U.S. has significant national interests in ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty
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This shortsighted view is against U.S. national interests. The U.S. military prefers to use UNCLOS to ensure that our ships can navigate freely throughout the world, rather than relying on existing amendable interna- tional laws. Businesses desire the certainty that their claims on the conti- nental shelf and deep seabed will be valid and recognized before investing billions of dollars into drilling and extraction projects. U.S. territory could be significantly enlarged as U.S. rights to the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone around Guam, Hawaii, and other distant possessions would be recognized by the other 166 signatories. Due to the continental shelf provisions, U.S. interest in the seas and ocean floor off the coast of Alaska could extend as far as 350 miles. This is especially important now as the Arctic Ocean is warming. The four other Arctic nations—Canada, Denmark, Russia and Norway—are signatories, and the United States should be at the table when these issues are negotiated. Finally, the United States would have a permanent seat on the Council (as the nation with the largest gross national product), should the country ratify and thereby have veto power over the substantive and financial issues that arise under UNCLOS.
There is a strong economic, military, and strategic case to be made for U.S. ratification of UNCLOS. Economically, the U.S. would benefit by attaining new protections for its vital maritime industries while opening up new industries and vast amounts of terroritory. The military case is just as strong with the overwhelming consensus of military leaders advocating for ratification as a way to ensure the freedom of navigation rights the U.S. depends on. Finally, ratification of UNCLOS would help the U.S.