U.S. should assert its rights to develop in the Arctic by invoking the existing convention on the high seas
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The United States must stand up, take notice, and resist any effort to grant Russia or any other nation exclusive control over the Arctic's resources. Because the United States is not a party to UNCLOS, it must argue for a solution outside the treaty. This dispute is likely to take place in multi-party negotiations, and it is imperative that the United States shore up its legal positions now.
As it has done for quite a long time, the United States may rely on the doctrine of the freedom of the high seas codified in the Convention on the High Seas to assert that it is permitted to mine and navigate the area that Russia is attempting to claim. In addition to allowing free navigation of the high seas, that doctrine, now a part of international custom, allows any nation to participate in exploitation of the resources of a vast majority of the oceans. By arguing that UNCLOS does not apply to non-parties, the United States will be able to rely on this widely-supported doctrine while extracting oil, natural gas, and minerals from the seabed. An application of this doctrine will provide the United States with the best opportunity to serve its own interests without sacrificing its sovereignty to an international tribunal.
"Don't be Left out in the Cold: An Argument for Advancing American Interests in the Arctic Outside the Ambits of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
." Georgia Law Review
. (2007-2008): 833-865. [ More (6 quotes) ]
The U.S. can exercise its rights under the 1958 Convention on the High Seas to assert that it is permitted to mine and navigate in its Extended Continental Shelf. Ratifying UNCLOS would constrict the ability of the U.S. to respond to challenges to these rights by forcing all further negotiation to occur through the CLCS.