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Time to Lose LOST By: Marshall Manson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 15, 2005

In Congress, bad ideas are like zombies: They are always rising from the dead and finding new ways to cause trouble.

The latest example is the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), formally known as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. LOST was first drafted at a UN conference in the 1970s. After deeming it hopelessly flawed and contrary to America’s interests, President Reagan refused to sign it, leaving the treaty in limbo for more than a decade.


Then, in 1994, President Clinton decided that whatever problems the LOST treaty had could be remedied with some tweaking in the form of a new “agreement.” Given Clinton’s penchant for bending the truth, it’s unsurprising that he made this “agreement” appear to be more of a solution than it was. In reality, the Clinton “agreement” doesn’t even purport to amend the treaty. Indeed, it doesn’t even fix the numerous flaws, still at the core of the LOST, which would undermine the United States.


Nevertheless, after hyping the new “agreement” and asserting that the treaty was fixed, Clinton signed it and sent it to the Senate for ratification. Fortunately, Senator Jesse Helms, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, understood the danger that LOST posed: He refused even to consider it.


Ten years later, with Senator Helms retired and Senator Richard Lugar the new Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, LOST has once again been resuscitated. In October 2003, Lugar held two days of hearings to consider LOST. Notably, he allowed not a single opponent of the treaty to testify. Then, in early 2004, Lugar pushed the treaty out of his committee without a recorded vote. He’s been pressing for the full Senate to ratify it ever since.


So, what’s wrong with LOST? There are too many flaws to list them all, but here’s a sampling:


  • The treaty gives the United Nations firm control over all of the non-territorial water in the world. That’s about 70 percent of the earth’s surface.
  • LOST creates a new international organization under the UN umbrella called the International Seabed Authority (ISA). This new organization has the power to behave like an international court, adjudicating dispute and penalizing transgressors. The United States, of course, will wind up being the primary target.
  • In addition, the Authority collects taxes from private companies that are drilling or mining the ocean for oil, natural gas or other resources. So, for the first time, a U.N.-body will have the power to tax U.S. companies directly.
  • LOST could force the U.S. government to turn over critical national security information, specifications, and intelligence to other countries. In addition, the ISA could force U.S. companies to turn over secret technologies to competitors in Third World nations.
  • The ISA also has the authority to set production quotas, regulate research and development, and more.
  • The treaty hampers efforts to fight the War on Terror and undermines America’s national security interests. For example, LOST would prohibit at-sea interdictions that are the cornerstone of the U.S.-led proliferation security initiative to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Under the treaty, the UN and the ISA would be empowered to review U.S. military activities and decide if they violated the treaty. Among the possible violations: a submarine passing submerged through another nation’s territorial waters. (Of course, that’s precisely what submarines are supposed to do.)
  • According to Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, some nations, mostly notably China, are using the treaty as legal cover for dramatically expanding their territorial claims over key strategic waterways.  


The bottom line is clear: LOST represents the greatest transfer of sovereignty to the UN that the U.S. has ever contemplated. At the same time, LOST could facilitate the largest ever forced transfer of wealth from America to the Third World while putting our national security interests at risk and potentially crippling the U.S. Navy.


Why would we want to hand any more power or authority to the same U.N. rogues and villains who brought us the Oil-for-Food scandal and sexual abuse in the Congo and elsewhere?


Yet today, like a zombie, LOST is back from the dead. The Senate could ratify it any day. That is, unless common sense Americans tell the Senate to reject it. If you want to make your voice heard in opposition to LOST, the Center for Individual Freedom is offering a way for you to send personalized faxes to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate. (Click here to take action.)


It's time to loose LOST once and for all.

Marshall Manson is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Center for Individual Freedom.

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