Here’s Why America Doesn’t Have a Seat at the Table Under the Law of the Sea Treaty

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It’s Labor Day weekend, and even the Sunday chat show hosts are hard up for guests willing to give up their final few days of summer before getting back to the grind in Washington DC. This apparently left Jake Tapper with no choice but to interview Sarah Palin. She was her usual self, and even managed to pretend that she disapproved of Obama renaming Mt. McKinley as Denali. Then Tapper mentioned that Russian planes had been flying off the coast of Alaska and Chinese warships had transited the Bering Strait. What did Palin think about that?

Putin right now, he’s flagging undersea our resources, claiming them as his own. What’s America doing about it? We don’t even have a seat at the table under the Law of the Sea Treaty. We’re not even participating in fighting back, putting America first.

I assume Palin is talking about the fight over the Arctic, which is hardly breaking news. But notice what Palin failed to mention: Why does America not have a seat at the table under the Law of the Sea Treaty? Answer: because Republicans are dead set against it. The military is for it, the State Department is for it, and Democrats are for it. I think even Palin supports it. But no matter how many concessions get made to their concerns, conservatives have relentlessly claimed that it’s a massive intrusion on American sovereignty and Republicans have accordingly refused to ratify it for decades. They refused under Reagan, they refused under Clinton, they refused under Bush, and they refused under Obama. So Palin is right: thanks to the GOP, we’re not official participants in LOST. I guess that part slipped her mind.

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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