"...achievement of these goals will contribute to the realization of a just and equitable international economic order which takes into account the interests and needs of mankind as a whole and, in particular, the special interests and needs of developing countries,"
".the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as its resources, are the common heritage of
mankind, the exploration and exploitation of which shall be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole,"
Oceans and seas cover 70% of the earth's surface. In the decades and centuries to come, the seabeds of this vast area - more than two-thirds of our planet - will become an immense source of oil, natural gas, and rare and essential minerals. If we do not ratify LOST, America will be free in the future - as in the past - to use our advanced technology, our enterprising spirit, and our national vigor to develop the seabeds of these waters as we choose. But if we ratify LOST, many aspects of our exploration, development, and production of these resources will be controlled by the bureaucracy established by this treaty. And we will be required to pay LOST many billions, possibly trillions, of dollars in fees, royalties, and profit-sharing.
This Senate vote will determine our nation's future: continued American sovereignty or subordination to global governance. The international authority created by LOST is virtually limitless, covering executive, legislative, and judicial functions. The treaty itself has 320 articles and six annexes. It creates: an International Seabed Authority with a Council, an Assembly, and a Secretariat; an Economic Planning Commission and a Legal and Technical Commission; the Enterprise, which governs those areas which - to us today - are international waters; and a Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and a Seabed Disputes Chamber as judicial bodies.
Proponents of LOST argue that the U.S. "must have a seat at the table" in order to shape future decisions about two-thirds of the world. If we ratify, there will be 163 members of the Assembly (the ultimate governing body). We will have one vote. The other 162 voters have three important
characteristics: they are not Americans, we did not elect them to decide our future, and many have acted inimically to us on countless occasions. We
have no veto power, and there is no appeal. If we ratify we must obey LOST's provisions or be tried in their courts for our purported failures and
violations. And since a ratified treaty becomes the law of the land, even our own courts could be used to enforce LOST's judgments. If we do not
ratify, this global government's rulings have no effect upon us; we can act as we choose. "A seat at the table" is not an opportunity; it's a guarantee
Proponents of LOST also argue that the above problems were resolved by the subsequent "1994 Agreement." Not so. None of the tough issues was
corrected. Additionally, since many LOST member states refuse to sign this Agreement, and since LOST article 309 does not allow reservations or
exceptions to the treaty, we should certainly not ratify while in this legal limbo.
Additionally, proponents of LOST tell you that ratification will help the U.S. counter Russian claims in the Arctic and Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Wrong. LOST provides no help.
In the 1950s the U.S. Navy played a major role in successfully negotiating international conventions on all issues of major concern, such as the territorial sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, and high seas. Nothing more is needed. Our Navy is well able to protect our national interests without ratification; and in fact ratification will almost certainly lead to future serious restrictions on naval activities and operations.
In summary, ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty is a national issue of the greatest importance. Responsible individuals can be found on either side: Those who favor ratification believe in progressive subordination of American sovereignty to World Government. Those who oppose ratification believe in the sovereignty and freedoms our Founding Fathers created and bequeathed to us and our children.
Monroe is a retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy.