Ocean Treaty Good for U.S.
The author argues that the U.S. should ratify the Law of the Sea agreement, finding that " the mini-debate over the
last month about the Law of the Sea treaty reflects a generalized concern about multilateral organizations far more than specific concerns about this agreement."
The case for U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea treaty is straightforward:
The treaty protects our national security. By improving access and transit rights for our ships, aircraft and submarines, the Law of the Sea treaty facilitates timely movement of U.S. forces throughout the world. Adm. Clark and all living former chiefs of naval operations have endorsed the treaty. Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote last month the treaty "remains a top national security priority."
The treaty protects our commercial interests. Provisions on coastal state control of the continental shelf, for example, help provide the certainty crucial to capital-intensive deepwater projects. The American Petroleum Institute, the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the National Ocean Industries Association have all called for treaty approval.
The treaty protects the ocean environment. Provisions addressing marine pollution and fisheries help promote conservation of scarce marine resources. The World Wildlife Fund, National Environmental Trust and Oceans Conservancy, among others, support the agreement.
These factors have led the Bush administration not only to support the Law of the Sea treaty, but to identify it as one of only five treaties for which Senate approval is "urgent." Officials from the Navy, Coast Guard, Office of the Secretary of Defense, State Department and Commerce Department have all testified in support of ratification.