Should L.O.S.T. Sink or Swim?

The United States has debated whether to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea, otherwise known as the Law of the Sea Treaty or "LOST," for over twenty years. It was opposed by the Reagan Administration, but some Republicans are giving it a second look, adn the Bush Administration is now pushing for Senate Ratification.

Vern Clark and Thomas Pickering argue in today's NYT that LOST makes sense for the United States, particularly on national security grounds.

The treaty provides our military the rights of navigation, by water and by air, to take our forces wherever they must go, whenever it is necessary to do so. Our ships — including vessels that carry more than 90 percent of the logistic and other support for our troops overseas — are given the right of innocent passage through the territorial seas of other states. In addition, the treaty permits American warships to board stateless vessels on the high seas.

The treaty also provides an absolute right of passage through, over and under international straits and through archipelagoes like Indonesia. These rights — the crown jewels of the treaty — did not exist before 1982, when the Convention was concluded. Our security and economic interests are tied directly to these rights. . . .

Our national security interests alone should be sufficient to persuade the Senate to act now. But the Convention also advances the economic interests of our country. It gives us an exclusive economic zone out to 200 miles, with sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the living and non-living natural resources of the zone. Coastal states are given sovereign rights over the continental shelf beyond 200 miles if the shelf meets specific geological and other scientific criteria. Under the Convention, our Arctic continental shelf could extend out to 600 miles.

Law professors Jack Goldsmith and Jeremy Rabkin take a decidedly different view, arguing here that the treaty could hamper U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Specifically, they worry that under LOST U.S. efforts to interdict arms shipments could be second-guessed by international tribunals dominated by foreign judges who might be hostile to U.S. interests and opposed to American "unilaterlaism."

Daniel Drezner has more thoughts here, as do the folks at Opinio Juris here.

James B. (mail):
Sink! Lost is played out. John Locke's character makes no sense. Jack is an idiot. Sayeed and Sawyer should never have been cowered by that lady from the Others! And they plan on 16 episodes for the next 3 years. Forget it!
7.15.2007 10:36pm
Warmongering Lunatic (mail):
Of course, what's not mentioned by the NYT article is the U.S. has already claimed all the rights LOST would guarantee on territorial sea, exclusive economic zones, continental shelf, and free passage—as did essentially every other country that followed our lead in 1982, even the ones who have subsequently ratified LOST. So they're all now rights under customary international law, and as the country with a navy more powerful than the combined navies of the entire rest of the world, we don't actually need the LOST to protect those rights.
7.15.2007 10:54pm
John (mail):
I would just add to Warmongering Lunatic's excellent points, which are confirmed in the links within Jonathan's post, that the other issues that supposedly favor the U.S. all subject the U.S.'s conduct in pursuit of them to review by international tribunals. It is very hard to see that those tribunals will ever have any interpretations that are favorable to us. E.g., what counts as military operations--which are exempt from some of the requirements of the treaty--is not defined. It will be defined when we do something that we think is military and exempt. And it will not be defined in a way that agrees with us--unless we can expect the Russians and Chinese, etc., who will be among the judges, to take an unbiased view of things.
7.15.2007 11:19pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Lunatic, you've isolated the big problem for those who advocate signing on to the convention. We've already got the benefits we want from it, why should we sign on for things like the UN Law of the Sea Tribunal?

Clark and Pickering note that the "crown jewels of the treaty" didn't exist in law before the convention was created. But so what? They're customary law now. Advocates should be focusing on the benefits we'll get for signing on now, rather than comparing the current state of affairs to the pre-1982 state of law.
7.15.2007 11:24pm
Warmongering Lunatic is exactly right.

Keep the Navy strong and LOST is unnecessary - you will have all the "rights" it gives you without a treaty.

Fail to keep the Navy strong and LOST is irrelevant - you will lose the "rights" it gives you, or only have those rights at the sufferance of the power with the strongest Navy.
7.16.2007 12:28am
It's hard to imagine a bigger fool's game than relying on treaties for security. Ask South Vietnam.
7.16.2007 12:29am
But but but if we had only joined the League of Nations, World War Two would have never happened!
7.16.2007 12:54am
If the New York Times and George W. Bush are for it, what could possibly be wrong with it?

No further study is required.
7.16.2007 12:56am
Albatross (www):
Am I the only one who thinks "LOST" is an unfortunate acronym?
7.16.2007 1:18am
Dave N (mail):
Albatross: I second you. I also agree with those who have expressed opposirion on the basis of giving foreign tribunals over ANYTHING.

While I trust our judicial system, I share no similar feelings for UN appointed bureaucrats who have their own politiical agendas.
7.16.2007 2:14am
martinned (mail) (www):

Strange, I've always been taught this treaty is abbreviated as UNCLOS. And yes, for most of the treaty it doesn't matter whether the US ratify, because even if it doesn't it still would be bound by the international customary law that is either written down in the treaty or established by it. In any event, the War on Terror is a stupid reason for ratifying, especially with something way more tasty in store: Manganese Nodules. (Wikipedia)

It sounds like something out of Star Trek, but it could one day become extremely useful and extremely valuable.

International Seabed Authority

The part of UNCLOS that deals with the exploitation of the Manganese Nodules

P.S. The constant knee-jerk US whining about any attempt to establish any form of supranational authority, even when we're talking about something that is covered by the Common Heritage of Mankind principle is getting a little old. Supranational organisations are the way of the future. (And that is obviously a good thing.) Get used to it.
7.16.2007 8:05am
The abbreviation I have always seen is LOSC (Law of the Sea Convention).
7.16.2007 8:32am
Not only are supranational organizations the wave of the future, but if we keep resisting them like we have we'll wind up with them constraining us. If we take the lead in recognizing them we'll be able to dominate the next generation of international orgs, like we did the last one.
7.16.2007 9:16am
Houston Lawyer:
Why should any future international organization be more friendly to us than the UN? Those who want us to join international organizations see the subsequent restraints on our sovereignty as a feature, not a bug.

Also, since this is a legal blog, we will have the usual cohort who believe that no decision is valid unless a judge makes it.
7.16.2007 9:57am
Justin (mail):
At some point in the future, China and "Europe" will be more important international players than we will. Then, the benefit to international cooperation will become more apparent.

Of course, we'll be likely to still be able to sign such treaties at that point. The question is whether our administrations will be a leader or a follower as to the text and interpretation of international law. I'd actually prefer THIS administration stay out of international affairs, so I'm okay with delaying ratification.
7.16.2007 10:05am
Houston Lawyer: Justin is right. If we join at the beginning, we get a greater say in the basic organizational structure and text of treaties. We give up some sovereignty, but are in a better position to ensure that others do too.

The UN's problems stem from the fact that it's a 1-country, 1-vote system where most countries' votes are in the hands of undemocratic, corrupt elites. Not all international treaties or international organizations are of a nature where that would be a problem (and Europe won't always be opposed to us either--it will in future often be useful to have institutional means for them to help us out).
7.16.2007 11:28am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Reagan was against it. Nuff said.

I have no confidence in Bush's judgment on most matters these days, and if his judgment is different from Reagan's than absent some material changes in the treaty since Reagan opposed it Bush is wrong AGAIN.

Says the "Dog"
7.16.2007 11:47am
plunge (mail):
It's pretty amazing to see the number of people here who's attitude is "we have all that we want because we can take it by force, so who cares about having a stable ratified body of law?"
7.16.2007 11:47am
occidental tourist (mail):

interesting and independent reasoning for delaying ratification at this time. I tend to wonder, however, whether our supplanting by emerging world powers would put us in a position that reliance on this style of treaty would actually be useful.

I don't see China, for instance, as particularly constrained by treaties or world opinion. Where there is a PR convenience to trying to skewer the United States and its relations in the international realm through support of such regimens, China finds it rational to cite such norms, but is otherwise unconstained.

Maybe, eventual signing on to such conventions as our world leadership wanes could in theory prove useful. Lets take Kyoto, for example. If we are a second tier power, then we could advocate for treaty exemptions for de-developing nations akin to the exemptions claimed by China and India presently.

Why do I think that isn't going to happen?! But I think your perspective provides a fresh engagement with these issues although I don't find it persuasive.

Meanwhile, my lengthy (What else is new) response to Chris Borgen's Debunking the Fearmongering on the Law of the Sea Treaty explains how it is difficult to see opposition to a 'War of Terror' initiative by this administration as a neo-con plot.

7.16.2007 11:53am
It's pretty amazing to see the number of people here who's attitude is "we have all that we want because we can take it by force, so who cares about having a stable ratified body of law?"

Realism 101: There is no authority above the state to enforce a "stable body of law", so in fact that body of law is not "stable", and "international law" only has meaning insofar as the most powerful states agree to abide by it.
7.16.2007 12:08pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> At some point in the future, China and "Europe" will be more important international players than we will. Then, the benefit to international cooperation will become more apparent.

What is it about China and Europe that suggests that either one will abide by international agreements that they feel are not to their benefit?

BTW - China is developing a Navy. The UK has one, but is losing it. The rest of Europe, not so much, and that's not changing.
7.16.2007 1:02pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
Supranational organisations are the way of the future. (And that is obviously a good thing.)

Having served in that kleptocratic pig's trough that passes itself off as "The United Nations," I would tend to disagree with your contention on the obvious goodness of Supranational organizations. They have to be judged on their own individual merits, and in the case of the UN, I think all I really need to do is to point out that Libya was recently chairing the UN Human Rights Commission. Handholding, singing Kumbaya and fantasizing about a Star Trek future where we're all good buddies on Earth, and it's us and super-intelligent hot chick aliens against bad guy aliens - yeah, that's a lot of fun to think about. The sad reality of it with kid-raping UN Peacekeepers and unaccountable fat cat socialist bureaucrats looting the agency for profit, is what I've come to expect. Somehow, having seen what I've seen, I just don't get the obvious goodness of supranational organizations. But then maybe I'm looking too closely at them, and we should welcome our new Japanese / African socialist overlords...
7.16.2007 1:23pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
I'm surprised it took a couple of weeks to reference the Washington Post July 1, article (mostly pro) to bring up the topic. The next day on July 2, the Washington times (totally con) also had this article.

It shouldn't matter who has the Presidency as Clinton presented it favorably to the Senate in 1994. So an opinion whether or not Bush or Reagan were for it sounds like an argument based on party line prejudice.

Personally, I'm for it. It would have allowed a U.S. warship hot pursuit of a pirated merchant last month that had to be cut short because the captured vessel entered Somali waters. Warning shots were ignored.

Member, U.S. Naval Institute, Navy League, Fleet Reserve Association
7.16.2007 1:30pm
martinned (mail) (www):

@Al Maviva: What I meant to indicate is that the kind of structural interconnectedness that a system of multi-level governance creates is a good thing, because it forces states and stakeholders to compromise, while making it harder for them to respond with violence. (Basically the 1950s EEC logic.)
That does not change the fact that there are always democratic deficit issues, and that each organisation needs to be judged by its own merits. That said, the logic of the current international system in many cases does not allow us to distinguish between democratic states and the rest to the extent that we would like. The reason for that is exactly what you are arguing in favour of: national sovereignity. In other words, your argument leads to a circular argument that does not improve the situation.

Instead, the UN approach, flawed as it may be, has always been to nibble away at the old paradigm, creating a body of international law that trumps national sovereignity interests, so that in some cases the international community can help those in need. In that respect, the new HR commission is already an improvement over the old one. However, the UN as much as any national government is dependent on the consent of the governed. All we can do is slowly but gradually promote the goals of democracy and civil liberties and equally slowly and gradually minimise the role of those states that do not adhere to such values. In other words: I see no obvious alternative to the current situation.
7.16.2007 1:33pm
Justin (mail):
China and "Europe" (as a combined entity), have far more people, and thus far more capacity in terms of economic power. Although the US's military power will be comparatively stronger for a longer period of time than its economic power, our folly in Iraq shows the limits on the usefulness of military power.
7.16.2007 1:43pm
Insignificant Dallasite:
I'd actually prefer THIS administration stay out of international affairs, so I'm okay with delaying ratification.

What makes you think any future administration will be better at conducting international affairs? Over the long term, surely some will be better, but some will be worse. Why gamble on it? And since when are so many of the VC posters not completely disgusted to be on the same side of an issue as Bush?
7.16.2007 1:45pm
Insignificant Dallasite:
Our "folly" in Iraq only shows the limits of the use of military might in place of diplomacy and the idiocy of relying on a supranational organization to "do the right thing". But it surely isn't a general comment on the value of a strong military. A screwdriver isn't the solution when the problem is a bolt, but that doesn't make screwdrivers any less useful.
7.16.2007 1:51pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
National interest will trump all.

I cite as an example the Paris Declaration of 1856 regarding privateering, neutral flags, contraband, and blockades. The U.S. had used privateers to it's advantage in previous wars and did not see any useful reason to accept the declaration.

That is until the U.S. Civil War.

At which time the Union saw a definite advantage in accepting the declaration during the war. It could be used politically and tactically against the Confederacy which did not. Politically because it denied the Confederacy an edge of legitimacy at sea. Tactically because the Union could use the Declaration to implement their blockade.

Acceptance of UNCLOS will come about if the U.S (regardless of who is in power,) decides whether it is in the national interest to do so -- or not.
7.16.2007 2:09pm
Justin (mail):

I am not going to get into a long winded discussion as to how and when military force leads to a credible threat, but I will say that regardless of whether you agree with or disagree with our Iraq policy, you are completely missing the point.
7.16.2007 2:31pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
The emeging US-Japan-Australia-India alliance will trump China in the Pacific/Asia area. India will soon have more people than China and its economic growth is on firmer foundations. Europe's importance will continue its long slow decline but it will continue, despite complaining, to generally follow the US lead.

As for Law of the Sea treaty, as long as we retain our overwhelming naval superiority, it does not matter if we ratify or not. It only comes into play when (or if) one other navy gains parity. Then, we benefit from legalalities. China is a long way from parity. If, a big if, China gains naval superiority, then it again does not matter.

Laws only have force when there is some entity big enough or strong enough to enforce them. In the international realm, as Iraq proves, laws do not stop big countries from doing what they want to smaller countries.
7.16.2007 2:49pm
I was tempted to post a long winded exposition of why I think ratification is a poor idea, but really all you have to say is Reagan opposed it, Bush II is for it. Q.E.D.
7.16.2007 2:49pm
Justin (mail):
I'm not sure why people think our naval strength is relevant to this discussion. The question is whether a legal framework is necessary to protect our rights, whether that legal framework will hurt us in any substantial way, and whether joining the legal framework is necessary to accomplish the framework's goals. Since we're not going to attack any other country (or their commercial ships) with our navy, and no other country is going to attack us with their navy, I'm not sure why people keep thinking our advanced navy is relevant to any particular part of the LOSC.

Now, if one can make the connection for me, from a strong navy to a particular point, I'll see it. But the concern from failing to join broad international agreements comes from economic costs, not military ones.
7.16.2007 3:07pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
My understanding was that part of the motivation to get on board this treaty would be that it would give us a seat on the tribunals and other entities that will decide the validity of russia's recent claims to regions that are now owned by no country near the north pole.
7.16.2007 3:10pm
Jay Myers:
Tracy Johnson:

Personally, I'm for it. It would have allowed a U.S. warship hot pursuit of a pirated merchant last month that had to be cut short because the captured vessel entered Somali waters. Warning shots were ignored.

Warning shots inform a target that they will be fired upon unless they heave to. Since our forces had no intention on firing upon the captured ship, those shots were nothing more than an impotent display of marksmanship. If our rules of engagement allowed firing upon a vessel seized by pirates then there would have been no need to pursue it into Somali waters.
7.16.2007 3:30pm
This international law thing is great! The UN just banned nuclear terrorism, so nuclear terrorism can't happen now. Martinned is right, these supranational organizations are just way cool.

UN convention against nuclear terrorism comes into effect

A new international convention against nuclear terrorism came into force on 7 July.

"The convention will help prevent terrorist groups from gaining access to the most lethal weapons known to man," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who described nuclear terrorism "as one of the most serious threats of our time".

The new international treaty, which has 115 signatories, needed 22 ratifications before it became international law.

The 22 ratifying parties that have expressed their willingness to implement the treaty are: Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Comoros, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary, India, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Officially titled 'The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism', the treaty outlaws specific, concrete acts of nuclear terrorism.

One of the objectives of the convention is protection against attacks involving a broad range of possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors.

Under the convention, all parties to the treaty will have to co-operate in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings.
7.16.2007 3:32pm
I'm not sure why people think our naval strength is relevant to this discussion.

You might as well say, "I'm not sure why people think a strong, effective police force is relevant to a discussion of the law." Who do you think is going to enforce your legal framework?
7.16.2007 3:56pm
Justin (mail):

When was the last time the US went to war over a treaty violation with an ally or even a neutral? Obviously, military enforcement mechanisms are way down the list in terms of ways of enforcing international legal frameworks.
7.16.2007 4:13pm
Justin (mail):
Jay and Tracy's argument brings up another benefit to international cooperation and treaties. It gives us more leverage and space to use small amounts of military force without risking escalation from third parties.
7.16.2007 4:16pm
When was the last time the US went to war over a treaty violation with an ally or even a neutral?

The US Navy uses force (lethal, when necessary) to protect allies and neutrals against piracy on a regular basis. There is almost no better example of military enforcement of an international legal framework!

The leaders of two United Nations agencies are urging more military patrols against pirates off the lawless coast of Somalia, where U.S. and allied warships have had a slew of run-ins with fighters who've hijacked ships and taken their crews hostage.
7.16.2007 4:53pm
Justin (mail):
Jeek, that example seems irrelevant vis a vis anyone who could even competently sign the LOSC. What you are talking about is more like using the navy as a police force, not as a military force, in any regards.

Your example does not involve, and is not relevant to, enforcing rights that we could simply achieve by signing the LOSC by, as an alternative, relying on the use of our navel power, which is the only relevant discussion here.
7.16.2007 6:09pm
Stan Peterson (mail):
I will not support the Law of the Seas Treaty for the bad predcedents that it establishes. when everyone owns something Nobody owns it anobody amintains or takes care or advantage of it.

This is the dilemma of the "devastation of the commons" result.

In but another decade or so, there will be a new gold rush as nations's try to mine the He3 on the moon. A single shuttle full of He3 could be worth $300-$700 billion dollars and provide all the energy a country like the USA uses in a year. A couple shuttle fulls, solves all Mankind's energy problems with a clean pollution free energy source. And we could only mine the moon for 20,000 years before the He3 got scarce.

And that is with a reactor that already worksand we know how to build.

For $30 billion you could build a fleet of shuttles and the astrounauts to mine the moon, of its surface dust, where the He3 is.
7.16.2007 6:22pm
Al Maviva:
Having served in that kleptocratic pig's trough that passes itself off as "The United Nations...''

Thoroughly accurate description of the UN, Al.

The UN is the ultimate proxy for a 'supranational organization.' We're not talking about the International Chess Federation here, folks. We're talking about people with a virulent hatred of America, and they will use their foreign tribunals to extort the maximum loot and prestige from the U.S.

During UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan's terms of office, he constantly pushed the UN's proposed ''World Tax.''

Just for starters, the UN's ''World Tax'' on America would begin at 0.7% of GDP -- over $100 billion per year, to be handed over to the completely opaque and unaccountable 100,000+ theftocrats on the UN's payroll. 'Smaller' [ie: socialist/communist] countries would be completely exempt from paying the tax, a la the Kyoto scam.

And now, the new UN honcho, Ban Ki Moon, has recently made speeches in favor of the UN's ''World Tax'' issue again, tying it in with 'global warming,' which should energize the especially dim-witted.

The ravenous hordes of America-hating kleptocrats and tin pot dictators sucking at the teat of the U.S. taxpayer are positively salivating at the prospect of getting their theiving hands deep into the pockets of American taxpayers.

This issue will not go away, because America is the target. And does any sane person believe that if the U.S. caves and agrees to pour hundreds of $billions per year into the disreputable UN, that the ''World Tax'' rate will remain at only 0.7%??

Folks, you can't trust 'em.
7.16.2007 7:22pm
Warmongering Lunatic (mail):
There are two ways to approach the problem of getting ships through (say) the Straits of Malacca.

The first is to sign UNCLOS and hope the neighboring countries honor their commitments and don't withdraw from the treaty, with the tribunal arbitrating disputes. The tribunal could add a bit of moral pressure, but might backfire because the tribunal decides to give the U.S. a black eye.

The second is to send ships through under customary international law, and hope the neighboring countries honor it.

Now, if we were, oh, Belgium, the best we could do is hope for peaceful permission. Since losing at the tribunal would have the same effect as not having one, it doesn't hurt and may help to take option #1.

However, when you have enough military strength to force passage, the calculations change. Now losing at the tribunal would makes it politically harder to use force, both on the domestic and international stages. If it makes it hard enough you can't (politically) use force, the straits wind up closed; you lose. You're better off without the tribunal, telling (say) Indonesia you're coming through, and attempts to stop you from exercising your rights will be met with force. Whether Indonesia backs down or tries to stand, your ships will get through.

So, because of the difference in military strength, it is entirely advantageous for Belgium to join UNCLOS, while the calculations are mixed for the U.S. And the economics don't justify joining, because we've taken the EEZ, and shelf rights, and territorial sea, and all the rest of any economic significance. So why ratify?

Oh, there are minor things—a positive Tribunal ruling on the status of the Northwest Passage, for example—that might even add up to a case for joining UNCLOS. But you'll note the UNCLOS advocates are, by and large, making their arguments in terms of economic rights that we've been exercising for 25 years without much difficulty. It comes down to the Navy and Coast Guard protecting the EEZ from Spanish fishermen anyway; the tribunal is a lot weaker guarantee than a destroyer.
7.16.2007 7:28pm
martinned (mail) (www):

@Smokey: I think we've gotten our wires crossed. Technical lingo, I guess. The UN is not a supranational organisation, it's an intergovernmental organisation. If I remember correctly, UNCLOS's International Seabed Authority comes closer to a supranational organisation, but the ultimate example is the EC. (Although one could argue that the Community has moved beyond international organisation and become somewhat of a state. Regardless, the way it was originally set up in 1957, it was a supranational organisation.)
7.16.2007 8:41pm
Jeek, that example seems irrelevant vis a vis anyone who could even competently sign the LOSC. What you are talking about is more like using the navy as a police force, not as a military force, in any regards.

As it happens, the issue of piracy and naval suppression of piracy is precisely relevant to the discussion of the CLOS. Article 100 says that all states have a duty to cooperate in the repression of piracy, and furthermore, article 107 says that it is the Navy that is supposed to do it:

A seizure on account of piracy may be carried out only by warships or military aircraft, or other ships or aircraft clearly marked and identifiable as being on government service and authorized to that effect.

Given the millenium-old tradition of using navies to suppress piracy, the contention that fighting pirates is a "police thing" and not something that navies do, is simply ridiculous.
7.16.2007 11:11pm
Justin (mail):

Maybe I'm missing the connection, but how exactly is that related to the concept that our navel superiority means we can take (from OTHER COUNTRIES) what we'd ordinarily need LOSC rights to achieve? Or that our military allows us to violate the LOSC vis a vis OTHER COUNTRIES?

Remember, the argument that I'm focusing on is not that the LOSC deals with stuff that requires naval forces to resolve. It's that we don't need the LOSC BECAUSE of our navel superiority vis a vis other major nations. And nobody seems to address THAT argument in any normal chain of logic.

If someone could show me how China would let us intrude upon their exclusive fishing zones because they lack the army to keep us out, then we'd be talking. But nobody's making any argument that appears to me even to be vaguely relevant to why our superior army to China and the EU means we don't need LOSC.

We may not need it anyway - my original post says for now its not a big deal because we're a strong enough economic superpower that nobody's going to directly attack our interests or sanction us for violating international norms - but once again, that's about our economic power, not about our navel power.
7.17.2007 12:33am
Justin (mail):
And Enoch,

The argument that you call rediculous I just don't get. Just because the LOSC requires people to use their military to help police international water doesn't mean the military is acting qua military - I think it would be far more ridiculous to say the LOSC is a declaration of war on pirates. That we use the navy to police international waters is obvious - but your argument that I am wrong, BECAUSE we're using a navy - seems a little.....circular, to me.

I stand by my original point, and the justification is trivial and irrelevant anyways, for the reason I mentioned in the above post.
7.17.2007 12:36am
Tracy Johnson (www):
Better get my 2 cents in before this blog closes...

Don't get me wrong, warning shots were not meant to hit, but garner the attention of the Pirates. UNCLOS would have allowed pursuit into Somali territorial waters. As it stands now the USN skipper had to cease and desist pursuit because his legal limitations.

Another benefit of UNCLOS is it would fit hand in glove with the USN sponsored 1000 ship navy concept put forth in 2005. (The general idea is so cooperating nations can pool their naval assets.)
7.17.2007 3:05pm
Justin, I had a good ROFLMAO about your use of the word "navel" in the above posts. If you can't even spell "naval", it's no surprise you don't understand what naval power is for, how it is used, or why it is important.

To answer your original questions: is this legal framework necessary to protect our rights? No. Could that legal framework will hurt us in any substantial way? Yes, it could. So we don't need it. Warmongering lunatic has already said all that needs to be said on that score.

Since we're not going to attack any other country (or their commercial ships) with our navy, and no other country is going to attack us with their navy,

Neither of these is true. We have attacked plenty of countries with our Navy in the past 20 years, and one can easily imagine other countries attacking us with their navies.
7.18.2007 1:21am