For years, liberals and misguided State Department officials have pushed for the U.S. Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). This treaty would convey ownership of the oceans to a United Nations agency and give international bureaucrats veto authority over U.S. naval operations and could force the United States to comply with international carbon emissions caps.
Last week, we defeated LOST by securing commitments to ensure it cannot gain the 67 votes needed for ratification.
However, no sooner had the 34th Republican senator signed a letter opposing LOST than the surrender of American sovereignty was put back on the table by foreign diplomats and their internationalist allies in the federal government.
With LOST dead, the new treaties being promoted to take its place include the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Disabled, which calls for government agents to supersede the authority of parents of disabled children and even covers abortion. Also, the Obama administration has begun negotiations on a new U.N. treaty to create international gun control rules that could slowly erode our Second Amendment.
The globalist ideologues behind these treaties are either ignorant of or hostile to the universal human experience that problems are best solved by the people and institutions closest to them. So assured are these masters of their mandate to direct the lives and wealth of other people that they see their routine failures to do so efficiently at the local, state and national level merely as reason to ascend to new heights of international command and control.
Our nation’s founders understood this hubristic temptation of public officials. Thomas Jefferson stated in his inaugural address the principle of “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” Instead, America sought to constrain our actions within the confines of the consent of the people. It is this measure of accountability that fetters both policymaking and policymakers. This is precisely why internationalists prefer to elevate authority wherever possible above democratic accountability.
This explains the feverish effort to join the United States to so many international treaties and conventions on every subject under the sun. It is a backdoor effort to impose extreme liberal policies on Americans who would never vote for them if given the choice.
That was precisely the motivation behind President Obama and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry’s effort to ratify LOST in a lame-duck session of Congress, when public scrutiny and accountability would be minimal.
They argue that we need this treaty, which the Senate correctly has ignored since its original completion in 1982, to ensure America’s access to the world’s shipping lanes. Of course, we already have such access, no thanks to a piece of paper, but to the world’s most powerful navy.
In exchange for gaining something it already has, then, the United States would, under LOST, surrender billions, possibly trillions, in royalty payments for oil and gas produced from our Outer Continental Shelf. At the same time, the treaty would expose our citizens to frivolous lawsuits in international courts.
LOST would trade in our Constitution for a vague 200-page compact drafted by foreign diplomats. It would trade in our Founding Fathers for the United Nations, and “we the people” for “you the foreign secretaries we’ve never heard of and didn’t elect.”
This desire to substitute the received wisdom of international committees, led by nations like Sudan and Russia, for the electoral judgment of the American people is the motivation behind LOST and every other sovereignty-peddling treaty making the rounds.
It explains the Kyoto Protocols, which would have handed over American energy policymaking to international green-ocrats. It explains the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which would supersede federal, state and local laws, mandating choices and decisions best left to parents.
The same is true for the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which would empower international bureaucrats to set local laws concerning abortion, marriage, day care and even Mother’s Day.
In the end, for all their titles and credentials, the globalists are just liberal politicians with well-worn passports. It is not some new form of international harmony they seek but just larger institutions from which to impose their old, discredited agenda.
They see the U.S. Constitution as an obstacle to progress and so seek to supersede it by any means available to them. The debates about these treaties are not about the legalistic minutiae they contain but the sovereign citizenry they threaten.
The American people’s God-given and constitutionally protected right to self-government must be protected. The fact that our people remain skeptical toward the schemes of international diplomats is a sign of their enduring wisdom.
LOST is dead, for now. But new efforts to hand over American sovereignty to international authority already are under way. Only with the ongoing help and vigilance of the American people can we hope to defeat the next generation of unnecessary, unrepublican and undemocratic treaties.
Sen. James M. Inhofe is a Republican from Oklahoma. Sen. Jim DeMint is a Republican from South Carolina. They both serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.