- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Contrary to Doug Bandow’s opinion (LOST crosscurrents,” Commentary, July 27), the Law of the Sea Treaty has a diverse and bipartisan group of experienced national backers, including military leaders, environmentalists, ocean industries, think tanks and political figures who recognize and support the pressing need to sign this treaty.

There are enormous benefits to U.S. participation in the Law of the Sea. First and foremost, it would give us a seat at the table and a leadership role in international negotiations that immediately would enhance and protect our national and economic security interests.

The influence of the convention on international activities, such as those surrounding commercial, military and environmental activities in the Arctic, is growing. However, as virtually the sole industrialized nation not party to the treaty - to which 155 nations and the European Union belong - the United States remains sidelined.

The concerns surrounding the seabed mining provisions raised in Mr. Bandow’s column are a red herring, as is his point on marine pollution. These provisions have been carefully negotiated and, in the case of seabed mining, renegotiated to protect U.S. interests.

The legal framework provided by the treaty is key to pursuing and protecting our national interests, which is why President Bush, his national security adviser, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and virtually all other influential national leaders support U.S. accession to the convention. This is why it is essential for the Senate to approve U.S. participation in the Law of the Sea Treaty next Congress.

ADM. JAMES D. WATKINS

U.S. Navy, retired

LEON E. PANETTA

Co-chairmen

Joint Ocean Commission

Initiative

Washington


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