One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Yesterday our country celebrated Memorial Day--a day set aside to honor the over 1 million servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in the service of this country and the millions of others who have been wounded while protecting our nation and its freedoms.

When we recall all that our military men and women have endured so that we could become and remain a sovereign nation, it is especially sad and disturbing to see that so many in the United States are now determined to throw away our freedoms and even our national sovereignty with both hands.

Followers of this blog know that I normally write about over-reaching government on a federal, state and local level, especially as it pertains to property rights and the rights of small business owners.  But today, I am taking a moment to discuss a violation of national sovereignty so egregious that it cannot be ignored--the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) which Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and many Senators are currently attempting to force upon us.

LOST is an extremely appropriate acronym for the Law of the Sea Treaty. If the U.S. Senate ratifies this treaty, for the first time in our nation's history we will be giving what amounts to taxing authority to an international body (the United Nations). Under Article 82 of the treaty, royalties from natural resources located more than 200 nautical miles from our shores (the extended continental shelf) will no longer belong to the United States.  Instead, these royalties will be turned over to the International Seabed Authority, a new authority created by the treaty and based in Kingston, Jamaica.  The ISA will have sole discretionary power over the distribution of  these funds (which according to an opinion piece last week co-authored by John Cornyn and Orrin Hatch are estimated by the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task force to be valued at "billions if not trillions" of dollars.)  And since the purpose of the ISA is to distribute cash and technology from the "developed" to the "undeveloped" world, they can choose to send this money to any Third World dictatorship or aspiring government they wish--even to "peoples who have not attained full independence or other self-governing status." 

Our own country is about 15 trillion dollars in debt and growing thanks to years of bad decisions, and now the Senate wants to give away one potentially powerful source of revenue to a international body who will spread our funds around the world as they see fit.  Additionally, we would be legally obligated to share our mining and resource recovery technology--just in case some of these undeveloped nations can't figure out how to retrieve the resources after we turn them over to the ISA.  That technology and those resources will likely end up in the hands of enemy nations who use what we have discarded to fund actions against us.

Those who favor LOST believe that turning control of the oceans over to the UN will ensure peace.  That's actually the job of the U.S. navy--to protect our waters and our interests on the seas. Under LOST, it will become the job of the UN.  Interestingly, LOST has been in effect for over a decade, although the U.S. Senate has never ratified the treaty.  The nations who are currently members, such as China, do not obey its provisions now.  Yet, we are supposed to believe that if we sign onto this travesty and begin abiding by it, all of the other nations of the world who have already signed onto its provisions will also begin to obey its terms.  What nonsense! Never should we consider allowing an international authority to take our money, our technology and our rights as a nation to protect ourselves.

Ronald Reagan refused to sign this dog of a treaty in 1982.  He had the right idea.  Now LOST is back--last Wednesday Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) led a hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations committee on LOST.  The committee featured testimony from proponents of LOST who are pushing the Senate to now ratify the treaty.  Fortunately Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Sen James Inhofe (R-Ok) each stood against LOST's ratification by pointing out the huge financial losses to the U.S. that the treaty will cause. The House of Representatives does not ratify treaties, but it does fund the operations of the government, and a few days ago it approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which will ban federal funds from being used to implement LOST if the treaty is ratified.

The American people need to stand up against LOST by getting informed about its provisions and letting their Senators know that these provisions are unacceptable.  Sen. Kerry has promised more hearings on LOST this summer.  We need to let our Senators know that we expect each of them to uphold our national sovereignty and to reject all attempts by the United Nations to infringe on that sovereignty.  If we refuse to stand up now, we will soon wake up to discover that all so many have worked, fought and died for over the past 236 years is truly lost and gone forever.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen. For more information, visit her website at