Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 5-14-2022
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Morning folks. Thought I would spend a little more time focusing on using ships to keep tensions high between nations. First a little background.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, (UNCLOS) (Wikipedia)
UNCLOS replaces the older 'freedom of the seas' concept, dating from the 17th century. According to this concept, national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation's coastlines, usually 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) (three-mile limit), according to the 'cannon shot' rule developed by the Dutch jurist Cornelius van Bynkershoek. All waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters: free to all nations, but belonging to none of them (the mare liberum principle promulgated by Hugo Grotius).
In the early 20th century, some nations expressed their desire to extend national claims: to include mineral resources, to protect fish stocks, and to provide the means to enforce pollution controls.
The United States objected to the provisions of Part XI of the Convention on several grounds, arguing that the treaty was unfavorable to American economic and security interests. Due to Part XI, the United States refused to ratify the UNCLOS, although it expressed agreement with the remaining provisions of the Convention.
Missing the point on Law of the Sea debate Asia Times May 13, 2022
The provisions of UNCLOS are interpreted differently by different naval powers, including non-signatory the US.
A recent article for the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) (see below for link) and The Maritime Executive by former senior US Navy lawyer Raul (Pete) Pedrozo restates his and the United States’ interpretation of the relevant international law. But no matter how many times they do so, saying it does not necessarily make it acceptable to all other states.
The article refers amply to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. But the US is not a party to UNCLOS. Although the US claims to abide by most of its provisions, it and China have different interpretations of key terms and clauses. Moreover, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its regime were created de nouveau by UNCLOS. The EEZ is sui generis and neither “high seas” nor “international waters.”
China and many other countries argue that the Convention is a series of package deals and that non-ratifiers like the US are not entitled to the “benefits” of particular tradeoffs while eschewing their part of the bargain. ...
So the question may become: Which is more equitable or more valuable to the international community, the right to spy, “prepare the battlefield” and threaten, or the right to ban such activities in one’s EEZ?
We probably will never know the definitive legal answer because the US is not a party to UNCLOS and can neither avail itself of, or be subjected to, its dispute settlement mechanisms. This may be one reason the US has to resort to gunboat diplomacy to assert its interpretations.
The author suggests some serious escalation of activities done during Freedom of Access missions near China by US Navy.
Naval Operations and the Right to Operate Freely in the Taiwan Strait Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) May 3, 2022
The average width of the Taiwan Strait is 97 nautical miles (180 kilometers); at its narrowest point, it is 70 nautical miles (130 kilometers) wide. Waterways, like the Taiwan Strait, that are greater than 24 nautical miles wide are considered geographic straits (UNCLOS, Article 36). In such straits, high seas freedom of navigation and overflight, and other lawful uses of the seas relating to such freedoms, apply in the water beyond the territorial sea, that is, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and/or high seas corridor (UNCLOS, Articles 58 and 87, and Part III). Thus, outside the territorial sea, U.S. warships and aircraft may conduct the same range of military operations in the strait that they conduct in foreign EEZs or on the high seas. Some of these lawful military activities include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations; launching and recovery of aircraft and other devices; submerged transits for submarines and other underwater devices; weapons exercises; military marine data collection and naval oceanographic surveys; underway replenishment; maritime interdiction operations; DPRK sanctions enforcement; maritime security operations; and flight operations.
Given that there is an EEZ/high seas corridor in the strait, U.S. ships and aircraft can, and should, do more than just “transit” continuously and expeditiously through the strait and instead should exercise high seas freedoms in the EEZ. Ships and aircraft of all nations have the right to conduct normal operations in accordance with their high seas freedoms within the EEZ/high seas corridor of the Taiwan Strait. Statements, like the Navy’s April 26 release, give the impression that U.S. ships and aircraft are limited in what they can do while operating in the Taiwan Strait. Future U.S. operations in the strait should clearly demonstrate, through words and actions, that the waters and airspace of the Taiwan Strait are not, in any way, under Chinese control or jurisdiction.
Australian government does not like Chinese ships traveling in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around their country.
The defence minister, Peter Dutton, has called the presence of a Chinese spy ship off the coast of Western Australia “an aggressive act” but his department was far more sober in its assessment and international law experts have poured cold water on the claim.
It is not the first time such Chinese vessels have been in Australia’s exclusive economic zone. So, given we are a week out from an election and the Coalition wants the narrative refocused through a “we live in uncertain times” lens, let’s put the politics aside and step through the facts.
This Chinese intelligence collection vessel crossed Australia’s exclusive economic zone (not our territorial sea) on the morning of 6 May, a map released by Defence shows. The ship travelled south and passed Exmouth on 8 May before turning around on 10 May and heading north again.
Defence says the ship’s closest point of approach to Harold E Holt Communication Station was about 50 nautical miles (93km) on Wednesday morning. It has been heading north-east since then and was 250 nautical miles (463km) north-west of Broome on Friday morning. Defence speculates the ship could be off Darwin (don’t mention the war over the port’s 99-year lease) by Sunday if it continues its current route.
Dutton said the ship had been “in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia”.
Experts point out Australia’s territorial sea extends just 12 nautical miles (22km) from the coastline. In the exclusive economic zone, which stretches out to 200 nautical miles (370km), Australia has rights to regulate fishing. Countries have freedom of navigation and overflight in the EEZ – they just can’t start exploiting resources or fisheries.
a copy of the map at Sputnik News
Just a little on Ukraine.
When I entered business many seminars and books had revived Norman Peale's lessons in his book The Power of Positive Thinking.
Say it is so, believe it is so and it becomes your reality.
Is this how the Ukraine war is being implemented on the the Western side of the conflict?
Ukraine’s information war is winning hearts and minds in the West The Conversation May 12, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dominated headlines since late February 2022. The war struck a nerve among Western audiences, evoking a high degree of support for Ukraine.
The reasons for the prominence of the war in the West are many and varied.
But there’s more to the West’s captivation with the war than is immediately apparent. As a scholar of armed conflict and security, I also find a compelling explanation for why the West is so focused on Ukraine in the Ukrainian government’s ability to provide information about the war in a way that appeals to Western sensibilities.
With the charismatic President Volodymyr Zelensky leading the way, Ukraine’s savvy use of traditional and social media as well as direct appeals to the US Congress, European Parliament and the court of world opinion have provided a clear and compelling framing of the war.
Ukraine has also benefited from pro bono public relations services from major Washington, DC, firms such as 5WPR and SKDK as well as some of their UK counterparts.
SKDK’s managing director, Anita Dunn, served as senior adviser to President Joe Biden throughout his presidential campaign and in the early months of his administration and is reportedly returning to the White House in advance of the upcoming midterm elections.
SKDK assisted in drafting Zelensky’s speeches condemning Russian aggression and war crimes to the UN General Assembly and Security Council. This parallels pro bono legal support from Washington, DC, law firms such as Covington & Burling, which filed a brief to the International Court of Justice on Ukraine’s behalf in March.
Still, questions remain about the long-term viability of this strategy. Can Ukraine’s strategic use of information continue to offset Russia’s material advantages?
By definition, information warfare obscures and distorts reality in order to tilt perceptions of a conflict to a country’s advantage. Paraphrasing an age-old adage, the war between Russia and Ukraine is a reminder that the first battle in contemporary wars may be for the truth.
What is on your mind today?