Turkey of the Sea

Published August 31, 2004

Your editorial of August 22 embracing the Law of the Sea Treaty accuses the opposition of being “right-wing … xenophobic activists.” Calling names indicates to me that you lack persuasive arguments.

In the 1970s I was the Treasury representative on the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea. I was the sole economist in a sea of lawyers. As such I was able to see the danger of an emerging worldwide minerals cartel based on the OPEC model. I was also distressed to see that the dispute settlement mechanism was cluttered with irrelevant considerations and potential judges who had an agenda of ruling against developed country interests. Moreover, this flawed treaty and its huge bureaucracy would have the U.S. taxpayer picking up 25% of the cost.

As for the navigational freedoms, they were reinforced by a vote in 1981. They were never in danger since the U.S. military would not let the restrictions interfere with protecting vital national interests.

If one has to call something by a derogatory name, I suggest referring to the LOST as the Turkey of the Sea.

Jim Johnston ([email protected]) is a member of the Board of Directors of The Heartland Institute. This letter to the editor was submitted to the New York Times on August 22, 2004.