Thursday, February 25, 2010

CIA and Law of the Sea

It's not often that the U.S. is on the same side as Iran and North Korea. But on ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, they are. In an interesting essay, David Helvarg provides some background on the somewhat puzzling American refusal to sign a treaty they for the most part agree with, except for the provisions on deep-sea mining outside of EEZs. As it turns out, no U.S. companies really wanted to take on the probably unremunerative challenge of figuring out how to mine the deep seas. Helvarg notes that even with U.S.-initiated changes to the objectionable deep-sea mining provisions, and support for ratification from known liberal internationalists such as the U.S. Navy and the oil industry, a few die-hard anti-U.N. lawmakers are making sure we don't move forward.

Most of the oceans lie outside EEZs. Protecting them and their resources is a task for the whole world and U.S. intransigence on widely-accepted ocean policy like UNCLOS doesn't win us any friends. Ratification of UNCLOS is long overdue, and would demonstrate that the U.S. is a team player when it comes to ocean law.

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