A treaty that gives the United Nations “authority over everything, over, on, in, and under the oceans and seas of the world” (in the words of The John Birch Society’s Larry Greenley) is inching ever closer to defeat in the U.S. Senate. According to The Hill, 30 Republican Senators have now signed a letter being circulated by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C., pictured, along with the logo of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention) stating that they will “oppose … ratification” of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). In addition, reports Examiner.com, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), has indicated that he plans to vote against the treaty, though he has not yet signed DeMint’s letter.
LOST, officially known as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), was drafted in 1982. Because of opposition from conservatives, beginning with the Reagan administration, it has never been ratified by the Senate. Thus, though 161 other countries and the European Union have joined LOST, the United States remains outside the convention to this day.
The Obama administration, however, has been pushing for LOST ratification in recent months. Top officials have been making appearances in favor of the treaty, including a high-profile hearing in May before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, whose chairman, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is a LOST proponent.
The administration hopes to get the Senate to accede to LOST this year. To do that, it needs 67 Senators to vote for the treaty. “Most political observers believe that all 53 Democrats in the Senate will vote to approve LOST,” says Examiner.com. That means it will be up to Republicans to put a stop to it, and that will require at least 34 of them to vote No. As of this writing, 31 GOP Senators are now on record as planning to do just that.
The latest Senators to sign DeMint’s letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Their letter expresses concern that LOST “reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.”
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