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Obama’s LOST Legacy: a new world order

Obama is seeking a lasting, globally-impacting legacy. Unfortunately, the one he has in mind involves handing over governance of seventy percent of the earth's surface to an unelected chamber

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Are you sure, Barack?
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Peter C. Glover
On 11 June 2012 10:22

So who cares if Obama wants, as part of his legacy, to do what Ronald Reagan refused to do and sign up the United States to LOST, the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty? Well if you are a small government, liberty-loving American, or citizen anywhere in the free world, you should. Here’s why. 

US ratification of this Treaty would effectively grant governance of the bulk of the world’s surface area, its navigable waterways and access to what lies beneath – i.e. the world’s deepwater energy riches, not only fishing rights – to an unelected, anti-US, rabidly anti-Israeli, anti-free market, anti-capitalist body; where those in the democratic West can easily be outvoted. 

Sound good to you?

For many Lost is a far-flung fictional fantasy about people facing a dangerous new world that poses unique threats. LOST also offers a new world of unique threats – but is an only too real, clear and present danger. It just so happens, when it comes to ambitions for an expanded Law of the Sea Treaty, that what is in the best interests of the United States is also in the best interest of the free world. No matter that much of the rest of the world may have already attempted to sign away some of their sovereign rights under LOST. Quite simply, without US ratification (and its naval power), LOST remains a largely meaningless document. It is essential that it stays that way. 

The problem with transnational governance of any kind is that on an administrative level it ties up sovereign claims in bureaucratic red tape for years. Meanwhile the world’s ‘less’ democratic leaders, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, will do as they always have: ignore them altogether. Russia has effectively already annexed around 60 percent of the Arctic. We’ve all seen the International Criminal Court of Justice in action. Those hauled up before it are far more likely to die of old age than receive justice. Imagine an international tribunal, with all manner of agendas, demanding governments and successful companies stump up billions of dollars in fines, compensations and ‘reparations’ to be ‘redistributed’ at the whim and collusion of some of the world’s leading dictators.

A little harsh? Then consider the UN’s track record.

LOST, the story so far

With bemusing short-sightedness, the key supporters of LOST or, to give it its alternative title, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), are pushing ratification both as a “tool to expand and confirm American sovereignty” and as a “peace tool for the US”. The treaty has been on the books since 1982 garnering wide Western support until Ronald Reagan grounded it, perceiving it to be a threat to US sovereign interests. But President Obama, it seems, sees adoption as part of his legacy.

In mid-May the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council held a forum at which US politicians, businesses and even national security leaders gave their support to the Treaty. Currently, Senator John Kerry is operating as the administration’s point man. Kerry is holding a series of public hearings to garner further support for the US to ratify LOST. Secretary for Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey (amazingly the US Navy thinks it’s a good idea) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – all avid proponents of adopting the Treaty – have all been called to give evidence.

The thinking runs that the US needs to secure its rights to the vast mineral resources on its extended continental shelf, not least in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The fact is, however, under existing international law and US policy, America already has access to these areas. And it’s hard to see anyone arguing the fact given US naval clout; which brings us full circle to what’s really going on here. And for those who love liberty and freedom, it turns out to be far more than controlling just US wealth and sovereign rights, as the rush for the Arctic’s subsea energy riches exemplifies.

The USGS estimates that the Arctic has around 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered energy resources, with 84 percent of that figure in deepwater. It is clearly a whole new energy frontier. While various claims to Arctic regions, as well as other energy-rich areas of the world, have been lodged with the UNCLOS, tensions between the Arctic’s littoral states, Russia, Canada, Norway Denmark (Greenland), the US and Iceland have been ratcheting up with the larger states, particularly Russia, militarizing their claimed regions. The argument from the American left is that as the US has not ratified UNCLOS/LOST it does not have a seat at, what they view, as the UN’s prospective arbitration table. Indeed, the US has notably not submitted any claims to UNCLOS. And without US co-operation any decisions currently made by UNCLOS won’t count for much.

In 2010 I attended the inaugural meeting of The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue which has translated into an annual forum on all matters Arctic hosted by the Russian Geographical Society, sponsored by Putin himself. Those attending included members of another key international forum, the Arctic Council, made up of representatives of all the littoral Arctic states. Bottom line: international ‘jaw-jaw’ forum to deal with everything ‘Arctic’ already exist. So why is a new UN convention with global reach necessary? And who, precisely, thinks it’s a good idea? Let’s take the second issue first.

Usual suspects

Washington Times’ Frank Gaffney describes those pushing for the US to sign up to LOST as “usual suspects – the environmentalists, the one-worlder trans-nationalists, the Obama administration” and other “short-sighted special interests”. Yep, leftwing social engineers all. And US ratification of LOST would give the world’s greatest naval power no more than a single vote at a table chaired by the UN. De-superpowered at a bureaucratic stroke and giving the world’s leading talking shop the chance to rake in a huge ‘tax and penalty’ bonanza from the vast deepwater energy resources on continental shelves.

America signing up to LOST would effectively require it to pay tax royalties to the UN’s International Seabed Authority. It would also become subject to UN powers of arbitration over disputed waters. At a whim, the UN bureaucracy could level economic penalties for all sorts of alleged infractions. The UN would, at last, have found a potentially bottomless pit of independent income, mostly at US expense. Greenpeace and other lobbies would salivate at the prospect of suing the US and other countries to force them to sign up to that which has thus far eluded them: a legally-binding climate deal. All in all, ratification of LOST would provide the UN – the same organisation that has elected Iran to the Commission on Women’s Rights and recently invited Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe to become a UN Ambassador – with what the Washington Times’ Ed Fuelner rightly describes as “an economic wrecking ball”.

President Obama may or may not be out of office come November but he wants a lasting, globally-impacting legacy. And ‘internationalist’ legacies don’t come much bigger than being instrumental in handing governance of seventy percent of the earth’s surface to an unelected Star Chamber, supported and dominated by one world nutjobs, enviro-freaks, international despots and self-aggrandizing bureaucrats.

Quite a legacy, Barack.

Peter C Glover is the International Associate Editor, Energy Tribune & author of Energy and Climate Wars, Power Politics: The Inside Track On Energy For more: www.petercglover.com

Read more on: Peter C Glover, Peter C Glover and Obama, Obama and Russia, arctic drilling, arctic energy exploration, Obama and LOST, Obama UN, UN Law of the Sea Treaty, reagan, UN anti-Israel bias, Russia and the UN, Reagan and the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, Why the UN Law of the Sea Treaty would be a disaster for the free world, Russia and the Arctic, Canada and the Arctic, Why the UN is useless, Sovereignty and the UN, Obama foreign policy, greenpeace, and UN and Mugabe
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