As a non party to UNCLOS, US lack's credibility as a maritime leader and when making claims to preserve its freedom of navigation rights
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Finally, there are numerous incentives for the United States to join the Convention and discontinue its exclusive reliance on customary international law.382 By becoming a member, the United States would be more credible when it invokes treaty provisions-for instance, when it is in a property "bilateral disagreement."383 As a member of UNCLOS, the United States would be able to vote for individuals that would in fact sit on the Law of the Sea Tribunal to ensure that interpretation of the Convention is favorable to U.S. policy.384 As it relates to the freedom of the high seas, the United States would be able to curtail certain proposals that would adversely affect U.S. military or navigational interests.385
The international community is on a fast track and is continuously changing directions. To maintain its economic dominance in the international community, the United States must join the Convention on the Law of the Sea.386 It is in the best economic, military, and environmental interests for the United States to join the Convention, and adherence to its guidelines would encourage others to join, resulting in more stability in the ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼laws governing the ocean.
U.S. failure to ratify UNCLOS raises fundamental questions regarding not only the future of legal regimes applicable to the world’s oceans, but also U.S. leadership in promoting international law and order.
Additionally, our partners lose confidence in the ability of the United States to make good on its word when we negotiate and sign treaties but don’t ultimately become party to them, especially as in the case of UNCLOS where the U.S. negotiated aggressively to win valuable concessions and won them.