A treaty proposal that was buried several times has been resurrected in the U.S. Senate, where alarmed critics are warning its ratification, quite simply, would mean the transfer of the authority and wealth that has made the United States the world’s leader to Third World countries.
Or even to non-countries, as Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, contend in a commentary published by Fox News.
The senators point out that the Law of the Sea Treaty — which was flatly rejected by the Senate as long ago as Ronald Reagan’s presidency and then failed under Presidents Bush and Clinton — would extract global tax payments from the United States and transfer the revenue and the U.S. technology that generated it to Third World nations.
“Under the treaty, the transfer of these funds does not end with nation states,” they write. “These royalty revenues would even be extended to ‘peoples who have not attained full independence or other self-governing status.’ That means groups like the Palestinian Authority and potentially other groups with terrorist ties.
“U.S. companies would be forced to give away the very types of innovation that historically have made our nation a world leader while fueling our economic engine,” they write. “Under the best of U.S. economic circumstances, the Senate should say no to such an egregious breach of the trust Americans have placed in us. Our current economic struggles are all the more reason to say no to a treaty that is all cost and no benefit.”
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea would demand that massive new taxes be paid to the International Seabed Authority in Jamaica, which then would give the mostly American money away.
“Ceding authority to the ISA would mean that the sovereignty currently held by the U.S. over the natural resources located on large parts of the continental shelf would be lost. That loss would mean lost revenue for the U.S. government in the form of lost royalties that the U.S. government collects from the production of those resources,” the senators write.
Estimates are that the resources have a value in the range of “trillions.”
Top officials such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey have argued on behalf of the treaty before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They say that losing the assets and launching a massive new tax campaign will help national security and economic development, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
This week, a key Democratic senator said he won’t push for a vote on the radical plan before the presidential election. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he doesn’t want the issue to be on the front burner during the election campaign.
The Journal reported that Obama administration officials already have strategized that the vote could be held during the lame-duck period after the election, just as when the vast new taxes and regulations of Obamacare were adopted.
Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation said in a Boston Herald column that it appears opposition to the treaty is on the rise.
The Journal reported the hearing held this week by Kerry documented continuing opposition, such as from Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who argues it would allow the U.N. to tax the U.S.
There also was strong opposition from Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho: “If we give up one scintilla of sovereignty the country has fought for … I can’t vote for it.”
The Financial Times gushed with enthusiasm for the plan, however.
“Far from taking Americans a step closer to world government, it would signal America’s willingness to stand by its own principles,” the paper said.
The Heritage Foundation’s Groves argued against the “deeply flawed treaty.”
“What if … the U.S. Treasury was raided for billions of dollars, which were then redistributed to the rest of the world by an international bureaucracy headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica? That’s what will surely happen if the Senate gives its advice and consent to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a deeply flawed treaty,” Groves said.
“Like a vampire, the Law of the Sea Treaty is never quite dead. It rises from the grave every few years for Senate hearings,” he continued. “Of course, the vampire must feed and its sustenance is American dollars, sucked out of the U.S. Treasury by a provision of LOST known as Article 92.
“LOST directs that the revenue be distributed to ‘developing states’ (such as Somalia, Burma … you get the picture) … The assembly may vote to distribute royalties to undemocratic, despotic or brutal governments in Belarus, China or Zimbabawe – all members of LOST,” Groves explained.
Groves said it was interesting that Kerry allowed only supporters to testify.
“After all, it is in the interests of those who favor U.S. membership in LOST that the treat not be exposed to direct sunlight,” Groves said.