Playing by the Rules in Both Home and Away Games - U.S. Interests in the Arctic and the South China Sea
27 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2011
No single nation of the world has a sovereignty claim in both the South China Sea and the Arctic, and not every nation of the world has asserted an interest in both regions. Some nations, including the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, have indicated or suggested they have interests in both regions or interests indirectly affected by disputes in both regions. Therefore, a preliminary question of fact worth considering is: what are the specific interests of those nations? A deeper, analytical question to also consider is: are those national interests consistent, and truly universal in nature?
If an observer were to view the two regional situations of the Arctic and the South China Sea through a sports lens, they would see the United States playing a 'home game' in one of its geographic regions of the world (i.e., the Arctic), while playing an 'away game' in another geographic region of the world (i.e., the South China Sea). Meanwhile, a nation like China would be playing a home game in its region and an away game outside of its region, but in the opposite locations. Logically, the national interests for home-region and away-region situations cannot be exactly the same. What, then, should be the relationship between national interests asserted by a nation in two different geographic locations? This paper will also consider that question.
The discussion in this paper will be divided into two parts. First, it will identify the interests that the United States holds in the South China Sea and the Arctic. Second, it will provide some personal insights and opinions of the author about two of those interests. This second part will also highlight and examine actions and inactions by other nations in the two regions that, in the author’s opinion, might be putting those U.S. interests at risk.
Keywords: South China Sea, Arctic, international law
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