Hearings Set for Law of the Sea


Unilateralists are getting ready to squirm. The date for the first hearing on the Law of the Sea convention has been set for September 27, when government witnesses will testify. In October, treaty opponents and business representatives (all supporters) will testify in a second hearing.
As I’ve written before, everyone with an interest in the use and navigation of the oceans — the military, environmental organizations, and all ocean industries — strongly favor U.S. accession to the treaty. That means the point in question with Law of the Sea is whether recognizing, strengthening, and adhering to international law can ever be advantageous to the United States. For those of us who believe that it is usually so — and according to polls, we represent about 2/3 of all Americans — this fight will take on special significance.
The small, far-right opposition faces an uphill battle to block ratification, but then again, these battles can be unpredictable. These same folks were ramped up ten years ago against a treaty with similar momentum and importance (the Convention on Biological Diversity) and won. And deck was similarly stacked against the good guys who opposed John Bolton’s nomination, yet twice we prevailed.
Stay tuned.
— Scott Paul
Note:For some interesting reading today, be sure to check out Sebastian Mallaby’s very good piece in the Post on energy policy. Also, those of you intrigued by the UN Emergency Peace Service proposal should see the coverage in last week’s Forward, in which, importantly, the tough but fair UN critic Ed Luck gives UNEPS his blessing.