The law of the sea is an important achievement in establishing an international rule of law
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The rule of law matters. Law serves to provide clear expectations as to juris- dictional boundaries and national rights and obligations so necessary for co- operative relations, economic life, and more broadly, human creativity. Thus, we need to know the breadth of the territorial sea, who manages coastal stocks of fish, the rules for straits transit and a myriad of other rules to func- tion cooperatively in the oceans. If some states claim three nautical miles for the territorial sea and others two hundred nautical miles, we simply do not know the basic rules. But of even greater importance, the rule of law serves as a check on power. An oceans space driven by out-of-control national claims and a “might makes right” credo can neither serve community com- mon interests nor restrain conflict. The Law of the Sea Convention is a re- markable achievement in the rule of law—providing both stability and a check on power.