The Right Opinion

No Time to Get LOST

By Edwin J. Feulner · Dec. 11, 2012

“It is an outrage.” The source of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's anger? The fact that the United States has yet to approve a treaty known as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which often goes by the acronym LOST.

Mr. Panetta was speaking after the election. His ire about LOST's status suggests that the Obama administration may well make this a second-term priority.

The treaty has come close to being ratified by the United States – it dates back to 1982. However, LOST has never been able to gain enough supporters in the Senate.

That could change – and quickly. Its advocates, hoping that their moment has arrived, are turning up the heat. I don't mean just administration officials. LOST has its defenders in the media, too. Bob Keeler of Newsday, for example, recently wrote that refusing to sign the pact is “unfathomable.” By rejecting treaties such as LOST, he said, we're refusing “to be part of the family of nations,” and we're “well on the way to becoming an outlaw nation.”

According to its supporters, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. The main one concerns the oil and gas resources in the outer limits of our extended continental shelf. The treaty's proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty.

Mr. Panetta said “there are countries that are making claims there, and we can't even engage with those countries because we haven't approved the Law of the Sea Treaty.”

Adds Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican: “If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended continental shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded.” Without LOST, we're told, we won't be able to develop the hydrocarbon resources beneath the shelf in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean.

It sounds dire and, at a time of fluctuating prices for gasoline and other forms of energy, alarming. Fortunately, these predictions aren't true. Under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas. Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman have issued proclamations – and Congress has enacted laws – establishing America's maritime laws and boundaries. No one has challenged them.

Perhaps LOST's proponents would like this to change. They tend to be fans of superfluous international agreements, and they frequently back policies that would tie the hands of the United States and prevent us from acting in our own interests. The fact remains that their claim about LOST being necessary to obtain legal title to the oil and gas under the extended continental shelf is pure fiction.

“The Obama administration has promoted the Law of the Sea Treaty and seems to have bought into the false nobility of global governance,” former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said. “Why should the American people support leaders who put American interests on an equal footing with foreign interests? Aren't they elected to represent 'we the people,' not we are the world?”

If we reject LOST, are we truly outside the “family of nations”? It's true that more than 160 nations have ratified LOST. The United States is hardly alone in not signing. “More than 30 other nations – including Colombia, Israel, Peru and Turkey – have chosen not to ratify the convention,” writes the Heritage Foundation's Steve Groves. “The nations that have joined LOST cannot prevent the United States or any other nation from mining the seabed any more than they can prevent the U.S. from exercising the freedom of navigation and overflight, the freedom of fishing, or any other high seas freedom.”

President Reagan was right to reject LOST 30 years ago. The U.S. Senate should do the same thing today.

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6 Comments

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Mac's absolutely right, the idiots want to punish us for being successful. We don't owe the world one damn thing, its the other way around. Some of the countries in the UN wouldn't be there today if it wasn't for our blood and treasure we spent defending their freedom. Ungrateful leeches want to drag us down to their level. Get us out of the UN and see how long it lasts without our money paying 25% of its operating costs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

We need to tell the UN, with all of its "outlaw nations", to get LOST! We owe the world nothing, most of the countries in the UN would be Lost without our benevolence, and in turn, they would destroy our freedoms that enabled their existence. Send them all packing, and close it down.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

Some guy by the name of Washington warned about foreign entanglements. It is way past time to get out of the ultimate foreign entanglement. The Tower of Babble on the East River has got to go. Why are we still in the UN, simple take a look at who backs it. Besides the normal cast of Democraps such as kommandant klinton (both of them) , Reid, Pelosi, Barry, etc. there is the Republican Leadership (still an oxymoron). Many are CFR members. That includes Bush the Elder, Gingrich, Cheney, etc. And don't forget Kissinger who pretty much heads the international conspiracy for the New World Order. As I see it any member of the CFR, Tri-Lateral Commission or Bilderberg Group is guilty of treason. Goggle CFR membership to get a list of traitors.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

If we don't sign LOST we will become an outlaw nation? As such we should withdraw from the UN and stop subsidizing them. Let them enforce their agenda without any support from the United States of America. The UN should be evicted from Manhattan as well. Good riddance. Of course since Obama's agenda is to weaken the U.S. none of this will happen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri said:

Who the hell cares if we are labeled an outlaw nation? I for damn sure don`t. Bring our troops home from everywhere overseas, cut off all foreign aid, and use the troops and money to secure and develop the entire outer limits of the continental shelf for ourselves. Tell the UN to screw themselves, and to do it in Europe or African, or some other hell-hole.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Tod in Brooklyn, NY said:

Ever notice how rogue nations, hate Capitalists, but love their capital-as stated previously, cut the funding and end the B.S.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM