The Law of the Sea convention, a relic of the 1970s, could become the next fight of this year's Republican presidential campaign, with some of the candidates trying to push it to the front of the debate.Not all Republicans are on board, however:
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who is emerging as a top-tier challenger, has called it "one of the defining issues of our time" and used this weekend's Values Voter Summit in Washington to blast the treaty as a threat to U.S. freedom.
"Let's stop the Law of Sea Treaty," Mr. Huckabee said, drawing an ovation from religious conservatives as he listed it and judges who abide by international law as prominent dangers to U.S. sovereignty.
He has been joined by former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both of whom this week announced their own fears about the convention, underscoring a wariness among Republican voters about international organizations and anything that expands the reach of the United Nations.
"Governor Romney has concerns with the Law of the Sea Treaty," said Mr. Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden. "He believes giving unaccountable international institutions more power is a serious problem."
Mr. Thompson went even further, saying he opposes the convention because it "threatens U.S. sovereignty and gives a U.N.-affiliated organization far too much authority over U.S. interests in international waters."
[T]he treaty does have support of some of the most senior Republicans in the Senate, such as Sen. Richard G. Lugar, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Furthermore, President Bush is pushing for ratification of the treaty.
Mr. McCain has been one of the treaty's key backers, sending a letter in 1998 along with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and then-Sens. John Chafee and Frank Murkowski urging ratification. He was also set to testify on behalf of the treaty before a Senate committee in 2003, though he had to cancel because of scheduling.
The issue may be too hot to handle for others.
White House hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani's campaign didn't return repeated messages left Wednesday and yesterday seeking information on his position.
Additional information about the treaty HERE.