Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 29, 2008
By: Cheryl Rofer

WARMING TO THE LAW OF THE SEA VIA THE ARCTIC?....The United States joined four other countries that border the Arctic Sea in Ilulissat, Greenland, this week to work out ways to deal with the Arctic's growing accessibility as the ice thins. The other four are Denmark, Russia, Canada and Norway.

As the ice melts, commercial shipping passage becomes possible, along with oil exploration. Russia recently set a flag on the North Pole's seafloor to illustrate their claims.

The United States has resisted ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention, the Republicans and Libertarians holding out in the name of St. Ronnie, although President Bush has recommended its ratification in his diffident way. But the Russian feat may have woken someone up.

The United States was represented at the conference by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. That's pretty high up the line. He is also urging Congress to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention.

The agreement reached at the meeting follows the Convention's requirements. But it's not clear to me how that will hold up if the United States stays out of the Convention.

Cheryl Rofer 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (5)

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Regarding melting ice in the Arctic, via War in Context, see:

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/05/could-methane-t.html

And for a compelling entertainment on the topic, see:

http://www.amazon.com/Swarm-Novel-Frank-Schatzing/dp/0060813261

Posted by: G Hazeltine on May 29, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

afaik, the us navy establishment has been for unclos for a while, and is in effect de facto even though not de jure for most operations.

reagan and bush 1 were basically for it. the opposition is mostly from people who think that this is of a similar nature to the 'nau' and 'naftasuperhighway.'

Posted by: Kolohe on May 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

kolohe writes: the 'nau' and 'naftasuperhighway.'

What's interesting about those is that the left in Canada opposes both, but the left in the U.S. has been better trained: many tend to support both simply because of those in the U.S. who oppose them.

Likewise, the left in the U.S. should respond to their training by supporting LOST simply because of those who oppose it: link, link.

You can watch the training in action in any replies.

[Note: WM and/or KD have a habit of deleting or editing comments without notice, so this comment may disappear or be different from what I posted. Search for "kevin drum" at my site for examples of comments that were deleted.]

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on May 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I find it ironic that Denmark and Norway used the Law of the Sea Convention to defend the sovereign interests of the Arctic states, including the US, against efforts by the EU and by the Greenpeace european office to grab control over the rights of the Arctic states to manage the resources off their shores.

But isn't it a bit bothersome that we have to depend on Denmark and Norway to defend our interests simply because a handful of staff from a few well-connected conservative think tanks know how to play the Senate?

Posted by: Caitlyn on May 29, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone but me find it kind of creepy that everyone's jumping on the opportunity to make a buck from the destruction of the arctic icepack?

Posted by: Arachnae on May 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK
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