Was the Law of the Sea Treaty Lost on Purpose?

Yesterday’s Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) hearing did not get much press coverage. Only a handful of articles were written on the hearing; in fact, Politico’s morning email dedicated exclusively to defense issues didn’t even mention it.

Is it possible that proponents of the treaty want it that way? Considering who the proponents are – Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Navy, oil companies and environmentalists – it seems odd that such an issue would not be plastered everywhere in the media.

If these heavy hitters wanted to make a serious push for this treaty, they could certainly get the media to take their side, or at the very least cover the issue. Considering that this treaty has been stalled and buried for 30 years, it could just be that they don’t want media attention in order to attempt to quietly pass the treaty under the radar. Even though the Obama Administration claims to support this treaty, they haven’t rolled out the red carpet for it like they did for the New START Treaty during the 2010 lame duck session. One of the few articles written, buried in the New York Times calls attention to this suspicious absence on the part of the White House:

“Despite sending a marquee delegation to testify before Congress, the White House has not exactly championed the treaty, certainly not like the New Start arms reduction treaty with Russia, which was pushed ardently by President Obama.”

Where are the press conferences, statements and strong arming by the Administration? Maybe it’s because they realized how painful and damaging a treaty that hurts America is as an issue – especially during an election-year.

Also in the NYT piece was the revelation of the point at which proponents of LOST will drag opponents into the gutter. When Senator James Risch (R-ID) told Secretary Clinton that this treaty would force the U.S. to commit to international greenhouse gas emission standards, Sec. Clinton mocked who don’t agree with her:

“Mr. Risch seemed particularly rankled by Mrs. Clinton’s contention that the treaty’s opponents were driven by ‘ideology and mythology,’ not facts. ‘I hope you weren’t scoffing at us,’ he said. ‘I’m one of those that fall into that category.’”

It would make sense for proponents to derided those who see the truth about this treaty and to then bury it from the public arena, because if the American people were actually subjected to an open, honest debate – as Senator Kerry has claimed he wants – then they would find out just damaging to America’s sovereignty this treaty is.

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