Freedom of navigation program has been overwhelmed by excessive claims
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“Egregious Excessive Claims.” A ninth reason that led the United States toward accession to the Convention was the growing political and military cost of the Freedom of Navigation (FON) Program. This effort, initiated by the Carter administration in 1979 and continued under presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, combined diplomatic and operational (not solely naval) means to discourage claims violating the navigational freedoms asserted by the 1982 Convention—freedoms that the US. supported even though, for other reasons, it had not signed the treaty.49 The FON program involved (and at this writing still does) naval exercises and consultations, bilateral and multilateral, with other governments to promote maritime stability, conformance with international law, and adherence by all nations to the customary rules and international law reflected in the Convention.
The United States can assert its navigational rights at any point on the globe, but it cannot be assured of a local superiority of forces simultaneously at every location of potential maritime dispute. Moreover, obvious practicality compels restraint—against both allies and potential adversaries—over maritime disputes. Even the peaceful and non-confrontational Freedom of Navigation (FON) program may present diplomatic costs and pose risks inherent in physical challenges,