Russia has made no secret of their ambitious and aggressive plans for dominating the Arctic region and its resources. U.S. inattention to their advances could pose a long-term strategic threat to U.S. national security.
- Russia asserting its rights in Arctic to gain access to resources
- Russia is preparing for a new cold war in the Arctic
- Russia views Arctic as a potential area of future conflict and it is building up its military in response
- Russia views Arctic as necessary to restoring its leadership role that it lost after the Cold War
- Russia and U.S. still aggressively trailing each other's submarines in Arctic
The United States has historically been the world leader in protecting the common interest in navigational freedom and the rule of the law in the oceans. However, America has temporarily lost that leadership by its continued non-adherence to UNCLOS. U.S. accession to the Convention will restore that role and advance U.S. leadership in Arctic Ocean issues.
The UNCLOS treaty was originally concieved as a way to redistribute wealth on a global scale and the international regulatory structure that remains will likely inhibit development, depress productivity, increase costs, and discourage innovation.
- Worst problem with the Law of the Sea treaty is its resource management regime which establishes a cartel, squashes innovation, and redistributes revenues to non-state actors
- Anti-production and anti-competitive bias of UNCLOS evident in its establishment of cartels and quotas
- Regime setup by UNCLOS to govern deep seabed mining would stifle innovation with regulations
- US accession to UNCLOS would place mining interests directly under regulatory regime of the Authority
- UNCLOS based on outdated and discredited redistributionist ideas from the 1970s
States, corporate entities, and NGOs all have incentives to challenge unilateral claims by countries to resources outside the UNCLOS regime. Knowing this, U.S. corporations are reluctant to risk the liability involved in pursuing these claims, to the detriment of the U.S. economy.
- Corporations reluctant to embark on development outside of UNCLOS because of the potential backlash
- States that are party to UNCLOS could bring legal action against U.S. entities for not following UNCLOS in foreign courts
- Multiple states, corporate entities, and NGOs would have cause to challenge U.S. companies claims to resources outside of UNCLOS
- U.S. could still be bound by UNCLOS law even if it hasn't ratified the treaty
U.S. non-party status to UNCLOS means its challenges to excessive claims are less credible than they would otherwise be. Other States are less persuaded to accept its demand that they comply with the rules set forth in the Convention, given that the U.S. has not joined the Convention.
- States will be less likely to challenge U.S. with excessive claims when it is backed by its ratification of UNCLOS
- Ratification of UNCLOS key to resolving numerous boundary disputes in a consistent manner
- U.S. assertion of rights and challenges to excessive claims lack credibility as long as we remain outside of treaty
- U.S. is in no position to challenge excessive maritime claims as a non-party to UNCLOS
- Ratifying UNCLOS enhances U.S.national security by improving its ability to challenge excessive claims
Chinese practice with regard to innocent passage, exclusive economic zones, and sovereignty claims over what China calls “Historic Waters” is largely inconsistent with UNCLOS.
- China at odds with UNCLOS standards defining coastal baselines
- U.S. and China disagree on definition of Marine Scientific Research clause under UNCLOS
- Chinese practice and policy are at odds with UNCLOS agreement
- China has disagreed with principle of EEZ in UNCLOS since initial discussions
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By ratifying the Convention, the U.S. will have the support of the international community to exert pressure on China—either for peaceful dispute resolution or to adhere to the provisions of the Convention that it too has ratified.
- Convention offers diplomatic mechanism to resolve maritime disputes with China
- China's aggressive maritime posture is a consequence of U.S. failure of leadership on UNCLOS
- China using U.S. non-party status to UNCLOS to bludgeon it for hypocrisy when U.S. challenges China's excessive claims
- US shaping operations in Asia Pacific region would be greatly enhanced by US accession to UNCLOS
- Ratification of UNCLOS gives U.S. more ground to challenge China on freedom of navigation rights in South China Sea
- U.S. unable to resolve dispute with China over military ships operating in foreign EEZs as a non-party to UNCLOS
- U.S. stance on FONOPs in China's territorial waters undercut by its non-party status to UNCLOS
U.S. capability to influence China would be strengthened by a reassertion of the American leadership role over the development of international law of the sea. Since UNCLOS is the basis of modern international law of the sea, the U.S. should ratify the Convention in order to more effectively exercise this leadership from within the ranks, not just from outside them.
- U.S. can best demonstrate rule of law leadership by ratifying the Law of the Sea
- U.S. credibility in the Asia Pacific region is dependent on its ratification of UNCLOS
- UNCLOS is having a normative effect on shaping China's laws and behavior
- Ratifying UNCLOS would give US ability to credibly demand nations abide by rules in South China Sea
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