The National Interest and the Law of the Sea By Scott G. Borgerson


The oceans have long been a critical stage for international relations. Before there was air transport and instant communication, people, goods and ideas traveled the world by ship. For centuries a strong presence, both military and commercial maritime has been essential for states with big power aspirations. Today, even with advances in technology, maritime trade remains the hub of the world economy. As the International Maritime Organisation, reports “more than 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea.” And beyond trade, a number of other issues, ranging from climate change and energy for defense and piracy, ensure that the oceans hold significant strategic interest in the future.

In this Special Report Council, Scott G. Borgerson explores an important element of the regime of maritime policy: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Examines international negotiations leading up to the convention, as well as the history of the debates in the United States over the possibility of joining it. Then the strategic importance of the oceans for US foreign policy is analyzed nowadays. The report ultimately makes a strong case for the United States to accede to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, saying it would benefit US national security and economic and environmental interests of States United. Among other things, the report, accession to the convention would guarantee the rights of the United States commercial and naval ships, increase the competitiveness of US companies in offshore activities, and increase the influence on important policy decisions, such as awards of national claims to potentially US rich sections resources of the continental shelf.

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