Sarah Palin’s Letter in Support of the Law of the Sea Convention
Following up on Peter’s earlier post on the foreign policy views of Sarah Palin, I note this letter that she wrote in September 2007 to Senators Stevens and Murkowski expressing her “strong support” for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). She also seems to advocate the use of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. [UPDATE: Thanks to John Noyes for his informative comment below which corrects my original supposition.]
Her support for UNCLOS seems to be primarily related to furthering U.S. oil and mineral claims in the Arctic Ocean:
If the U.S. does not ratify the convention, the opportunity to pursue our own claims to offshore areas in the Arctic Ocean might well be lost.
As a consequence, our rightful claims to hydrocarbons, minerals, and other natural resources could be ignored.
Governor Palin then writes in a later section:
However, as you know, ratification has been thwarted by a small group of senators concerned about the perceived loss of U.S. sovereignty. I believe quite the contrary is the case. If the U.S. does not ratify the convention, we will be denied access to the forum established by the international community to adjudicate claims to submerged lands in the arctic.
If I read this correctly, she specifically notes that one of her reasons for supporting UNCLOS is because the U.S. would be able to resolve disputes via an international tribunal (ITLOS) benefit from the expertise and recommendations of the the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
I am curious to see if this is a position that the McCain-Palin ticket will embrace. Assuming that they will not backtrack on Governor Palin’s strong support of UNCLOS (and, given Sen. McCain’s Navy background and the Navy’s support of UNCLOS, I hope he would support it as well), this is further evidence that ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention is gaining momentum.
[UPDATE #2: This post over at the Washington Note focuses on John McCain's flip-flopping on UNCLOS and even includes an image capture of the questionairre he answered for the Iowa Christian Alliance in which he originally checked the space for "support" for the Law of the Sea Convention, then crossed it out and checked the space for "oppose." Hat tip: John Boonstra of UN Dispatch.]