Matt Stoller gets the significance of the UNCLOS:
Without being able to pass the very basic Law of the Sea treaty, there is no way we will ever get a treaty through on global warming, create the space to internationalize the Iraq mess, or work with allies abroad in any coherent manner. Fortunately, this is extremely winnable. All it will take is some floor time from Reid, and we’ll win, embarrass, and marginalize the hyper-nationalists.
Conventional wisdom has it that these kinds of treaties are DOA in the Senate. UNCLOS seriously challenges that assumption. (This is probably why the people that Taylor Marsh calls the “anti-UN black helicopter crowd” are so frightened of its passage.)
Ratifying LOS would makes future treaty ratification battles that much easier. And these are not treaties that will come up in the distant future. Negotiations over a post-Kyoto global environmental pact will begin in Bali in December. Should the Senate ratify UNCLOS, there is no reason to think that a strong accord coming out of the Bali process will automatically go the way of the Kyoto Protocal when it hits the Senate.