Law of the Sea Treaty

A President is trying to pass the Law of the Sea Treaty again (Bill Clinton and George W Bush both failed):

In a joint appearance before Congress, Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, made the case for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has been in force since 1994.

Republican opposition has stalled the pact for years and was on bold display at the hearing. The United States is the only major nation that has refused to sign the treaty, which has been endorsed by 161 countries and the European Union.

“We need to get off the sidelines and start taking advantage of the great deal that the convention offers the United States and our business community,’’ Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In an impassioned plea, she dismissed opposition to the pact as based on “ideology and mythology’’ and pointed out that the treaty has the backing of Republican and Democratic presidents, including President George W. Bush; businesses, the energy and shipping industry, and environmental groups.

Hmm, so who opposes it:

The treaty has languished for years because of opposition from those who argue it would undermine US sovereignty, and in recent months challenges from Tea Party Republicans.

Conservative Republicans expressed the strongest opposition, arguing the pact would force the United States to redistribute wealth through royalties from offshore drilling and impose regulations on greenhouse gases.

“This treaty would subordinate American sovereignty to the United Nations, impose an international tax on US energy production that would raise costs for American families, and act as a backdoor Kyoto Protocol that could allow foreign nations to regulate US energy emissions,’’ Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said in a statement.

An international tax on business, then businesses must be against it. Right?. Well, no:

At that point, Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate panel, jumped in to say that U.S. business supports ratification because it cannot establish claims to seabed mines beyond the 200-mile territorial limit if the U.S. isn’t part of the convention. No bilateral treaty can cover these areas of the seabed, Kerry said.

“You’re here protecting companies from paying a royalty that they want to pay,” Kerry told Inhofe. “They’d rather have 93 percent of something” than get nothing.

Hillary Clinton has heard these type of conspiracy theories for ages and even she has trouble believing they exist:

The top American diplomat said some of the arguments against the treaty “cannot even be taken with a straight face.” These, she said, include claims that the U.S. would have to pay a “UN tax,” that it would give the UN power over the U.S. Navy and that it would erode U.S. sovereignty.

“Honestly, I don’t know where these people make these things up,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. She chided critics who object to the U.S. joining any UN treaty saying, “Of course, that means the black helicopters are on their way,” a reference to conspiracy theories about a world government.

Some Republicans are, of course, proud of their theories:

“I hope you weren’t scoffing at us,” Idaho Senator Jim Risch told Clinton.“There’s some good stuff in here, but if we give up one scintilla of sovereignty that this country has fought for, bled for, have given up our treasure and the best that America has, I can’t vote for it,” Risch said.

I imagine he would also have been against the forming of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions. I’m surpised this hasn’t been linked to Agenda 21 by any prominent Republicans yet. After all, it’s a pretty widespread belief among some.

Charles Pierce comments here.

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