The Law of the Sea Treaty: A View from Below

The high-level exchanges about the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) have come down on two sides.  Six secretaries of state argue that the United States must ratify and participate in order to protect its national interests, mainly military navigational freedoms.  Two former cabinet officers, by contrast, point out that we already have the navigational freedoms and that joining the international bureaucracy will complicate dispute settlement and make a host of other economic interests vulnerable to fatal compromise. When I was a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea during the 1970s, it was obvious that there were two classes of U.S. interests.  One was a group of navigational freedoms enjoyed by the U.S. military, which were already well-established in customary international law.  The other interests were economic in nature.  These included fisheries, ocean mining, oil production from the continental margin beyond the 200-mile...(Read Full Article)