Memo To Dick Morris: Five GOP Secretaries Of State Say It's "Time To Join" Sea Treaty
Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD
Five former Republican Secretaries of State have come out in strong support of the United States joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea. Will Dick Morris and others in the right-wing media stop fearmongering about it now?
In a May 30 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the past five GOP Secretaries of State -- Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice -- wrote that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests." From their op-ed:
The convention's primary functions are to define maritime zones, preserve freedom of navigation, allocate resource rights, establish the certainty necessary for various businesses that depend on the sea, and protect the marine environment. Flaws in the treaty regarding deep-seabed mining, which prevented President Ronald Reagan from supporting it, were fixed in 1994. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have supported ratification, as do Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, because it is in the best interest of our nation. Yet the U.S. remains one of the few major countries not party to the convention.
The treaty provides substantial economic benefits to the U.S. It accords coastal states the right to declare an "Exclusive Economic Zone" where they have exclusive rights to explore and exploit, and the responsibility to conserve and manage, living and nonliving resources extending 200 nautical miles seaward from their shoreline. Our nation's exclusive zone would be larger than that of any country in the world--covering an area greater than the landmass of the lower 48 states. In addition, the zone can be extended beyond 200 nautical miles if certain geological criteria are met; this has significant potential benefits where the U.S.'s continental shelves may be as broad as 600 miles, such as off Alaska, where vast natural resources lie.
During the past month, Morris has taken to Fox to fearmonger over the U.S. joining the treaty, claiming that it's part of a plot by the Obama administration to create a "one world government" and pushing numerous falsehoods about the treaty. Michelle Malkin has similarly fearmongered about the treaty.
The Law of the Sea treaty also has previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate; in 2004, the GOP-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended ratification. In 2007, the committee again recommended ratification by a 17-4 vote. Former Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has said the treaty "supports national security interests," and former President George W. Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty in 2007.