George Will has joined Dick Morris and other media figures in fearmongering over the United States potentially joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea. Will's position puts him at odds with Republican senators, military leaders, and five former Republican secretaries of state, with the latter writing that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests."
In his Washington Post column, Will argued that the Law of the Sea treaty would undermine U.S. sovereignty by "empowering a U.N. bureaucracy":
For centuries there has been a law of the sea. There might be marginal benefits from LOST's clarifications and procedures for resolving disputes arising from that law -- although China and the nations involved in contentious disputes about the South China Sea have all ratified LOST, not that it seems to matter. But those hypothetical benefits are less important than LOST's actual derogation of U.S. sovereignty by empowering a U.N. bureaucracy -- the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Jamaica -- to give or withhold permission for mining, and to transfer perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. wealth to whatever nation it deems deserving -- "on the basis of equitable sharing criteria, taking into account the interests and needs of developing states, particularly the least developed and the land-locked among them."
Will's fearmongering over the treaty echoes that of others in the right-wing media in recent months. Morris has repeatedly used his platform as a Fox News contributor to push numerous falsehoods about the treaty and claim that it is part of a plot by the Obama administration to create a "one world government." Conservative pundit and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin and others in the right-wing media have similarly fearmongered about the treaty.
In fact, five former Republican secretaries of state -- Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice -- have come out in strong support of the United States joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea, writing in a May 30 Wall Street Journal op-ed that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests." (Will acknowledged their support of the treaty, but dismissed it in favor of an argument by Donald Rumsfeld, who he said is "five times more persuasive than these former secretaries of state.")
Moreover, the Law of the Sea Treaty 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, that time by a 17-4 vote. Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the treaty "supports national security interests," and former President George W. Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty in 2007, stating that it would "secure U.S. sovereign rights."