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Proposed middle ground on LOST


As public thought leaders and organizations square off on the Law of the Sea Treaty, some continue hold a center position or seek a third way.

At an American Enterprise Institute forum on American sovereignty, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) proposed a ???Madisonian??? approach to the treaty that would retain valuable navigation rights for businesses and the U.S. Navy, but allow Congress to dispense with other provisions that encroached on American autonomy.

???My point is if you split the Law of the Sea Treaty into two pieces, one is supported by the Navy,??? Kyl said. ???That ???good??? part of the treaty, about which there is little debate, could be codified by separating the wheat from the chaff.??? Unfortunately, such bifurcation is not an option, Kyl said, because the treaty cannot be amended in its current form.

Hofstra law professor Julian Ku, who also spoke at the AEI event, said he remained ???agnostic??? about the treaty, supporting uncontested rules of navigation but expressing concern about signing on to governance by international tribunals that would leave the U.S. vulnerable.

???We have to take as the bargain with it, to join all these processes,??? Ku said, ??? I think one part is definitely beneficial, but if you put that part aside, the rest of it is not.???

And former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told Human Events that while a number of Defense Department officials have expressed support for the treaty, he ???would have to think more about it.???

Wolfowitz said he had yet to hear a good answer to an argument made by Kyl: that not even all the countries currently signed to the treaty, such as China, opted to abide by it; meaning its purported value as an international navigation agreement might not be so significant after all.