The LOST, or How I learned to be a face in the crowd

This weekend the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal profiles a treaty that would put the U.S. on an equal footing with landlocked African thugocracies in deciding how the seas are utilized.

Known among its critics as the L.O.S.T., the "Law of the Sea Treaty" makes hidden provision in its 320 articles and 9 annexes for such odious measures as taxes and "production fees" levied directly by the international body created by the treaty, requirements that military vessels both ride on the surface and fly their flag within territorial waters (compromising our capcity to use submarines in legitimate military operations, for example), and creating a mechanism by which the international body could legally control pollution within American borders on land. As to the equal footing noted above the U.S. does get a seat on the international governing body, but that puts it on no better than equal footing with Zimbabwe and Cuba, to note examples given in the Journal article. We have not so much as a veto over whatever silliness an organization so constituted may contrive.

This is a case in which President Bush's "oil buddies", who favor the clear title provisions of the treaty, have too obviously had more than a rational influence on the administration's thinking. Just as it was when president Reagan first opposed the treaty back in 1983 this is the very illustration of a bad treaty. It is to be hoped we could find 34 senators to vote it down once again.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at November 3, 2007 11:19 AM
Comments
Comment #237545

Lee, thanks for the heads up on this issue.

One thing of importance in taking a step back and looking at the big picture however, is this:

The U.S. is rapidly losing its world leader status. With the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies, the EU, and APEC, other nations have a vested interest in peace and protecting their new burgeoning economies. America is moving in an opposing track, trying to expand military hegemony around the globe.

The handwriting is on the wall. The U.S. can pursue its global militaristic future in increasing opposition to the other nations of the world, or, it can begin bargaining with these other nations and giving up some world hegemony in exchange for other regions of the world devising their own defense systems and self-reliance in protecting their economic interests while maintaining a working political and economic relationship with the U.S.

China and India one day will not need the American consumer to continue their economic growth, and on that day, it would be wise for America to have a warm and working relationship with those nations based on mutual respect, not opposition, fear, and mistrust.

The U.S. government, in a very real way and quite under the radar, is fighting the globalization interdependent relationship being constructed between other nations. China is building relations with Africa, India is building relations with the EU, Russia is building relations with China and the Middle East. The U.S. is fighting a large amount of international cooperative politics at the same time that it is pursuing the Soviet Union’s path of eroding its economic future through mountains of debt spent on military buildup and expansion.

America must obtain political leaders capable of both short term and long term strategic planning within the context of the reality that the rest of the world is creating with or without us included. Clearly that leadership has been AWOL from our government for many years now.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 3, 2007 2:21 PM
Comment #237560

One question: if this could truly impeded submarine operations, why is the Pentagon pushing for this?

I think your editorializer has misread the treaty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 5:43 PM
Comment #237572

David, the points you raise would appear valid if it wasn’t for the now quite lengthy history of what actually happens with these kinds of international treaties.

When the US enters into them, hell is raised if there’s even the most minor suspected violation of some gray area of the the legal fine-print—by the US.

In the meantime, others (including many of those protesting the loudest over the behavior of the US) completely fail to live up to the treaty’s most basic provisions, and whatever enforcement bodies there are don’t even take notice. If the suspected violator is not the US, nobody cares.

You mention China. Just look at the extent to which their economic rise depends on their almost complete and total disregard for intellectual property and patent laws. (This is also true, but to a lesser extent, with India).

If we sign on to this, I have little doubt that China, Russia, and others will continue to behave on the seas exactly how they wish. And what’s more, a lot of people internationally will actually celebrate violations of this treaty—just as they do with almost every other—because it will be seen as “sticking it to the US.” In the meantime, of course, the US will itself be held to the letter and spirit of the law by whatever international body is responsible for overseeing it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 3, 2007 10:08 PM
Comment #237574

LO-
You think we don’t violate the odd treaty, or seek out and get enforcement? Republicans seem to be discouraged by the slightest bit of diplomatic trouble. Of course they’re going to try and cheat. Of course there’ll be countries that seek to screw us on different deals.

That’s why we need real diplomacy. These kinds of deals and treaties will get made. Question will be, can we get others to live up to their end of the bargain? The answer to that will lie in how we’re much we’re willing to work smarter, not merely harder.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 11:32 PM
Comment #237577

Stephen, it’s truly uncanny how everything you disagree with is immediately labeled “Republican.” Why must absolutely everything be seen through such a reductive partisan lens? Can’t there ever be American interests, or is it always Republicans vs. Democrats and never the twain shall meet? If a Republican said the sky is blue, does a Democrat then have to deny it?

Your comment is especially off base because the very topic of discussion here is a treaty that George Bush WANTS.

The problems that arise when the US enters into treaties are well recognized by Democrats as well, as was demonstrated when Bill Clinton (to his credit I might add) refused to go along with a great many of them. Such as Kyoto or an international ban on land mines.

Both were examples of treaties that Democrats and Republicans alike knew that we would be forced to follow while others simply would not. The issue of international treaties goes beyond party identification because their influence is felt by all of us, and it’s just plain silly to refuse to debate them without wearing partisan blinders.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 4, 2007 12:57 AM
Comment #237582

LO,

It’s easy to see that some treaties are flawed. It is also easy to say that America should take a leader’s role in world politics.

America must recognize that there will be treaties that, in the short run, don’t perfectly align themselves with what we see as our best interests, but we should, as in the case of “land mines” treaty, sign on because it is the right thing to do.
Land mines don’t just kill combatants, and they are still extremely lethal long after hostilities are over.

England, after WW1, was starting to descend from it’s dominance of the seas, and wanted America to be a signer of a treaty that would limit the size of our Navy because they were afraid of us. America didn’t sign on.

We need to re-examine our motives in world politics, and do the right thing, not just because it is in our self interests, but because it is the right thing to do.

It’s called diplomacy.

Posted by: Rocky at November 4, 2007 7:00 AM
Comment #237584

LO-
The Republicans have gone from being the party that was capable of negotiating with even their worst enemies and who masterfully organized support for Desert Storm, to being a party that bungles international relations on a regular basis and seems intent on getting America into wars it’s not currently equipped to fight. This is the party that supported Bolton, that’s made a near virtue about being ignorant, and which lumps the diverse populations of the Arab and Muslim worlds into the label of “Islamofascism”.

The Democrats, the President, and some members of congress, to their credit, support this treaty. But there’s still this element of the Republican party which finds any binding agreement that America gets into an inconvenience at best, a danger to the country at worst.

As for Kyoto goes, Clinton signed it, but the Republican Congress refused to ratify it.

Moreover, there’s a significant portion of the Religious right which actually envisions international law and organizations like the UN as potential tools of the anti-Christ. No, I’m not kidding. Read Left Behind, and The Late, Great Planet Earth They constitute a major part of the Right-Wing distrust of the UN.

While some Republicans have been sensible enought to advocate this agreement, many have settled into this all too usual eccentricity on diplomacy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 4, 2007 9:32 AM
Comment #237586

Loyal Opp said: “In the meantime, of course, the US will itself be held to the letter and spirit of the law by whatever international body is responsible for overseeing it.”

You mean like the Geneva Convention, the non-aggression treaties, the nuclear non-proliferation treaties, and the nuclear weapon arsenal reduction treaty? If the U.S. intends to hold others to account for treaties, perhaps it should first abide by them itself. Then at least, it would have the moral authority to demand others comply as well. But, when everyone is a thief, it’s pretty hard for one thief to stand up and ask the others to stop stealing.

I agree with you that treaty enforcement is never going to be fool proof, nor 100% enforceable between nations. But, before Bush, there was a respect for the U.S. by most nations of the world for its aspirations to peaceful coexistence between nations. We should attempt to recapture that position of moral authority and respect if we are to resume the role of leader in the world again, as opposed to being just another rogue nation, don’t you think?

There is no snapping of the fingers to make international things happen. It takes time, effort, expense, perseverance, and moral authority not of words, but of actions, to lead the world. Any Hitler or Stalin can bully the world and set themselves up as a target for retaliation and non-cooperation. America was much more than that throughout most of the last century. It won’t be easy, but, it seems to me America should expend the effort to recapture that emulated role again.

After 9/11 the world’s leaders and people were on America’s side, and supported America’s invasion of Afghanistan to purge the world of those who would not comply with international law and treaty. Pres. Bush and his cowardly Congress squandered a lot of that support and respect in Iraq. America would do well to rebuke the Bush administration and vow never to allow such a leader to assume the office ever again.

That would be a sizable down payment on regaining the world’s the respect and cooperation again, IMO.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 4, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #237589

When you approve any law or treaty you also give up a portion of your rights. This also increases the potential for tyranny. Although I certainly don’t ascribe to the religious teachings you described, one worldness is a dangerous double edged sword. This is the basis for conservative misgivings toward certain treaties. We value individual rights and diverse opinions over a central anything. This has served America well and is responsible for the recent advances in society. The world has benefited from our freedoms yet they don’t agree with them.

Posted by: Kruser at November 4, 2007 10:28 AM
Comment #237592

Since when is the US bothered by treaty demands? Look at the current policy on torture and the Geneva Conventions…look at the treaties with the Indian nations…look at how the US treats the UN regarding unilateral invasions of offending countries…

No treaty has ever “bothered” or “stopped” the US…

Too bad…it would make the US so much more believable as a good and democratic nation in this global politic.

Posted by: Rachel at November 4, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #237593

Kruser-
One-Worldness? That’s paranoia. The Republicans just don’t want to be obligated to do things they don’t want to do.

We value individual rights and diverse opinions over a central anything.

Theoretically, but in practice, what do you think the Terri Schiavo case was about. And just how much respect does the part of “Freedom Fries” and The Iraq war have for international differences of opinion?

As for recent advances in society? Our society, the middle class in particular, has gone backwards on many things. Our standing in the world has lessened.

As for “The world has benefited from our freedoms yet they don’t agree with them.”?

Ungrateful bastards, if true. But aside from that, not everybody’s seen their lives improved by our intentions. We supported a lot of nasty characters, and that’s part of what’s come back to haunt us. Also, though, we can’t expect everybody to just kiss our ass and forget their own interests just because we helped them out in the past. If you have true respect for diverse opinions, you’ll acknowledge that it’s inevitable that our allies will not always agree with us.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the things the Republicans, especially the Neocons, are none too mature about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 4, 2007 1:10 PM
Comment #237606

The subject I referred to is national sovereignty. protecting ours is not a disrespect to others it is a matter of prudence.
We would expect them to be the same way if diversity is in fact a valuable thing.
I don’t understand the word paranoia applied to not trusting other countries to equally respect treaties when they don’t have a history of doing so. In the same posting your fellow countrymen are generalized as immature and disrespectful. I don’t see too much of this venom directed toward real enemies. Are neocons the anti-christ?

Posted by: Kruser at November 4, 2007 8:45 PM
Comment #237608

Kruser,

Seems that we haven’t done too well in the last few years regarding the respecting of other countries’ sovereignty.

Do we assume that just because it’s good for us it isn’t good for them?

Posted by: Rocky at November 4, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #237611
As for Kyoto goes, Clinton signed it, but the Republican Congress refused to ratify it.

Stephen, really…?

You aren’t helping yourself if you are trying to convince anyone you aren’t being partisan with comments like this…

First, Clinton did not sign it, Al Gore did. And that signature was entirely symbolic and meaning of nothing. The Clinton administration NEVER brought the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

The ‘republican senate’ narrowly pass the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S 98) by a vote of 95-0. I know, those darn Republicans… But this vote came out before the treaty was finalized and only stated that the US would not sign any treaty that “did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States”. “

It was bad then, it’s bad now, Clinton knew it (which is why he never brought to the senate or even fought for it). As has been noted:

As Gore put it then, “Signing the Protocol, while an important step forward, imposes no obligations on the United States. The Protocol becomes binding only with the advice and consent of the US Senate.”

Gore soon returned to Washington only to reiterate his message that the Clinton administration would not put the Kyoto Protocol before the Senate. “As we have said before, we will not submit the Protocol for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change,” he said.

When he later signed the protocol there was NEVER any intention, as we note, of bringing it to the Senate for ratification.

SO, can we stop with the ‘but it was the Republicans that sunk Kyoto’ nonsense now?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 4, 2007 10:12 PM
Comment #237613

Rhinehold-
Resolutions like the one in question: Nonbinding. Let’s talk about the real reason that Kyoto was never sent to the Senate.

The Republicans.

Call me partisan, please. Then tell me how any legislation, much binding treating on reducing the use of fossil fuels would have passed a Senate mainly lead by Republicans at that point.

Then tell me how such behavior was inconsistent for the Republicans. Aren’t these the main people who emphasize economy over environmentalism, fossil fuels over alternatives? Don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that the non-ratification of the theory simply stemmed from the notion that it was bad law. The people who lead the Senate, who organized its committees, and who would have carried out its party-line vote, regardless of what the quite weak Democratic minority did, had other reasons to scuttle it’s ratification.

As for costs? The assumption is that reductions in CO2 emmissions has to be an economic loss, that there’s less productivity done. I think, though, that this is a technologically solveable issue. What it will require, though, is concerted effort, and that of course will require a lot of government intervention and regulation.

Can’t have that right? Not even if we need it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 5, 2007 12:33 AM
Comment #237615

Stephen,

Try to rewrite history all you want to try to make the Dems look as if they supported Kyoto all along, but the Byrd-Hagel resolution passed 95-0. I’m sorry, but that’s about as unanimous as you get these days. 5 senators abstained, no one wanted to vote FOR it. John Kerry voted against it after championing the thought of Kyoto. As did Ted Kennedy. They did not do so to appease their supporters, no they did it because while the thought of Kyoto was admirable, the IMPLEMENTATION is not. The final document will have no real effect at all on gloal warming, the world’s largest polluter (no longer the US) was given a free ride.

As recently as October 30, 2003, Senator Byrd stated, “The Kyoto Protocol, in its current form, does not comply with the requirements of Senate Resolution 98.” He continued: “S. Res. 98 directed that any such treaty must include new scheduled commitments for the developing world in addition to any such requirements for industrialized nations but requirements would be binding and mandatory and lead to real reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases over time. This is clearly different than the minimal, vague, and voluntary commitments that we are currently pursuing.”

This was a reference to the Bush Administration. Byrd also emphasized that “developing nations, especially the largest emitters, need to be a part of any binding global climate change treaty.”

President Clinton and Al Gore were unsuccessful in getting the signers of Kyoto to include the developing nations. Knowing that the Kyoto Protocol would not be passed without the inclusion of developing countries in some way, Clinton did not even send the Protocol to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

So yes, it was not sent to the Senate because it violated US resolutions concerning it and would not have passed. Not because Republicans were in control but because AMERICANS were in control.

You have to understand that there are a LOT of environmentalists that do not like Kyoto. It was badly written.

If the goal was to punish the EU and US (and Russia who refused to sign I believe) and syphon some of their wealth to underdeveloped countries (and as a byproduct into the hands of people like George Soros who makes money off of the market manipulation of those countries) then it would have been a big success had it included all of them.

If the goal was to reduce greenhouse gasses and prevent further global warming, it was an unmitigated disaster. It has nothing to do with picking economy over environmentalism, it has to do with picking nothing over economy AND environmentalism. The US economy would have taken a hit and gotten NO gain on the environment.

And I don’t know about republicans (though Jack seems to be one of the more sane ones) but I for one know that technology is going to win out over ‘global warming’ and fossil fuels in the end. I just don’t think that the government is going to be the ones to do it, it will come out of enterprising individuals, the same ones that would have been blocked from doing that very thing if they were paying higher taxes to support Kyoto.

So, since this wasn’t bad law, please tell me how it was good law? How would it have lowered greenhouse gasses exactly? With no China, India, etc… AND the ability to miss the deadlines by paying a fee? What are the chances of the EU meeting their requirements exactly?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2007 1:32 AM
Comment #237620

Rhinehold-
My point related to Republican leadership and attitudes, the paradigms they’ve set. Democrats did not take the lead on this diplomatic committment phobia. It’s Republicans and Right-Wingers who’ve taken the lead. Evidence of this is the turn around on diplomatic efforts in the Bush years. with Clinton and Bush 41, we saw men capable of hammering things out, of keeping bad situations from escalating into worse.

With Bush 43, with the Republican Congress, we have people who bragged about not having passports, who openly sow paranoia about the UN, and denigrate it as an organization. It takes more than a concurrent disagreement with Kyoto among the Democrats on a mixed matter of economics and environmentalism to say that Republicans haven’t been a major drag on our foreign policy apparatus this past decade and a half.

Also, if the Republicans really wanted better than Kyoto, why didn’t they send him back, advocating for a different treaty? No, they haven’t come up with any alternatives, besides doing nothing. And that would be what some do now with the Law of the Sea Treaty.

As for the National sovereignty argument (I address this to the general audience here) Y’all do know that this treat would secure our sovereignty over a great deal of undersea territory, right?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 5, 2007 9:29 AM
Comment #237623

How does it make sense for the voting strength of the 300,000,000 people of the United States, a nation bordering on two oceans and a gulf and heavily dependent on oceanic navigation for its economic strength, to be the same as that of Slovakia, a nation of a little over five million with no oceanic access and little economic stake in such navigation? If one wanted to make some sense of this farce one could at least give each of the fifty states a vote but this formulation is inept even as comedy.

As to the Navy “wanting” this, what they really want is one system that effectively deals with the oceans of the whole world as opposed to a hodgepodge of antiquated national and international agreements. You can’t blame them for that, but this deal is a bad one anyway.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 5, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #237626

Rhinehold,

I for one know that technology is going to win out over ‘global warming’ and fossil fuels in the end.

Except if you can actually see the future, you don’t KNOW but hope, believe, cross your fingers or whatever expectative expression.

it will come out of enterprising individuals, the same ones that would have been blocked from doing that very thing if they were paying higher taxes to support Kyoto.

The only ones who pay higher taxes under Kyoto protocol are the ones who CHOOSE to pay taxes INSTEAD of investing in emission reduction technologies. There is a clear choice.

BTW, today Scandinavians have the most advanced environmental economy. How weird, they were under Kyoto protocol since 1998!?

How would it have lowered greenhouse gasses exactly? With no China, India, etc… AND the ability to miss the deadlines by paying a fee?
What are the chances of the EU meeting their requirements exactly?

Dunno. But still FAR better than the US.

Don’t forget, the fact you’re not anymore the #1 CO2 emitters doesn’t make the US less poluting than in 1998, which is far from being the case.
It just make China worser than US. Nothing to brag about, really.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 5, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #237628

Philippe,

You labor under the false impression that I approve of the US polluting at the level it does.

However, that does not mean we should enter into treaties that do NOT address the problem, that is voluntary, and leaves the #1 polluter off of the hook for any penalties for their greenhouse gas emissions.

If you stop looking at the issue as a ‘left’ vs ‘right’ issue, which it clearly is not, you’ll see that the rhetoric is hurting more than helping anyone and the appearance of doing something constructive at the expense of not doing anything constructive is worse than rejecting a bad treaty out of hand.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #237630

OK…now to get back to the ORIGINAL topic of discussion…

LOST is a huge stinking pile of…well, I think you can guess.

LOST allows an international body to indirectly tax US citizens WITHOUT representation.

I’m not sure…but I believe 200 some-odd years ago, a nation went to war with its “mother country” about taxation without representation.

Posted by: Jim T at November 5, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #237638

Jim T,

Some smart alek might reply to you by saying we WILL have representation. Let me cut them off at the pass and point out that representation that fails to take into account the rational weighting of that representation can be worse than none at all. As it is, so far, we do not have representation in an organization that is powerless to act because we are not yet a member. That is a substantially better situation than subjecting ourselves to the entity we would empower, but have precious little power to influence, by becoming a member.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 5, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #237640

Lee, your argument is not logical. We can act unilaterally whether we are in or out of the organization. Being in the organization gives a voice at the table which being out precludes. We lose virtually nothing by joining. The world loses our voice on the organization’s discussions if we don’t.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 5, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #237641

Jim T., what enforcement capacity will LOST have against us? You seem to be missing this crucial point of fact. No nation on earth can enforce treaty against the U.S. which the U.S. rejects. Iraq proved that from the invasion through Abu Ghraib through Guantanamo.

Unless the Middle East decides to stop selling oil to the U.S., there is no enforcement against the U.S. which the U.S. rejects. Ergo, we have nothing to lose by joining, but our voice at the table will be lost if don’t join.

As nearly all parents of fledgling teens know, sometimes one has to let the youngsters trump parental authority and learn the hard way. War with them guarantees they won’t yield to the advice of the parents. The same is true of emerging nations and economies. If we wish to be the mature nation in the world, we should start acting like it, using the experience and knowledge our maturity presents to make wise decisions even if they won’t necessarily be the most expedient in the short run.

The long term survival of the world and its nations is at stake, and we can blow the hole shebang down the tubes by acting like the impetuous teen, insisting they want what they want and they want it now. There is great wisdom in sacrificing a knight or bishop if, it ends in checkmate against the opponent lacking the maturity to see the end game.

The U.S. must restore its credibility as a team player in the world. Without that, other nations can destroy it in spite of us, and regardless of what we do. We must lead, but, leadership requires respect and emulation. There is no leadership in prisons. There is leadership in our profit and non-profit organizations. Let’s assume the leadership, not the role of warden. The warden rehabilitates no one.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 5, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #237645

David,

Whaaaaat?

Join just to have a voice that would give the UN a brand new way to persue legal action against the US?

Join just to have a voice that would give the UN the power to seize and distribute technology with whomever they choose (think Iran, North Korea, Venezuela just for starters).

Join just to have a voice that would allow the ISA to levy licensing fee and taxes against our businesses and our government (indirect taxation without representation).

Join just to have a voice only to be told that we must overfish our waters to satisy the treaty?

These are only a few concerns with signing the LOST treaty.

I will not agree to allow the UN to run roughshod over our government or our people. I will not submit to a governing body who has become nothing more than a haven and public forum for despots, dictators and genocidal maniacs.

Posted by: Jim T at November 5, 2007 5:42 PM
Comment #237647

Lee Jamison-
The trouble with your argument is that even landlocked countries, in the modern economy, need to deal with issues of the use of the seas. One important part of the LotS is that it secures the use of the sea for landlocked countries looking to ship their goods out tax free. Now since they have a stake in the law of the sea too, even without a coast to call their own, it would be unfair to deny them representation.

Oh, by the way, do us all a favor and don’t use land area or population as arguments for the degree of representation. The European Union has more people in its area, India and China have more population, comparable area, and plenty of coastlines.

Rhinehold-
I’m under the impression that we are by far the most substantial emitters of CO2 in the world.

The real question here, for all the critiques coming from Republicans about this policy, is whether they have any bright ideas themselves, and whether those are aggressive enough to make the difference we need to make.

Jim T-
We’ll have a place at the table, believe me. The truth is, we already accept much of the LotS treaty as international law anyways. Many others have already joined up besides us. We’re being left without a major voice at the table. If you like being left out of decisions that affect you, by all means. The reality is that we’re not really gaining much power for our absence from the treaty.

As for intellectual property? I don’t know what exactly intellectual property we stand to lose. Do you know what you’re talking about, or are you throwing out an objection having only read about it somewhere else?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 5, 2007 6:04 PM
Comment #237649

Stephen,

“As for intellectual property? I don’t know what exactly intellectual property we stand to lose.”

I was in Hong Kong in ‘97 and there were whole buildings dedicated to the sale of pirated software. This software was selling for pennies on the dollar. Copies of “Microsoft Office Suite ‘95” for instance (available in English, Chinese, etc), was for sale at 10 Hong Kong Dollars.
I also heard at the time that similar products were available in Beijing for about the same price.

Admittedly that was 10 years ago, and I don’t know if anything has changed since.

Posted by: Rocky at November 5, 2007 6:15 PM
Comment #237652

Rocky-
I meant on the seas. I know about that kind of IP loss. What are they talking about when they talk about eminent domain and intellectual property in this case?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 5, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #237653
I’m under the impression that we are by far the most substantial emitters of CO2 in the world.

No longer, China passed us. They’re beating us in everything this days… :/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jun/19/china.usnews

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2007 7:41 PM
Comment #237659

So we’re second best as of now. Funny, but being runner up in this contest only appeals to me marginally more than being the winner. How about we take care of our own affairs in this regard?

I say invent the technology we’re going to need, and give India and China far few reasons not to comply. We can’t shame them from a position of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 5, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #237661

I’m not sure we can shame China into providing non-toxic toys for children, let alone not polluting their environment, lol

But, who’s saying not to try to find new technologies? Reward people with patent protection to earn rewards for their investment in time and money, give tax breaks to citizens and businesses who work towards alternative fuels.

You know, the things we are already doing! What more do you suggest other than using global warming as an excuse for wealth redistribution?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2007 10:24 PM
Comment #237671

Why shame them?

Why not partner with them to explore solutions to environmental problems both countries face?

For years China has used coal as their major source of energy, even to the point of cooking with it. America has the technology to change that. Why are we so reticent to share?

This planet is a sealed system. From energy to environmental, from the oceans to terrorism, every country on this planet faces the same issues, and eventually we will all have to face them together.

Why do some people find that so hard to understand?
Are we so worried about our lifestyle here in America that we would cut off our noses to spite our face?
If and when the shit hits the fan, can we hide in our local gated communities from problems that are global in nature?

Posted by: Rocky at November 6, 2007 8:03 AM
Comment #237679

China is easy. The Chinese government’s greatest fear is another revolution. We can use that. The Chinese people abhor their pollution and congestion. If we develop solutions and make the Chinese people aware those solutions are available, the Chinese people will force their government’s adoption of the solutions by making their frustration and demands unequivocal. The Chinese government never wants to see another revolution. In this regard, their motivation is not dissimilar from that of our own founders who drafted the Constitution. They too, never wanted to see another revolution the likes of which they witnessed in their own lives.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 6, 2007 9:58 AM
Comment #237680

Jim T. the paranoia of your comment fails to recognize that the U.S. has never gone along with the U.N. when it didn’t want to. There are many examples, Kyoto being just one and most recent. The U.S. has never submitted to international law when it didn’t want to. Yet, paradoxically, you insist other nations should. Glad you are not in our diplomatic corps. Your comment reflects a lack of understanding of how it and why it works.

The U.N., and the Hague for that matter, don’t have that kind of power over the U.S. to force compliance with anything. When the U.S. yields to international will, it does so for its own benefit. That is how it has always been. The international community can define our choices for us, but, that can’t force our choosing this over that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 6, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #237682

Rhinehold-
I don’t mean that they have to have literal shame, just few excuses they can avail themselves of by pointing the finger our way, or appealing to their underdeveloped economy.

I’ve always been somewhat doubtful of the theory that developing countries have to recapitulate the entire course of our technological development. Write up a treaty that allows the licensing of more advanced technology, education about it. The attitude of recapitulation is just a colonial holdover, and we’re best rid of it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 6, 2007 10:35 AM
Comment #237694

David,

You seem to forget one tiny little detail in my “paranoid” rantings.

In the UN, we have veto power. We don’t have to “go along” with whatever the despots and tyrants who have safe haven in the UN want.

With LOST, we DON’T have veto power. We DON’T have the voice to reject whatever new outrage the “one worlders” are pushing on behalf of the Idi Amin Dadas and Fidel Castros of the world.

And, by the way, I wish I were part of the diplomatic corps. I sure stay the hell away from giving the dictators and fascists of the world any kind of power over us.

Also, by the way, I got some of my “misinformation” about LOST by reading the link provided by Lee in his original post above…

here.

I sure hope Wikipedia isn’t as “paranoid” as I am.

Posted by: Jim T at November 6, 2007 12:30 PM
Comment #237696


The U.N. did not want the U.S. to go to war with Iraq. Did that stop Bush? The U. N. would like to see the Bush Administration negotiate with Iran. Is Bush doing that? Iran is what it is primarily because of U.S. support for the Shaw. Bush and Cheney have used retoric to drive the Iranian people into the arms of a regime that they would like to rid themselves of. Why?

The Bush Administration has supported Musharrif in Pakistan to the tune of billions of tax payer dollars for what? To provide a safe haven for OBL?
Because of this, there is a distinct possibility that Musharrif will be deposed and possibly replaced by a nuclear Islamic regime. There are many, many more Islamofacist in the world today than there was before Bush took office because of what Bush has done, not despite what he has done. The world is becoming far more dangerous because of the right wing philosophy that might means right.

Posted by: jlw at November 6, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #237699


I admit that I am also perplexed by the Administrations support for this treaty. Perhaps he finally realizes that letting Cheney and the Neocons run the show has really screwed his position in history.

Posted by: jlw at November 6, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #237736

I think the important point that folks are missing here is that we’re dealing with a world of sovereign countries.

Getting those sovereign countries to do anything against their will without diplomacy takes either war or reorganization of our economic relationships.

Unilaterally, war only works if we win and can win. Otherwise, we’re in a weak position. Unilaterally, economic measures require that

a) we be willing to give up whatever benefit we got from the relationship
b) we can make them hurt with whatever sanction we impose
c) we don’t get other countries making up for what damage (a) and (b) do.

By ourselves, we have limited reach, limited power. Even as the strongest nation in the world, our direct reach is limited, and many of our endeavours hit their limits much faster if others aren’t cooperating or at least stepping aside.

International organizations are merely diplomacy organized and regularized. Despite the hysterics of the right, we have survived years of UN and regularized international law without losing a great deal of power. In fact, it was part of the key to our power. We couldn’t fulfill every Right Wing fantasy of power, but that wasn’t what was important. Consistency is what’s important, and that’s what we lack without the LotS treaty.

The Right Wing’s hope and pray attitude towards international law and politics seems to be one step away from yogic flyers in terms of its real world effectiveness. Action, as things go, often follows talk, and if we’re not in a lot of the conversations out there, we’re on the sidelines on most world developments, and that is not anyway to remain a powerful nation in today’s world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 6, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #237771

Rhinehold,

You labor under the false impression that I approve of the US polluting at the level it does.

I know you don’t. Sorry if I let you believe otherwise.

However, that does not mean we should enter into treaties that do NOT address the problem, that is voluntary, and leaves the #1 polluter off of the hook for any penalties for their greenhouse gas emissions.

First, let me notice ironically that at Kyoto time, in 1998, the #1 was US and nobody except US itself let the #1 polluter at this time “off the hook for any penalties” for their GHG emissions…
And the reason given at this time was that the #1 will do nothing until the #2 does it too.
Today, the order has changed, but the issues and reasons given to avoid fixing it remains exactly the same: the #2 will do nothing until the #1 does it too! Highly hypocrite.

Second, while Kyoto protocol is far from being perfect, it result on some visible change of domestic policies in many states who ratified it, both pushing and being pushed by their people to make environment a far bigger factor in every decision taken.
And it was not a given! Go back in the 90’s, any guy who were surprised talking about nature, environment, pollution were labeled a tree-huger utopian in the next seconds.

Kyoto protocol make pollution issue a global one in every mind, while it was considered a national or even a backyard one before. Sadly, it take often far more time to enter the minds of world leaders than their people worldwide, but eventually it will happened too, soon hopefully.

Last but not least, nothing in the protocol forbid both a cap & trade system AND voluntary system to works on the issues. You seems to assume that the major states under Kyoto agreements were only trying to do what they agreed to do, and that way their people could avoid to do it on their own scale too, on a voluntary basis!?

In fact on environment topic, people are quite always leading and the leaders are slowly trying to catch up with the move.

I dunno for your area, but in Europe the way we think about every energy spent has changed drastically in just a few years. I’m watching it everyday.

Maybe people loves their children future too, to paraphrase a well-known Sting’s lyric…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 7, 2007 11:58 AM
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