Bolton V Bolton on Law of the Sea

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is one of those international treaties that the United States really ought to ratify.  It sets a “rules of the road” for international waters and is supported by the military and peace groups; environmental organizations and the mineral extraction industry; President Bush and President Obama. Heck even John Bolton supports it. Or, at least he did.

From his April 11, 2005 confirmation hearing:

LUGAR: [D]o you see any potential entanglement of the United States with the Law of the Sea Treaty and loss of sovereignty to the U.N. or to any other world body?

BOLTON: No, I don’t see that the Law of the Sea Treaty implicates the United Nations in any material respect. And those that have gone over the question of the seabed conclude there’s no risk of taxation or anything like that.

As I say, my own review and that of the bureaus that report to me was on the importance that our military attached to it.

Sounds reasonable, right? Fast forward a few years. Bolton co-authored this Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday calling for the Senate to kill the treaty. Why? Well, it would seem he’s subsumed ‘the importance that our military has attached to it’  to his own interpretation of what is in the military’s interests.

All Washington wants is to continue doing what it has been doing since it became a maritime power: use its Navy to enhance international peace and security, deter conflict, reassure allies, and collect intelligence. LOST undercuts these strategic imperatives, and that is why it has always been a bad idea for the U.S.—a formula for endless legal maneuvering and the submission of conflicting claims to the treaty’s international tribunal, where our prospects are uncertain at best.

Heck even John Bolton was for it before he was against it.  Probably good indication that it’s time to ratify this thing.