"Time was, Ronald Reagan's 600-ship Navy gave us freedom of the seas. But if Joe Biden and the Senate have their way, we'll need the permission of 21 judges in Hamburg. On Thursday, presidential wannabe Biden will chair hearings intended to lead to the ratification of the quarter-century-old Law of the Sea treaty (LOST), a document that would severely restrict our ability to use oceans to defend ourselves and would turn over control of 70% of the world's surface to a U.N. bureaucracy.
Supporters say we must be a signatory to guarantee our share of the resources to be found under the world's oceans and to avoid situations like the race to claim the sea bed under the Arctic between Russia, Canada and other states. But experience suggests a Law of the Sea tribunal won't protect interests we should be protecting ourselves. LOST would create an International Seabed Authority (ISA) with the power to regulate and tax things like seabed mining, fishing rights and deep-sea oil exploration. The ISA would decide who gets access to the sea's resources, and the companies granted these rights would pay a royalty to the ISA.
When he refused to sign ISA in 1982, President Reagan rightly decided the U.S. shouldn't be a part of this global resource grab and redistribution of wealth. It's in the area of national security that LOST is most dangerous. The [Bush] administration cites military support for the treaty because of its uniform limit on territorial waters and its establishment of `rules of the road' for littoral waters. But current international law already protects nonaggressive passage of military ships. When Reagan vetoed the treaty, the U.S. Navy had 594 warships. We could protect our own right of passage. Today the fleet has withered to 276 vessels. Is that why we need the treaty? The answer is to build more warships. Our access to the seas should be guaranteed by the Navy and not a U.N. bureaucracy."
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