As I have already discussed extensively on this blog, the Doctrine of Discovery and Russia’s audacious claim to the Arctic seabed has reawakened interest in the United States in becoming a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.Â Two former U.S. Secretaries of State, James Baker and George Shultz, advocated just this action in the Wall Street Journal on Sept 26, at page A21.Â They are concerned that the U.S. isÂ being left out of the Convention process and decisions, and about Russia planting its flag on the Arctic seabed.
The Senate will hold hearings on the Convention this coming week.Â The Convention’s primary function is to define maritime zones and toÂ allocate resource rights.Â The resource rights is no doubt what interests these ex-Secretary of States and the Senate at this time.Â
Russia, of course, planted its flag on the Arctic seabed as part of its strategy to claim the 10 BILLION tons of oil and gas estimated to be there (20-25% of the world’s known reserves).Â Canada, Denmark and the U.S. took immediate steps to counter Russia’s claim.
The U.S. strategy now entails becoming a party to the U.N. Convention to try to block Russia and to establish under international law a U.S. claim to these same resources.
When the Convention was finalized in 1982, the Reagan Administration did not support it.Â Several conservative Senators and groups still do not support the U.S. signing the Convention or everÂ looking to the U.N. to establish its’ rights or to exercise any authority over U.S. sovereignty.Â
President Bush and other presidents have supported the U.S. becoming a party and a strong push is now on for that action.Â According to Secretaties Baker and Shultz, it will protect U.S. sovereign interests, national and economic security, promote our international leadership role,Â and increase the U.S. ability to fight terrorism.