U.S. efforts to address excessive claims outside of UNCLOS framework are unsustainable
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U.S. adherence to the Convention is not necessary because navigational freedoms are not threatened (and the only guarantee of free passage on the seas is the power of the U.S. Navy).
- It is not true that our navigational freedoms are not threatened. There are more than one hundred illegal, excessive claims affecting vital navigational and overflight rights and freedoms.
- The United States has utilized diplomatic and operational challenges to resist the excessive maritime claims of other countries that interfere with U.S. navigational rights under customary international law as reflected in the Convention. But these operations entail a certain amount of risk – e.g., the Black Sea bumping incident with the former Soviet Union in 1988.
- Being a party to the Convention would significantly enhance our efforts to roll back these claims by, among other things, putting the United States in a far stronger position to assert our rights and affording us additional methods of resolving conflict.
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,