Rabkin Cited in Washington Times Editorial

The Senate should defeat the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) maintains a Washington Times editorial, citing the opinions of Professor Jeremy Rabkin in its assertion that the most dangerous aspect of the treaty is the damage it would do to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and to stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Under the treaty, the United States would be bound by the judgment of foreign arbitrators who might be opposed to efforts on behalf of U.S. national security, thus creating serious legal problems in maintaining appropriate U.S. defense.

Editorials: Defeat the Law of the Sea Treaty, The Washington Times, November 13, 2007.

"But what is most disturbing about the treaty is the damage it would do to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University and a foremost scholar on international law, points out that Article 88 of LOST declares that 'the high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes,' and makes no mention of exceptions in time of war. That omission was foolish 25 years ago and it's dangerously lethal in an era of state-supported Islamic jihad. The treatymakes no mention at all of 'terrorism,' for understandable reasons: The U.N., unlike the rest of us, has been unable even to agree on a definition of terrorism.

"LOST would create serious legal problems for U.S. defense planners. Could the U.S. military continue the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a Bush administration program led by John Bolton, the former undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, which focuses on interdicting chemical, biological and nuclear weapons components on the high seas? Under Mr. Bolton, it broke the Pakistan-based A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, collaborators in terror with Libya, Iran and North Korea. Could the United States under LOST intercept planes carrying terrorists, such as the men who murdered an American passenger aboard the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985? The answers are not clear.

"The United States argues that PSI and the Achille Lauro interception are perfectly legal; terrorists and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction argue that both U.S. actions were illegal. Under LOST, this question would be submitted to international arbitration. Under Article 296, Paragraph 1 of the treaty, the United States would be required to accept the results as authoritative. Under the treaty, for example, in a dispute between, say, the United States and Iran, the two countries would choose an equal number of arbitrators, with the tiebreaking vote made by someone chosen by the U.N. Secretary-General. The Bush administration counters that there are 'safeguards' in the treaty that would allow the United States to exempt 'legitimate military activities' from the treaty's constraints. But these are empty 'safeguards.' The United States would be forced to choose between a robust response to terrorism and submitting its judgment to foreign judges who might not be particularly interested in the national security of the United States."

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