Working toward US accession to the Law of the Sea Convention (prior posts) is not a task for the impatient, but an event held yesterday (May 9th) suggests that this pace is about to change.
Renewed Public Attention to UNCLOS
|Business Panel on US Interests in the LOS Convention|
Arctic and LOS
|Lean Panetta Endorses|
the LOS Convention
Timing: "Why Now"The LOS Convention has been a political lightning rod in the past, so it might seem an unlikely candidate for action in an election year, particularly in the summer before the general election. But there are some good reasons for Senate supporters to act on the opportunity now. First, support is bi-partisan, cross sectoral and high level and it addresses economic issues at the time when they are at the top of the nation’s agenda. Second, leadership is coming from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, all of whom are respected by members of both parties in the Senate. (In light of the partisan relationship between the President and republicans in the Senate, the White House keeping a low profile on the LOS Convention.) Finally, the once-powerful coalition of opposition groups that focus on ‘go it alone’ unilateral security approaches, opposition to the United Nations and to economic regulations and promotion of "socially conservative values” has lost cohesion and has been markedly less effective in organizing opposition this year. And with low expectations for Senate action on other issues, floor time may be available before the August recess for even a prolonged period of floor debate.
What comes next?the campaign's website.
For the next steps, watch for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to build on the support demonstrated at the May 9th event. A series of hearings are expected in the near future, followed by preparation of a draft resolution of advice and consent to resolve outstanding concerns of senators, then a move to the full senate for the long-awaited floor debate and vote that will come more than 30 years since the original adoption of the LOS Convention.