Iain Murray Lost on UNCLOS

Over on the Corner, Iain Murray serves as a willing conduit of misinformation on the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Here’s a quick rebuttal.

1) “LOST threatens U. S. sovereignty…Once the U. S. became a party to the treaty, any number of issues could be adjudicated by a LOST tribunal. Jurisdiction over anything that affects the oceans directly or indirectly could be asserted.”

In fact, the United States insisted during the treaty negotiations that arbitration be the default mechanism by which disputes are negotiated. Further, the issues that can be arbitrated are very circumspect, namely, when two countries have a competing claim in the deep sea (which is considered ocean that is beyond 200 miles from the shore of any member state). Further, anything the United States deems a “military activity” is exempt from LOS-related dispute resolution mechanisms.

2) “LOST would be a big step toward United Nations global governance. The treaty’s reach extends far beyond international issues and disagreements into nations’ internal policies on a wide array of issues. The treaty’s structure is designed to replace national decision making with UN decision making on these issues.”

This is simply not true. The treaty creates a new organ called the International Seabed Authority, located in Kingston, Jamaica. The United States wields an effective veto over this body. Any issue that comes up that may threaten American sovereignty, or be interpreted as not being in American interests, will simply be shot down by our veto. But this can only happen if the United States ratifies the treaty.

3) “For the first time, the United Nations would have international taxing authority through LOST.”

This is the biggest canard being spread by the anti-UN crowd–and indeed, the myth of “UN taxes” are raised whenever the anti-UN crowd runs out of good reasons to oppose something on its own merits. I’ll say this slowly: The United Nations has no jurisdiction to collect taxes from the American people. Only the IRS can do that.

4)“LOST would accomplish backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and far beyond.”

If only this were true.