NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Flawed Sea Treaty Rises from the Deep

February 25, 2004

President Ronald Reagan refused to sign it 22 years ago, and the Senate refused to ratify after President Bill Clinton signed it 12 years later. But it's back, says national security expert Frank Gaffney Jr.: the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is on the agenda of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

Among UNCLOS' fatal flaws, says Gaffney, are the following:

  • The treaty's Articles 19 and 20 attempt explicitly to regulate intelligence and submarine activities in "territorial" waters, and mandate a U.N. court to adjudicate disputes.
  • The Treaty explicitly bars reservations by signatory nations, including national interpretations of what constitutes military activities that may be exempted from its provisions.
  • It guarantees the "transfer of technology and scientific knowledge relating to activities" governed by the treaty -- including, for example, sensitive technologies directly relevant to anti-submarine warfare.

The Law of the Sea Convention is inconsistent with U.S. national security and economic interests, including sea-bed mining, concludes Gaffney.

Source: Frank J. Gaffney Jr. (Center for Security Policy), "Deep-Six This Treaty," Washington Times, February 24, 2004.


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