Current News

Rabkin in Congressional Quarterly: Law of the Sea Treaty in America's Best Interest?

With a late September hearing, the Senate began anew a push for ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, a treaty whose ratification Professor Jeremy Rabkin fears may prove not to be in the best interest of the United States.

Rabkin voices concern for the intended international tribunals that will settle disputes about waterways and mineral rights under the treaty, fearing that the United States might suffer a loss of control over its own decisions.

"You do not gain prestige by giving in to the American view," Rabkin maintains. "You gain prestige by showing you do not give in to the American view."

'Law of the Sea' Treaty, Adrift for Years, Has Chance of Senate Ratification, Congressional Quarterly, September 26, 2007. By Adam Graham-Silverman.

Excerpt:
"'We would completely lose our sovereignty,' said James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., who has already been lobbying the Senate moderates he would need to sink the treaty once again.

"Other opponents, such as Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, have been holding conferences and giving briefings on Capitol Hill.

"Inhofe said the United States should not give up any power while at war, pointing to the U.N. Security Council, where nations such as Russia and China have stymied U.S. efforts to rein in state sponsors of terrorism.

"The treaty also would set up international tribunals to settle disputes about waterways and mineral rights. Without ratification, backers say, the United States has no seat at the table in such disputes. Unless the United States signs, they say, it will forfeit its voice to the 155 nations that have signed on so far.

"But Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University, said that U.S. officials should not count on decisions made under the treaty to support U.S. interests.

"'You do not gain prestige by giving in to the American view,' he said. 'You gain prestige by showing you do not give in to the American view.'"