Clinton, top U.S. military leaders request passage of sea treaty
May 23rd, 2012
06:10 PM ET

Clinton, top U.S. military leaders request passage of sea treaty

By CNN National Security Producer Mike Mount

TheUnited Statesmust secure its rights for rare minerals and oil under the ocean before countries such asChinabegin to infringe on the country’s territorial rights, according to the nation’s top diplomat andU.S.military leaders.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey urged a Senate panel Wednesday to sign onto a long-opposed international sea treaty that they say will also strengthen the nation’s ability to apply military sea power.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations committee in a rare appearance together, the three leaders called on the Senate panel to pass the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas because it was a, “matter of utmost security and economic urgency.”

The treaty would give the U.S.a 200-mile exclusive economic zone off of its coastlines as well as access to mineral and other natural resource rights within that area but allows other signatories the right of transit within the economic zone.

The panel, led by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), led a mostly bipartisan supported group of senators in favor of signing onto the treaty which has been relatively ignored by theUnited Statessince 1994.  More than 160 nations are signed onto the treaty; theU.S.is the only major nation that has not signed it.

“Some of us have had the opportunity in the past to evaluate this treaty and even to vote on it in this committee.  I am personally deeply supportive of it, and I believe it is now more urgent than ever that we ratify it because to remain outside of it is fundamentally directly counter to the best interests of our country,” Kerry said.

Proponents of the treaty say signing onto the treaty will strengthen theU.S.hand against developing countries likeRussiaandChina, which are already staking out claims in the Pacific, and theArctic.

Kerry said it would also giveU.S.oil and gas companies the certainty they need to make, “crucial investments to secure our energy future.”

But members who are against it say it will tie the hands of the U.S Navy to operate freely around the world as well as forcing theU.S.to submit to other agreements not agreed to by theU.S.government.

“This treaty would subordinate American sovereignty to the United Nations, impose an international tax on U.S. energy production that would raise costs for American families, and act as a backdoor Kyoto Protocol that could allow foreign nations to regulate U.S. energy emissions,”  according to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Secretary of State Clinton denied the claims by DeMint and others on the panel and said she is certain signing the treaty would be in the best interest of theUnited States, not other countries.

“I believe so vehemently that acceding to this treaty is inAmerica's sovereign interest or I would not be sitting here,”Clintonsaid.

Sen. Kerry said he would not bring the treaty signing to a vote before the presidential election so electoral politics would not be involved in a debate on the issue.

He said he would also hold numerous more hearings prior to a vote to address concerns dissenting members have on the treaty.

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Filed under: Boxer • Clinton • Congress • Hillary Clinton • Military • Navy • Panetta • Panetta • Secretary of Defense • Secretary of State • Senate • State Department
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. kmw1313

    Man it was hard finding anything about this treaty on CNN.
    Barely any comments, too.
    Wow!
    This is a big deal and not a lot of journalism going on about it.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  2. Mike

    A small group of LIBERAL minded military officers and a whole bunch of ideological Democratic socialists will try and slam this through the the Senate in another attempt to undermine US sovereignty, capitOlism and force more global socialism down the the throats if US taxpayers. Feed the World...already did that and who gets rich and fat? The governments and military leadership of the "poor" nations. African nations, Asian nations, do I really need to point at N Korea? Spreading welath, taking wealth from our nation in order to spread good cheer and joy DOES NTO WORK. People are suffering under toltarian, socialist and communist regimes and some ideological political small brain idiots think spending more and giving more will solve the problem and raisethese countries living standards. ARG! Look at Mexico? Why do you supporters of LIBERALISM want to destroy all that is GREAT about this country?

    May 29, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
  3. M. Straub

    Like so many things today, ratifying this is about security and energy. The oceans are going to play a larger and larger role in how the world is powered as time goes on, and if the US doesn't take the necessary steps to take charge in how power is produced from the waters, we could be left high and dry.

    One example is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). It produces an endless flow of clean power from the temperature difference in shallow and deep water, plus it's only byproduct is clean drinking water. There are major economic interests at play here, and if the US wants to get off the sidelines and start making waves of it's own, joining in with the rest of the 162 nations is step in the right direction.

    Lots more on how OTEC works and the countries that are tapping into it today at The ON Project.

    http://www.theonproject.org/otec/?utm_source=cnn&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=mscomment

    May 26, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
  4. Rodulio

    This treaty will be ratified by the U.S. and it is just a matter of time.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Oh yeah? And you know this how? Are you a force in the gov't? Are you bigger than the PEOPLE? Guess what? You ain't!!!!! It will not be passed with a 2/3 majority and show where that even stands a chance in the near future. They have been trying to ratify this since 1983........Even with 12 years of a democratic presidents in orifice and Congress being held by LIBERALS, it hasn't passed. So what you say smarty?

      May 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  5. Cheese Wonton

    Amazing the opposition to this treaty when Admiral Crowe basically wrote it for the UN with the protection of US maritime interests in mind.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:14 am | Reply
    • rory

      US don't want to sign this treaty because US think only they can have the capicity sailing to other nations' shore.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:08 am | Reply
      • franklovesfl

        That has nothing to do with it.

        The problem is that it gives foreign powers taxation and technology rights over US companies.

        BAD IDEA!

        May 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

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