Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reagan Must Be Spinning In His Grave

The withdrawal of America from multinational agreements is not new. If anything, we've been at it for 25 years and more.

So one wonders what this is about?
The Bush administration is urging the U.S. Senate to ratify the Convention of the Law of the Sea. The treaty provides universal legal standards for shipping, fishing, and mining and codifies customary navigation and transit principles already followed by most states. Proponents of the convention, including President Bush, say it will enhance U.S. security on the high seas. But a number of conservative lawmakers remain concerned the treaty may harm U.S. industry and hinder counterterrorism efforts.
Fair enough, except that Ronald Reagan refused to endorse (meaning the Senate was never presented with) this treaty. He claimed that the seabed mining standards were unfair to America.

OK, fair enough. The standards were adjusted in 1994. Still, support for the treaty, particularly among Republicans, was tepid, even into the 21st century:
As former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Jeanne Kirkpatrick told the U.S. Senate in April 2004: “The formula for representation guaranteed that the industrialized ‘producer’ countries would be a permanent minority.”
So why is Bush hot to trot with this?

Here's why:For those of you still on dial-up...
In the next few hours, Russian scientists hope to dive in two mini-submarines to a depth of more than 4,000 metres, and drop a metal capsule carrying the Russian flag onto the seabed. Balyasnikov said the dive was to start this morning and last several hours. Each submarine will carry three people.

The symbolic gesture, along with geologic data being gathered by expedition scientists, is intended to prop up Moscow's claims to about 1.2 million square kilometres of the Arctic shelf, which, by some estimates, may contain about 9 billion tonnes of oil and gas deposits.
(emphasis added, and that's metric tons or about 20 billion imperial tons)

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Now I see, said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw!

But there's still another piece to the puzzle. Currently, five nations have claim to the seabed under the North Pole: Russia, Canada, Denmark (by way of a ridge that runs to Greenland), and Norway. And the US. But the US claim is unenforceable because we never signed the Law Of The Sea treaty!

Disgusting little man, isn't he?