Frank Gaffney Wants War For Oil Instead of Law of the Sea

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I hinted earlier this month that opponents of the Law of the Sea are terrified that Senate action on the treaty would expose their political weakness. Evidence is already turning up to support my claim.
Paul Weyrich wrote recently that the conservative effort to kill the Law of the Sea is all but over and that the treaty’s opponents are in for a stinging defeat. His exact words: the possibility of stopping U.S. participation in the Law of the Sea is “next to impossible.”
Hearings are expected later this month or in early July. When the treaty finally comes to a floor vote, only a small, extreme minority will vote against it.
I need to make two disclaimers about the title of this post. First, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think “war for oil” accusations are sufficient to explain the ideological foundation for current U.S. military misadventures. Second, there is a bit of hyperbole in this title.
The facts are as follows: one of the most important reasons to join the Law of the Sea is that the treaty recognizes some important American legal rights regarding maritime resources. First, it would give the U.S. government exclusive rights to allow exploitation or conservation of resources in a large area off the U.S. coast called its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which covers an area larger than the 48 continental United States combined.
Second, it would also extend rights to U.S. firms over the American Extended Continental Shelf (ECS), or the part of the continental shelf that extends beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast.
Finally, participation in LOS would allow U.S. firms to apply for licenses with the International Seabed Authority, which guarantees the claims of these firms on sites in the deep seabed.
These are very important protections for the U.S. and they are good both for conservation and the U.S. economy. That’s why environmental groups and the oil and gas industry agree that the U.S. needs to accede to the Law of the Sea.
According to multiple, well-placed sources, Frank Gaffney has a whopper of an alternative: he thinks that force, or at least the threat of force, should be used to compel other countries to recognize U.S. rights in the sea. Gaffney believes this is preferable to accession to LOS, under which U.S. legal rights would be recognized and disputes could be settled peacefully and equitably.
On second thought, the title isn’t as hyperbolic as I first thought it was. And if you don’t think Law of the Sea prevents military conflicts over resources, a quick refresher on the “Cod Wars” between Iceland and Great Britain is in order. The short version is that between 1958 and 1976, Iceland made a series of unilateral claims to exclusive economic rights beyond its territorial waters that Great Britain didn’t recognize. The British Navy was sent to accompany its trawlers into disputed areas, and military conflicts and standoffs ensued.
We should all be shocked at the suggestion that the U.S. should use its military to protect narrow economic interests, especially when such a clear and widely recognized legal framework exists to avoid conflict. In addition, Gaffney’s approach would put tremendous strain on the U.S. armed forces. The U.S. Navy can’t be expected to send a destroyer to protect every American oil rig.
Let’s be honest: this is not a left versus right issue, nor is it even a liberal versus conservative issue. Environmental groups and oil companies are supporting LOS together. The White House, the Pentagon, and the Department of Homeland Security are supporting it. The Coast Guard is supporting it. The American Bar Association is supporting it. International cooperation, faith, and peace groups are supporting it. Every ocean industry in the country – fishing, shipping, telecommunications, and manufacturing, to name a few – are all supportive of U.S participation in the Law of the Sea.
The treaty’s few opponents are trotting out the same tired and, in some cases, factually incorrect arguments that they’ve been parroting for over a decade. The Law of the Sea pits a few extreme unilateralists against everybody else.
If there are any LOS opponents on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – I understand there are probably between 1 and 3, but no one has yet made his/her opposition public – I hope they call Gaffney as a witness for the hearings so the public can hear more about his alternative to LOS.
— Scott Paul

Comments

18 comments on “Frank Gaffney Wants War For Oil Instead of Law of the Sea

  1. celtic woman says:

    Can someone please explain to me how to ensure quotes ” are correctly picked up? Sometimes they are, other times they are not???

    Reply

  2. Scott Paul says:

    That’s “The closest relevant question ONE could ask…”

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  3. Scott Paul says:

    Lucky I checked this thread today – I haven’t looked at it in awhile.
    Just as “war for oil” seems too narrow an explanation to be sufficient for our military misadventures, “war for empire” seems too broad, if only because empire is no longer a useful term given the way power is distributed today. That is to say: imperial control of territory is less valuable now than it ever has been.
    The closest relevant question would could ask is: are U.S. military operations geared toward projecting greater regional or global power? To that question, my answer is at least partly yes.

    Reply

  4. Scott says:

    Hi Scott Paul …
    I enjoy this blog very much so thank you for it. BTW: I discovered Steve via Rachel Maddow and enjoy TWN insights on AAR as well.
    Here’s my question: When you write “First, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think “war for oil” accusations are sufficient to explain the ideological foundation for current U.S. military misadventures.” What about “war for empire”? I’m wondering if you’ve read the books by John Perkins (NSA trained), specifically “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”? It’s a #1 NYTimes bestseller though no one in the “MSM” wants to go near it. I found it to be quite revealing (among other things) and would love to know your opinion of it.
    Many thanks.
    SCI

    Reply

  5. Robert Morrow says:

    The Aztecs were some sickos themselves. Human sacrifice on the tops of their pyramids then mixing the victims blood with cornmeal and eating it. Virgin maidens should be set up with your nephew, not disemboweled in a satanic rite. And the lacrosse “games” where all the losers were beheaded.
    I think I will take the lower back tattoos in contemporary USA over anything relating to Aztec or Maya.

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  6. mullah cimoc says:

    mullah cimoc ameriki need escape control by masters in tel aviv. usa media so control, now ameriki people so stupid. now the ameriki woman slut taking the LBT (low back tattoo). society destroy.
    then him aztec and maya take all land back and destroy ameriki people. this bible punish for cruel and torture.
    this all intel op using him neocon for control usa military for kill muslim.
    google: mighty wurlitzer +cia

    Reply

  7. erichwwk says:

    Can someone please explain to me how to ensure quotes ” are correctly picked up? Sometimes they are, other times they are not???

    Reply

  8. Jim DeRosa says:

    Is this the treaty the Canadian Government is worried about, concering fresh water rights?

    Reply

  9. erichwwk says:

    Nice article, Scott.
    MP, while you are technically correct that it was Adelman who is attributed with the term “cakewalk”, Pat Buchanan broadened the term in an article “The Cakewalk Crowd Abandons Bush”. Frank Gaffney probably represents this crowd (the THIRD revival of the ill fated Committee for the Present Danger) as well as anyway, being (along with Wolfowitz) an aide to Scoop Jackson, and directly under Richard Perle in the second revival in the early 1970’s. I view these folks as the US equivalent of the Nazi youth, indoctrinated at an early age by Albert Wohlstetter, to believe that man is inherently evil, and the winner is he who can impose his will by force. Elbaradei has recently called these folks the ‘new crazies’ in a BBC interview. In an interview with Jonathan Holmes in Feb. 2003, Gaffney said: “I think an outpouring of appreciation for their [the Iraqui] liberation that will make what we saw in Afghanistan recently pale by comparison”. http://tinyurl.com/35xc9
    The views of this CPD has been thoroughly debunked by the facts of history (especially in regards to the intentions and capabilities of the former USSR), yet they hang on to their delusion of paranoia and use of force as the only option. These folks are extremely dangerous, and I for one, am heartened at the possibility of GWB coming into his own (as first noticed by Pat Buchanan and given a great push by Steve Clemons, and now Scott), and perhaps finding the strength and will to separate himself from this crowd and leave a positive legacy of hope and cooperation. While I generally agree w/ POA’s point of view, voicing that view undiplomatic ally does have the drawback of focusing on punishing the war criminals, rather than rooting for, and encouraging, their redemption. What would we rather have?

    Reply

  10. erichwwk says:

    Nice article, Scott.
    MP, while you are technically correct that it was Adelman who is attributed with the term “cakewalk”, Pat Buchanan broadened the term in an article “The Cakewalk Crowd Abandons Bush”. Frank Gaffney probably represents this crowd (the THIRD revival of the ill fated Committee for the Present Danger) as well as anyway, being (along with Wolfowitz) an aide to Scoop Jackson, and directly under Richard Perle in the second revival in the early 1970’s. I view these folks as the US equivalent of the Nazi youth, indoctrinated at an early age by Albert Wohlstetter, to believe that man is inherently evil, and the winner is he who can impose his will by force. Elbaradei has recently called these folks the ‘new’? crazies in a BBC interview. In an interview with Jonathan Holmes in Feb. 2003, Gaffney said: “I think an outpouring of appreciation for their [the Iraqui] liberation that will make what we saw in Afghanistan recently pale by comparison”. http://tinyurl.com/35xc9
    The views of this CPD[ http://tinyurl.com/2qmr6f ] has been thoroughly debunked by the facts of history (especially in regards to the intentions and capabilities of the former USSR), yet they hang on to their delusion of paranoia and use of force as the only option. These folks are extremely dangerous, and I for one, am heartened at the possibility of GWB coming into his own (as first noticed by Pat Buchanan and given a great push by Steve Clemons, and now Scott), and perhaps finding the strength and will to separate himself from this crowd and leave a positive legacy of hope and cooperation. While I generally agree w/ POA’s point of view, voicing that view undiplomatically does have the drawback of focusing on punishing the war criminals, rather than rooting for, and encouraging, their redemption. What would we rather have?

    Reply

  11. Richard Dittbenner, J. D. says:

    Gaffney’s approach should not be surprising. He always favors the application of US military force to impose upon the world a muscular Pax Americana and worse, precipitate consequences beyond the immediate object of his desire. Several years ago, he advocated in Defense News, dropping a nuclear bomb on Libya’s bomb-making factory deep in a Libyian mountain. It was, as I wrote in retort, an absurd idea which would spread nuclear fall-out all over a wide area of the Mideast and damage our long term security interests in the region. Gaffney suffers from “can’t-see-around-the-corner” political blindness. His wanting war for the sake of oil is the lastest in a long line of his detached-from-reality thinking.

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  12. Pissed Off American says:
  13. MP says:

    Linda, I think it was Ken Cakewalk Adelman…

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  14. Robert Morrow says:

    I would like to sum up what LOST means to me: DOG VOMIT.

    Reply

  15. linda says:

    ah, frank ‘cakewalk’ gaffney. another rootin’ tootin’ war monger (as long as it’s someone else’s sons and daughters being shot to hell. he, of course, has his own personal experience avoiding his generation’s armed conflict. but, perhaps that skin condition that kept him out of vietnam has improved in his viagran years.)

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Even though Democratic “leaders” didn’t realize we went to war for oil, every one here did, ages ago.
    As Dopey is fond of saying, “Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on who????” Well, fool me thrice and shame on the whole nation.
    Will the Law of the Sea cramp Exxon’s style?
    Time to believe our lying eyes, folks. Time to reach for the rotten tomatoes.

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  17. Kathleen says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Even though Democratic “leaders” didn’t realize we went to war for oil, every one here did, ages ago.
    As Dopey is fond of saying, “Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on who????” Well, fool me thrice and shame on the whole nation.
    Will the Law of the Sea cramp Exxon’s style?
    Time to believe our lying eyes, folks. Time to reach for the rotten tomatoes.

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Frank Gaffney only advocates applying Bush’s terrestrial policies to maritme policies: full spectrum dominance. At least he’s being consistent. And yes, control of resources by military might is central to the policy: witness Iraq.
    The fact that the LOS is moving forward represents at least a temporary or tactical retrenchment to areas of current vital strategic interest, such as the Persian Gulf. There is no reason to believe that future Bushes won’t ignore or abrogate the treaty whenever and wherever signficant resources are discovered. In some ways the oceans are more suited to US military control, since there are no pesky nationalists to deal with. And while the law may not necessarily constrain US action, it does put useful limits on other countries who will be expected to abide by it instead of engaging in war.
    Far from being “shocked at the suggestion that the U.S. should use its military to protect narrow economic interests,” I am shocked that people don’t realize that the US routinely does this. Partly this is because most interventions are covert or not considered newsworthy. Partly it stems from the congnitive dissonce of an unquestioning population that wants to believe that the government’s noble rhetoric is reflected in its actions.

    Reply

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