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GAFFNEY: Bad timing for LOST

Another foreign policy battle in the presidential election

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2012

This week, the Obama administration will roll out its big guns in support of President Obama's latest assault on American sovereignty and security interests: the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (better known as LOST). Of course, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, they will appear to be talking about another accord altogether - one that strengthens our sovereignty and is deemed by the U.S. military to be essential to our security.

So which is it?

The proponents are hoping that senators on and off the Foreign Relations Committee will do what they did during what passed for their chamber's consideration of the New START Treaty in 2010: take the administration's word for it, be impressed by the pro-treaty testimonials and lobbying of an array of former eminences and special interests, and largely dispense with the serious scrutiny and check-and-balance vetting the framers had in mind when they entrusted to the Senate the constitutional responsibility to advise and consent to treaties.

If, on the other hand, the members of the U.S. Senate trouble themselves to study, or at least read, the text of the Law of the Sea Treaty, they would immediately see it for what it really is: a diplomatic dinosaur, a throwback to a bygone era when U.N. negotiations were dominated by communists of the Soviet Union and their fellow travelers in the Third World.

These adversaries' agenda was transparent and wholly inimical to American equities. They sought to establish control over 70 percent of the world's surface, create an international governing institution that would serve as a model for bringing nation states like ours to heel and redistribute the planet's wealth and technology from the developed world to themselves. LOST codifies such arrangements and would subject us to mandatory dispute resolution to enforce them via stacked-deck adjudication panels.

Fortunately, even if senators are disinclined to go to school on what the Law of the Sea Treaty entails - and why it cannot possibly serve even the parochial interests of the U.S. Navy or oil and gas industries whose willfully blind support will be much in evidence in the ratification campaign ahead - others are doing their homework. Such efforts are likely to make the timing of the Obama administration's current quest, shall we say, most inopportune.

First, Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, have just published an important new book that addresses, among other outrages, LOST as a prime example of the title: "Screwed! How Foreign Countries Are Ripping Off America and Plundering Our Economy - and How Our Leaders Help Them Do It." In addition to his proven track record as a best-selling author, Mr. Morris' regular appearances on Fox News ensure that millions who might otherwise be unaware of what is afoot will be on notice and on guard. That markedly improves the chances that those who might try to slip such an assault on our sovereignty through in the dark of night will be challenged and held accountable.

Second, Glenn Beck - whose predicted demise as an influential broadcaster with his departure from Fox has proven, thankfully, to be premature - did yeoman work educating the American people about LOST in 2007, the last time a push was made to ensnare us in this accord. In his new and wildly successful reincarnation as a pioneer of Internet subscription-based television, Mr. Beck stands to be even more effective in connecting the dots for his audience and engaging them in opposing LOST.

Third, theaters nationwide will begin showing a documentary by Ami Horowitz called "U N Me" on June 1 that uses Michael Moore-style humor and intrepid camera work to lay waste to the United Nations as a corrupt, self-dealing, incompetent and fundamentally anti-American institution. It is hard to believe that anyone who sees this film will want to entrust any more resources, legitimacy or responsibility to such an organization - or to its subsidiaries like LOST's International Seabed Authority, the Orwellian-named "Enterprise," the Law of the Sea Tribunal, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, etc.

As it happens, even before such important forces are brought fully to bear in opposition to Team Obama's bid to ram through the Senate this "constitution of the oceans," the ratification bandwagon hit something of a roadblock. At the initiative of freshman Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., Tennessee Republican, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, who chairs the House Republican Study Committee, the House of Representatives on Friday voted 229-193 to bar millions of dollars the administration had sought to contribute to the funding of LOST organizations. This is the first time either chamber has formally voted in opposition to this agreement and is a salutary shot across the bow of its proponents.

There is, of course, one other factor that should prove problematic in terms of the timing of Mr. Obama's effort to foist LOST on the American people - it comes amid an election in which his presumptive Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, is no fan of this accord. According to an October 2007 report, a spokesman declared "Governor Romney has concerns with the Law of the Sea Treaty. He believes giving unaccountable international institutions more power is a serious problem."

Amen.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, "Secure Freedom Radio," heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.

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