Case 136 - Should the Reagan Administration Have Signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea?
Coll, Alberto R.
One of the critical questions the Reagan administration faced when it took office in January 1981 was what to do about the draft United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The treaty’s treatment of navigational issues seemed to meet the objectives that Washington had long sought; but it also asserted that the seabed’s mineral resources were the common heritage of mankind, and set out to establish an International Seabed Authority to regulate all underwater mining--which would primarily benefit poorer nations who lacked the technology to carry out seabed mining on their own. This case study asks students to examine the interaction of law, morality, ideology, and economic interests in diplomacy; study the role of personality and personal factors; and compare various approaches to the conduct of diplomacy.