Attempting to enforce navigational rights outside of UNCLOS framework would be an expensive undertaking and waste of resources
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I also believe, Mr. Chairman, that it is short-sighted to argue that, if the customary law system somehow breaks down, the United States, as the world’s pre-eminent naval power, wouldn’t have any trouble enforcing it. Clearly, our Navy could engage in such an effort. However, enforcing our navigational rights against every coastal nation in the event the Convention and customary law systems collapse would be very costly, both politically and economically. Moreover, it would divert our forces from their primary missions, including the long-term global war on terrorism. Excessive coastal nation claims are the primary threat to our navigational freedoms. Those claims can spread like a contagious virus, as they did in the 20th Century. The added legal security we get from a binding treaty permits us to use our military forces and diminishing resources more efficiently and effectively by concentrating on their primary missions.
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,