TCS Daily

Results Are the Fruit of Reagan`s Leadership

By John Norton Moore - June 22, 2001 12:00 AM

Your June 11 editorial, "Europe Chills for Bush," begins with a classic exchange between Alexander Haig and Ronald Reagan in which President Reagan insists on standing firm for the United States position in the Law of the Sea Treaty.

You have, however, omitted the rest of the story, which even more strongly supports the point you were making as to the importance of United States leadership. For in the face of an initial treaty, which did not meet United States concerns on deep seabed access and institutions, President Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld and Ken Adelman to meet with U.S. allies to keep them firm on the U.S. conditions. The Rumsfeld/Adelman mission was hugely successful, our allies stayed with us, and ultimately the Law of the Sea Treaty was renegotiated to meet all of the Reagan conditions.

Following its successful renegotiation, the treaty is today in force for 135 nations, including all U.S. NATO allies and it is strongly supported by United States industry and the U.S. Navy. Indeed, the LOS Treaty is today a principal legal bulwark protecting the free movement of trade on the oceans as well as the development of off-shore oil and gas so necessary for global energy needs.

Leadership does matter and the successful renegotiation of the Law of the Sea Treaty is a prime example. The Senate should now follow the recommendations of the Oceans Industry Association, the Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Committee, and the Navy in promptly giving advice and consent to this Reagan treaty. When presidential leadership wins, the nation deserves the fruits of victory.

John Norton Moore
Center for Oceans Law and Policy
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Va.

(Former Deputy Special Representative of the President for the Law of the Sea)


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