We’veblogged about the Law of the Sea treaty before, making the rather uncontroversial argument that signing a treaty that will increase the United States’ ocean territory, protect marine life, enhance research opportunities, and make international shipping lanes freer and safer — and that is supported by Republicans and Democrats, oil executives and environmentalists, for crying out loud — should be one of those things that fits into U.S. priorities quite obviously. Add to this the fact that nations that are a party to UNCLOS are rapidly gobbling up the remaining (and globally warming) Arctic ocean territory, and that the U.S. risks being left on the sidelines if it doesn’t sign its name soon, and you have the ingredients of something that clearly should have been signed yesterday.
Unfortunately, the Law of the Sea has been held up for far too long by a handful of Senators with objections that, with any scrutiny whatsoever, turn out to amount to no more than myths. On the plus side, though, the Foreign Relations Committee’s chairman, John Kerry, has stressed that UNCLOS will be a priority for the committee this year. But it is unlikely that the Senate would adopt any major treaty without strong presidential leadership.