WASHINGTON – In a move that has already angered some of his most ardent supporters, President Bush has asked the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate to revive a proposal for ratification of the United Nation's Law of the Sea Treaty, an international agreement defeated two years ago by Republican leadership in the upper house.
Critics say ratification would compromise U.S. sovereignty and place 70 percent of the Earth's surface under the control of the U.N. – even providing for a "tax" that would be paid directly to the international body by companies mining in the world's oceans.
The battle over the Law of the Sea Treaty first began 25 years ago, eventually being torpedoed by President Reagan. It resurfaced in 2004 under the sponsorship of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and was successfully defeated by then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
President Bush announced his intention to seek reintroduction of LOST for ratification to a small group of trusted Republican grass-roots organizers last week – an announcement that was met with horror and scorn.
Eagle Forum leader Phyllis Schlafly, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, Free Congress Foundation founder Paul Weyrich and leaders of the Heritage Foundation were quick to denounce the idea in forceful terms, calling on their members to begin lobbying the White House immediately.
LOST has long had the support of environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council.
It would establish rules governing the uses of the of the world's oceans – treating waters more than 200 nautical miles off coasts as the purview of a new international U.N. bureaucracy, the International Seabed Authority
The ISA would have the authority to set production controls for ocean mining, drilling and fishing, regulate ocean exploration, issue permits and settle disputes in its own new "court."
Companies seeking to mine or fish would be required to apply for a permit, paying a royalty fee
Critics also point out the new U.N. agency would have the right to compete directly with private companies in those profit-making activities.
The U.S. would have only one vote of 140 – and no veto power as it has on the U.N. Security Council.
The Bush administration claims the initiative for reintroduction of the treaty comes from the military, which likes the 12-mile territorial limits it places on national claims to waters. Yet, critics point out international law already protects non-aggressive passage, including non-wartime activities of military ships.
One of the main authors of LOST not only admired Karl Marx but was an ardent advocate of the Marxist-oriented New International Economic Order. Elisabeth Mann Borgese, a socialist who ran the World Federalists of Canada, played a critical role in crafting and promoting LOST, as WND reported in 2005.
Borgese was hailed by her U.N. supporters as the "Mother of the Oceans" or "First Lady of the Oceans." She died in 2002.
The youngest daughter of the German novelist Thomas Mann, Borgese openly favored world government, wrote for the left-wing The Nation magazine and was a member of a "Committee to Frame a World Constitution." She served as director of the International Center for Ocean Development and chairman of the International Oceans Institute at Dalhousie University in Canada.
The U.N. Environment Program, UNEP, has said that Borgese recognized the oceans as "a possible test-bed for ideas she had developed concerning a common global constitution."
Borgese received UNEP's "Environment Prize" in 1987 and was credited with organizing the conferences that "served to lay the foundation" for the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, according to Dalhousie University, which houses her archives.
In a 1995 speech, pro-U.N. Democratic Sen. Claiborne Pell said Borgese's ideas were "embodied in the negotiated texts of the Law of the Sea Convention."
Her ideas included recognizing the oceans as the "common heritage of mankind" and creating an International Seabed Authority to charge U.S. and foreign companies for the right to mine the ocean floor.
In a January 1999 speech, Borgese declared, "The world ocean has been, and is, so to speak, our great laboratory for the making of a new world order."
In an article titled, "The New International Economic Order and the Law of the Sea," she argued that the pact could "reinforce" the goals of the NIEO by giving Third World countries a role in managing access to the oceans.
In a 1997 interview, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster Philip Coulter asked Borgese about the collapse of Soviet-style communism and the triumph of the "elites."
Borgese replied "there is a strong counter-trend. It's not called socialism, but it's called sustainable development, which calls ... for the eradication of poverty. There is that trend and that is the trend that I am working on."
The concept of "sustainable development," considered a euphemism for socialism or communism, has been embraced in various pronouncements by the U.N. and even the U.S. government.
In her book, "The Oceanic Circle: Governing the Seas as a Global Resource," she approvingly cites Karl Marx, the father of communism, as someone with "amazing foresight" about the problems faced by urban and rural societies. The book is available from the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
In an article co-authored with an international lawyer, Borgese noted how LOST stipulates that the oceans "shall be reserved for peaceful purposes" and that "any threat or use of force, inconsistent with the United Nations Charter, is prohibited."
She argued LOST prohibits the ability of nuclear submarines from the U.S. and other nations to rove freely through the world's oceans.