by Steven Groves
The Heritage Foundation
June 26, 2014
Much has been said in recent years about a “race” or “scramble” to secure resources in the Arctic Ocean as polar ice recedes, inevitably leading to conflict in the region. But reality paints a very different picture. Over the past decades, Arctic nations have worked together to advance their shared goals for the region, and relations among them and the United States are characterized by collaboration, not conflict. Accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) would not materially advance any U.S. national interest in the region, and the costs of accession would outweigh any intangible benefits. The U.S. has already secured and continues to pursue its national security and economic objectives in the Arctic through bilateral and multilateral treaties that are not saddled with UNCLOS’s baggage. U.S. membership and participation in multilateral organizations renders accession to this deeply flawed treaty unnecessary.

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