The United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) now before the U.S. Senate for deliberation was met in 1982 with disapproval by President Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and later, Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense from 2001 to 2006.
It would create a new, international seabed authority that would nationalize about two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, and could be the largest power grab for redistribution of ocean wealth in history, taking much wealth from America without being accountable to the American people.
LOST is as harmful today as it was 30 years ago because hundreds of billions of dollars could be taken from the United States and redistributed as massive welfare all over the globe. On March 10, 1983, Reagan declared an exclusive ocean economic zone by presidential proclamation, and America is a founding member of the Arctic Council. In 1990, the council set our continental-shelf boundary with Russia in the Arctic. According to former Attorney General Edwin Meese, treaties cannot give any new sovereignty or rights to the United States we do not already have.
The U.S. Navy is perfectly able to protect the freedom of seas and American interests, and there is no reason to trust our security and economy to an international treaty with some U.N. members who wish us harm. According to proponents of LOST, which is supported by President Obama, all living secretaries of state, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and some military leaders, the treaty is needed to subordinate America’s sovereignty in order to help settle disputes in the South China Sea and in other places. Toward that end, the Obama administration apparently wants to allow encroachment in our waters by foreign powers, to burden and constrain the U.S. Navy and to subject the United States to international judgments by U.N. bureaucrats.
Reagan rightly believed LOST was a U.N. scheme to raid America’s treasury for billions of dollars and then redistribute that wealth to the rest of the world. The current administration has revived LOST based on its support for redistribution ideology. Pre-planned talking points have been presented in one-sided hearings to generate support for treaty ratification.
In my opinion, Reagan’s decision should stand and LOST should remain relegated to the trash bin of history.
LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE
U.S. Marine Corp. (retired)