UNCLOS prohibits valuable maritime interdiction efforts of Proliferation Security Initiative
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PSI is not compatible with LOST, despite proponents’ claims to the contrary. As a treaty, LOST is binding international law on the parties, whereas PSI is only an informal arrangement between certain nations, and carries no force as international law. The argument that PSI can be executed within the rules of LOST, even though LOST clearly prohibits boarding actions critical to PSI, ignores the fact that LOST outranks PSI in the hierarchy of international law.
As a result, unless one or more of the Treaty-approved circumstances for an at-sea intercept applies, LOST member states could be precluded from participating in such an action – even when there might be compelling evidence that nuclear or other WMD or their delivery systems were on board. As long as the United States continues not to be a LOST state party, it can always act unilaterally. That option, however, will be foreclosed, and our security possibly endangered as a result, if the Senate consents to the Treaty’s ratification.
In this connection, it must be noted that the Chinese and Russians have strenuously objected to the Proliferation Security Initiative, claiming that it violates LOST. They can be expected to seek mandatory dispute resolution of the matter should the United States become a state party. Should the ruling go against us, a critical tool in the nation’s effort to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems could be lost for good.