US failure to ratify treaty modifications it demanded has undercut credibility in international negotiations
During the UNCLOS negotiations, there was concern by the global community and the US for the greater good to avoid an oceanic tragedy of the commons.n57 Thus a way had to be found to accommodate US interests even on seabed mineral extraction matters. As a result, negotiations continued for a number of years and resulted in a separate agreement responding fully to US objections.n58 This agreement has now been accepted by 140 states but curiously and strangely not by the US for which it was designed!n59 This yet again illustrates the difficulty US negotiators have at critical international meetings when they achieve what is required. This problem moreover undercuts US credibility internationally as a reliable negotiating partner. The world's impression is that the US propounds, urges, uses its bully pulpit, negotiates strongly, and then fails to follow through. A tragedy of the commons may be more difficult to avoid than otherwise without the strong US leadership made possible by its following through with advice, consent, and ratification.
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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.Related Quotes:
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