Inside the Ring

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“They’ve urged the Senate to ratify it because it’s good for national security and good for jobs,” he said. “So, of course, the committee is taking a close look.”

Heritage Foundation analyst Steven Groves said a major problem with the treaty is Article 82. The section would force the U.S. government to lose millions by forfeiting royalties from U.S. companies to explore for oil and gas on the continental shelf beyond 200 miles. Instead, a U.N. organization would get a portion of the money.

“The navigational provisions of the treaty have always been widely supported, including by President Reagan and the Navy,” Mr. Groves said.

“It’s the non-navigational provisions — sharing oil and gas royalties with underdeveloped countries, mandatory dispute resolution and the deep seabed mining provisions — that give conservatives heartburn,” he said.

Navy Capt. John Kirby said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supports the treaty because “he believes that by remaining outside the convention, we give up the firmer foundation of treaty law for navigational rights vital to our global mobility.”

DEMPSEY WARNS OF ATTACK

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman-designate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this week offered a different view of the threat posed al Qaeda from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.

In written answers to questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee made public on Tuesday, Gen. Dempsey said al Qaeda remains a threat and may launch new attacks in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“The killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden may increase the threat from al Qaedas regional nodes to the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests overseas,” Gen. Dempsey stated.

He said, the assessment is based on regional affiliates — like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in Iraq, the Somalia-based al-Shabab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — issuing eulogies for bin Laden and vowing U.S. attacks against in retaliation.

The comments run counter to recent statements by Mr. Panetta, a former CIA director, who said al Qaeda was on the verge of “strategic defeat” because of the bin Ladin attack.

BURNS ON MISSILE DEFENSE

Deputy Secretary of State-designate William J. Burns assured a leading Republican senator last week that the Obama administration will not agree to Russian efforts to limit U.S. missile defenses.

Mr. Burns made the remarks in response to a report in this space June 16 and also confirmed indirectly that the White House in May rejected a questionable missile deal with the Russians that had been drafted by Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control, for signing by President Obama at the G-8 summit in Deauville, France, in May.

Mr. Burns, in a written answer to a question posed by Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said both Washington and Moscow are working to “develop an understanding” on practical steps for cooperation.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. ...

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