Op-eds & Editorials

Op-ed: Obama’s Weakness on Treaties
New York Times
December 19, 2012
The president should begin with the Law of the Sea Convention, which enjoys strong support from all branches of the United States military and from the American business community. He almost certainly could have gained Senate approval of this important treaty during his first three years in office but inexplicably waited until the maelstrom of the 2012 election year to push for it.
Over the last 230 years, the Senate has approved more than 1,500 treaties. In 2013, Mr. Obama must demonstrate leadership by putting greater effort in securing Senate approval of essential treaties that advance American interests, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
John B. Bellinger III, a partner at Arnold & Porter, was the legal adviser for the State Department from 2005 to 2009.
Read more
Op-ed: How the Senate Failed U.S. Businesses (and Bob Dole)
December 7, 2012
“[The Law of the Sea Treaty] creates global rules to govern such things as mining rights on the ocean floor and shipping lanes in international waters. And it has been ratified by 161 countries—but not the U.S. That’s despite the fact that the Chamber of Commerce (again), the National Association of Manufacturers, secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger onward, and pretty much everyone with a star in the Pentagon wants the U.S. to sign up. One result of ratifying the treaty would be to secure 4.1 million miles of ocean floor for U.S. jurisdiction. It would be a useful tool in the effort to peacefully resolve disputes over the South China Sea. And signing would give U.S. companies more secure rights to mine and drill in parts of the Arctic.”
Charles Kenny is a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation.
Read more
Op-ed: The Case for Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty
Real Clear Politics
November 28, 2012
The Institute for Liberty (IFL) has come to the conclusion that ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty is the most important property rights and wealth building step that America can take to maintain our leading superpower status and to exponentially grow our economy. There has been a tremendous amount of disinformation about this treaty. In fact, just earlier this year, IFL thought we knew the truth about what was termed “LOST” and we signed a letter opposing ratification. We, like so many other conservatives, were given bad information. … Trillions of dollars, global property rights for U.S. interests, critical navigation rights, and veto power over an international fund that could end up in adversarial hands is what is at stake. Ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty will grow the U.S. economy while protecting our military and strategic interests around the world.
Andrew Langer is the president of the Institute for Liberty.
Read more
Editorial: Obama’s Asia Pivot Depends on What He Can Deliver at Home
November 19, 2012
The Obama administration could spur that effort by pushing the Senate to ratifiy the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which safeguards U.S. interests in navigation and commerce and provides a strong framework for resolving such sovereignty disputes. The results of the U.S. election might prompt Republican senators to rethink their obstinate and misguided opposition.
Read more
Op-ed: It’s Time for President, Congress to Get Down to Business
November 14, 2012
… When Congress closed up shop before the election, lawmakers also left dangling a host of important measures that could help boost our recovery. During the lame duck, they must work to bring some of them over the finish line, including passage of Russia PNTR, approval of the Law of the Sea Treaty, regulatory reform, cybersecurity legislation and a high-skilled immigration bill. Political gridlock is a luxury this nation can no longer afford. We face tremendous challenges. The longer we delay, the more painful the solutions will be. The business community stands ready to work with the president and Congress to bolster economic growth, create jobs and achieve a Big Deal to restore our nation’s fiscal balance. It’s time to get down to business.
Thomas J. Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Read more
Op-ed: Maritime Destiny Toward U.S. Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty
Transportation Quarterly: ABA Transportation Committee Quarterly
November 13, 2012
The Law of the Sea Treaty (“LOS” or “Treaty”), currently pending before the U.S. Senate, could potentially be ratified during the “lame-duck” session after the upcoming election. Many provisions of the Treaty may have far reaching impacts on the business community and the U.S. economy at large, as the Treaty could open up access to potentially vast reserves of natural resources that were previously outside our nation’s territorial reach. Ratification will increase U.S. job opportunities. Although successive U.S. Presidents from both parties have urged the Senate to initiate floor debate and give the constitutional two-thirds vote of ratification, those steps have yet to occur. Consequently, for nearly two decades, the Treaty has remained in a “pending status” before the Senate, and as a result, U.S. companies are missing out on a modern day gold rush.
*This article was originally published in TQ: ABA Transportation Committee Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Fall 2012).
Senator John Warner is former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Secretary of the Navy, and John Norton Moore, director of the Center for Oceans Law & Policy at the University of Virginia, was U.S. Ambassador for the Law of the Sea Convention under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was a Reagan appointee to the National Advisory Commission on Oceans and Atmosphere.
Warner ABA Op-ed – Fall 2012.pdf
Read more
Op-ed: Ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty
Alaska Business Monthly
November 2, 2012
… The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty is a globally agreed legal framework for the management of the world’s oceans. Navigational freedoms, including the freedom of movement of warships through the high seas, international straits and archipelagic waters, are deeply embedded in the Law of the Sea Treaty. Crucially, insofar as claims to maritime territory and rights to development of seabed resources are concerned, the treaty provides for a technical body of experts—the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf—to assess and verify the competing claims of various states. Provision for law-based dispute settlement of conflicting claims is also provide for, as well as a framework for joint and cooperative development of such contested zones in the interim. Apart from the U.S., all other Arctic Council members have ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Sourabh Gupta is a Senior Research Associate at Samuels International Associates Inc., and Dr. Ashok K. Roy is the Vice President for Finance & Administration / Chief Financial Officer for the University of Alaska system.
Read more
Opinion: Project and protect U.S. interests in the Arctic
Seattle Times
September 28, 2012
… [T]he U.S. cannot get the international Convention on the Law of the Sea ratified in the Senate despite the efforts of Republican and Democratic presidents. The U.S. has territorial, economic and environmental interests at stake in the Arctic. Act on those challenges. Provide the Coast Guard with the tools to do its job.
Lance Dickie is a Seattle Times columnist.
Read more
Opinion: Rising Temperatures
New York Times / International Herald Tribune
September 13, 2012
Why this dash to the North Pole? An ice-free Arctic holds the promise of undiscovered oil and gas deposits and of shipping lanes that could cut the travel distance between Rotterdam and Yokohama by about 4,450 miles. Unfortunately the legal framework in place to facilitate international cooperation is weak, and it is being further undermined by the unilateral actions of Arctic nations seeking to enforce their claims to a slice of the territory. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows countries to extend their territory beyond 200 nautical miles along a “natural extension” of their continental shelf. The five countries with Arcticcoastlines — Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark (via Greenland) — have 10 years from the date they ratify the Law of the Sea to submit their claims. Russia ratified the convention in 1997; the United States has signed but not yet ratified.
Elizabeth Plantan is a doctoral student at Cornell University focusing on environmental politics in Russia and China.
Read more
Opinion: The South China Sea and the Law of the Sea
Council on Foreign Relations
September 6, 2012
As I’ve written before, it is high time for the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. With tensions rising in the South and East China Seas, the need is only growing.

Stewart M. Patrick is the Director of Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Read more