Once the scourge of goo-goo internationalism, the Bush administration is now desperate to appease the United Nations crowd, Europeans, and “transies,” as the transnational progressives, or NGO gaggle, is called. The president’s latest concession is pushing the Law of the Sea Treaty, appropriately known as LOST.
Needless to say, all of the wrong people are excited at the prospect of American ratification of LOST, after a more than three decade long struggle. Those who oppose the inevitable LOST victory will show themselves to be “part of an extreme out-of-touch minority,” said one happy treaty advocate.
The idea of a so-called “constitution of the oceans” has been around for more than a half century. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave LOST its current shape by conceding the so- called parallel system, under which Third World politicians would regulate private miners, forcing the latter to subsidize a separate UN mining operation (now known as the Enterprise).
Indeed, LOST became the leading element of the so-called New International Economic Order, by which rich rulers in poor nations attempted to exploit Western guilt to win generous resource transfers from poor people in rich nations. The West’s enemies deployed the standard foreign aid scam, but with creative new rhetoric. A treaty declared all seabed resources to be the “common heritage of mankind,” mulcted Western mining companies and their sponsoring nations through fees and royalties, and created a second United Nations to divvy up the spoils.
It was, in short, a truly grand rip-off, the very best. The challenge was finding Westerners truly foolish enough to sign on.
But that proved to be no problem at all.
The usual global goo-goos loved it. The LOST was a multilateralists’ dream: there would be authorities, enterprises, committees, commissions, tribunals, and rules galore.
Those who believed that the authoritarian, collectivist dictatorships that dotted the Third World were poor because rich democratic capitalists hadn’t forked over enough cash were ecstatic. Economic illiterates, like Henry Kissinger, cheerfully tossed the gaggle of Third World despots a bone in the midst of the Cold War.
Even so, LOST might not have gone anywhere had the so-called Group of 77, the developing nations’ political lobby, not appended its crackpot scheme to proposals to improve ocean resource exploitation, regularize petroleum exploration, improve environmental protection, and strengthen navigational freedom. Turn over the all of the globe’s unowned resources to us, and we’ll recognize some of your rules — many of which already have been accepted as customary international law. Such a deal.
WHEN RONALD REAGAN took office, LOST was nearly complete. The final session of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea was just a couple months away. The easy solution would have been to sign the treaty and move on to other issues.
But that was not Reagan’s way. Instead, he spent the next year fighting to “fix” the treaty — which essentially meant gutting Part XI, as the seabed provisions were known — but got nowhere. The Third World/goo-goo coalition had gotten what it wanted from President Jimmy Carter, so why should it yield ground? With enough transies screaming about how everyone else on earth was on board LOST advocates thought that Washington would cave.
But President Reagan said no. The usual gaggle of impoverished dictatorships signed on, but none of the major European countries ratified the treaty. Nor did the Soviet Union, despite profuse professions of love, affection, and admiration for the Third World. The treaty was a bad deal for anyone who hoped to explore the seabed, and Moscow certainly saw no reason to bind itself if the U.S. stayed out.
The LOST lobby issued a profusion of hysterical warnings of impending chaos and violence on the high seas, but nothing happened. Life went on as usual. No one other than the transies noticed the absence of a ratified LOST. However, internationalist goo-goos never rest and State Department employees act like moths around a light when they near a treaty. So President George H.W. Bush began negotiations to “fix” LOST, a process completed by the usual suspects in the Clinton administration. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proclaimed success in producing a new and improved variant of LOST, and the rush began: Washington signed as a cascade of ratifications brought the treaty into effect, leading to demands for formal American assent.
However, Jesse Helms, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and then Bill Frist, as Senate Majority Leader, kept the treaty off the Senate floor. So LOST remained in limbo. But now the political stars have come into alignment: Senate Democrats always have wanted it, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are committed to it, and, perhaps most important, the Republican administration backs it.
Explained George W. Bush: “Joining will serve the national security interests of the United States, including the maritime mobility of our armed forces worldwide. It will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain. Accession will promote U.S. interests in the environmental health of the oceans. And it will give the United States a seat at the table when the rights that are vital to our interests are debated and interpreted.” The president forgot to mention it, but LOST also is expected to banish world hunger, initiate world peace, and cure the common cold.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online