In three books over the past ten years, George Mason University Law School Professor Jeremy Rabkin has argued the case for the importance of national sovereignty. With Why Sovereignty Matters in 1998, The Case for Sovereignty in 2004 (NRO interviewed here), and Law Without Nations? in 2005, Professor Rabkin’s argument has only become more compelling over time.
The new issue of the Weekly Standard features Professor Rabkin’s article on the Law of the Sea Treaty that the Bush administration is unaccountably urging the Senate to ratify. Professor Rabkin’s article is “How many lawyers does it take to sink the U.S. Navy?” Professor Rabkin writes:
In past centuries, rules about the conduct of ships at sea emerged from agreements among major naval powers, and there were always a number of naval powers engaged in challenging, enforcing, and accommodating agreed-upon standards. Now, when the United States (by some estimates) actually deploys a majority of the world’s naval capacity, we are told that our security requires us to participate with 150 other states in electing international judges to determine, in the last analysis, what rules our Navy must accept.
To find this convincing, one must be awed by the moral authority of the U.N. majority. To think that way means that we seek consensus at almost any price. Why do we claim to be independent, why do we invest so many billions in defense capacities, if we are prepared to go along with an international consensus, articulated (and – readjusted) by international jurists? The Senate should think long and hard before making the U.S. Navy answer to the U.N version of the Law of the Sea.
Is anyone paying attention?
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