Ratification of UNCLOS would protect and augment work of PSI to interdict WMDs
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Ratifying LOSC will bolster the U.S. ability to create bilateral and multilateral agreements with other countries to counter WMD proliferation, one of the biggest threats to U.S. security according to numerous analysts both in and outside of government.17 Government efforts to strengthen land-based interdiction efforts are increasing maritime tran- sit of dual-use technologies critical to developing and deploying WMD. In just one striking example, in June 2011 a U.S. Navy destroyer trailed a Belize-flagged ship suspected of carrying missile components to Burma and pressured the vessel to return to its origin in North Korea.18
In particular, ratifying LOSC will strengthen programs such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), since key partner and potential partner countries often voice skepticism over U.S. commit- ments to these transnational programs in light of the U.S. failure to ratify the convention. President George W. Bush launched PSI in 2003 to leverage existing national laws to improve interception of materials in transit and halt WMD-related financial flows. LOSC ratification will give PSI a stronger legal foundation under international law by removing “the bogus argument that PSI is a renegade regime that flies in the face of international law,” according to Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, former U.S. Coast Guard Judge Advocate General. “The net result will be more partners, more intelligence, more preemptive actions that help protect us from this most serious threat.”19 Indeed, removing this excuse for other countries’ non-participation in programs to counter proliferation would benefit the United States diplomatically and could help in negotiating future innovative solutions and programs.