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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, supported by President George Bush, the Pentagon, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, should have passed the Congress as a “no brainer” but this has proved to be an interesting year of partisan politics where nothing else matters.

south china sea

UNCLOS defines rights and responsibilities of nations in the use of the world’s oceans; sets guidelines for business, the environment, and management of natural resources, among other common sense provisions regarding the planet’s waterways.

Unfortunately because President Obama is in favor of UNCLOS ratification, during this presidential primary season Republicans had a compelling need to kill it regardless of the consequences and thereby became stooges and accomplices of the Chinese government to which we owe much of our national debt needed to finance wars and conflicts created by Republicans!

Of course the Republican Party could not be honest and state the truth that they are against anything this president does; instead, the party line dealt with “national sovereignty” and “the environment.” Translated this means the Republican Party has a global manifest destiny mindset in which the United States assumes the role of God and should never be accountable for anything we do, much less to the United Nations. The issue of the environment is a smoke screen whereas corporate fat cats can continue to pollute and destroy the planet without fear of regulation, sanctions, or penalties.

UNCLOS was a critical piece of legislation the Republicans discounted, just as they did all civil rights legislation during the 1960s. UNCLOS deals with underreported issues here in the United States regarding the areas of the Eastern Sea (South China Sea) where many nations claim islands and territories: China (the elephant in the room); Indonesia; Taiwan; the Philippines; Vietnam; Brunei; Malaysia; Cambodia; Thailand; Singapore.

During the recent past, American news agencies have reported multiple trips by ranking U.S. political figures into Southeastern Asia and Australia. But they have not reported the entire story. During each of these visits, China had created some disturbance in the Eastern Sea (South China Sea). The possibility of armed conflict is real; but of no concern to the Republicans as long as Obama is blamed.

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Unless we want to become involved in another “police action” in the Eastern Sea, the Republicans need to take another look at UNCLOS; but, as such an event would benefit their cronies in the military industrial complex and none of their relatives would actually participate in any military action, this possibility is unlikely.

This week, China navy and commercial vessels have attempted to provoke hostile action near the Spratley Islands. China apparently has a manifest destiny program of their own and are hell bent on expanding their territorial claims, which basically includes the entire Eastern Sea, to the expense of all other sovereign nations who now occupy the various islands of that highly prized sea lane.

UNCLOS would have been a practical solution to force a peaceful negotiation; but, apparently that is not what the Republican want. Therefore we should seriously ask ourselves, “Do we really need this type of partisan politician representing us?”

jim rhodes

After my return to Southeast Asia, I will continue to send updates on this festering situation that has been grossly neglected by the American press.

James Rhodes

Posted: Thursday, 19 July 2012