Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Trick or Treaty
Today the Senate is considering the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as LOST (Law of the Seas Treaty) and UNCLOS. The effect of LOST is to grant signatories the governance rights of the 200 nautical mile “economic zone” from a shoreline. For the United States, this would give exclusive claims to a large amount of oceanic “territory,” which could mean an enhanced ability to extract vital resources from the sea. This exclusive grant of rights is something few nations in history have attempted to attain. But, with most things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch. If the Senate ratifies LOST (as both the Clinton and now Bush administration have urged), the United Nations will be vested with the authority to regulate the whole of international waters; including sovereignty over any territorial waters claimed by a signatory state. See Article II § 3. By granting the U.N. this power, is America subjecting itself to a restriction of the basic principles of capitalism - the free-market? For an informative article about some of these issues, see WebMemo by Carrie Donovan of the Heritage Foundation.