U.S. Strategy in Global Ocean: between Consistency and Contradiction


The US has traditionally played a key role in the protection of rules of international law, including the use and exploitation of oceans space and resources. The US struggle with other states excessive maritime claims is carried out in the framework of the Freedom of Navigation Program (FON). Its implementation is crucial not only for ensuring the US commercial and economic interests, but strategic and war ones also. First, it guarantees the opportunity for American armed forces’ rapid transfer by sea. However, in their fight against such kinds of threats like nuclear proliferation, piracy, maritime terrorism, which are a challenge to all countries of the world community, the United States directly violates the rules and provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Moreover, the US's desire to ensure for itself a priority level of naval and intelligence activities leads Washington to a broad interpretation of conventional rules. As a result, the US non-participation in the 1982 UNCLOS combined with continuous enforcing of other states Convention rules defines the US ocean policy as globally contradictory and inconsistent. Presently, additional economical and political incentives have appeared, motivating Washington to revise its policy with respect to the fundamental international sea-law document. At the same time, the prospects of its accession to the 1982 UNCLOS, and in a broader sense, adjustment of approaches to the issues of the ocean’s space control will depend on the balance of internal powers advocating different options of global strategy.

Keywords Customary spaces; 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); Freedom of Navigation (FON); right of transit passage; international straits; Navy; Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD); Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI); maritime terrorism; conventional and customary law; Arctic; Asia-Pacific region.

Authors: Pavel Gudev

Read the article in PDF