U.S. interests are threatened by international NGOs and other actors that are shaping the future of UNCLOS without U.S. input
The real threat to U.S. oceans interests is not the United Nations, but the relentless campaign by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as Greenpeace in conjunction with certain coastal countries, including close U.S. allies such as Canada and Australia, to unilaterally impose maritime rules to restrict international shipping on the oceans and aircraft overflight of the seas for purported environmental reasons. For example, a group of Western European states pushed for a ban on single-hull tankers from a vast area of international waters in the Eastern Atlantic, and in 2006 the European Commission suggested in a report that the navigational freedoms in the Law of the Sea Convention should be revised to expand coastal state jurisdiction over transiting vessels.
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, describes this type of partnership between NGOs and some like-minded governments as norming ... the idea that the U.S. should base its decisions on some kind of international consensus, rather than making its decisions as a constitutional democracy. He adds, It is a way in which the Europeans and their left-wing friends here and elsewhere try and constrain U.S. sovereignty. The rules emerging from this process weaken the navigational freedoms the United States relies on to ensure submarines can transit through the world's choke points and ships serving as sea bases in coastal waters can launch military operations.
As the pre-eminent global maritime power, the U.S. has significant interests in the global effect of the Convention’s rules and their interpretation with many issues that of greater concern to us than to most other countries (for example, preserving freedom of navigation rights). Our adversaries view this as a weakness they can exploit and are shaping the course of the convention in ways adverse to U.S. interests while the U.S. remains on the sidelines, unable to participate in the discussion as a non-party.