have been fixed.
At a time when customary international law in this area has proven sufficient, I believe the efforts of treaty proponents would be better spent reforming the United Nations. Until such reforms are complete, I see little reason for the U.S. to move forward on the Law of the Sea Treaty.
McCain’s full statement was posted October 25 as follows:
I’d like to make some changes to it. I think that we need a Law of the Sea. I think it’s important, but I have not frankly looked too carefully at the latest situation as it is, but it would be nice if we had some of the provisions in it. But I do worry a lot about American sovereignty aspects of it, so I would probably vote against it in its present form.
I would like to see a treaty as far something to bring order, for example, in a place like the Arctic right now, where thanks to climate change, it’s going to be far more important than it was. You watch the Russians asserting their sovereignty over it, and I’d like to see some order out of that chaos. But I’m just too concerned about the aspect of United States sovereignty being handed over to some international organization. (Emphasis added)
The Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty commends these candidates for expressing their opposition to LOST, and calls on Presidential candidates from both parties to insist upon a critical evaluation of the Treaty by each of the Senate’s nine relevant committees prior to any vote on this accord by the full body.