Maritime Counterproliferation Operations and the Rule of Law


Craig H. Allen
Praeger Security International
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   The proliferation challenge has taken an ominous turn in the 4 5 years since the 1962 "Missiles of October" crisis confronted President John R Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The Cold War standoff, which was predicated on concepts regarding rational state actors and deterrence, has been replaced by a world of rogue regimes and non-state actors, neither of which conforms to global nonproliferation norms or fits the rational actor profile. As a result, many states have concluded that the arms limitation and nonproliferation regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems no longer provide a sufficient basis for national or collective security. The reluctant answer for those states is an enhanced counterproliferation initiative, which seeks to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from the world's most dangerous actors. What has not changed in the intervening years is what Senator Robert F. Kennedy referred to as die need for supporters who "respect us and will follow our leadership." Today, more than ever, success in containing proliferation requires a creative and adaptive multilateral effort. Most recently, mat leadership has taken the form of the Proliferation Security Initiative, launched in 2003 with 11 states, and now numbering well over 70 supporters. Despite its growing support among states and even the United Nations, die initiative raises questions for some. This book seeks to address the legal questions surrounding maritime counterproliferation operations. The impetus for this book was my reaction to the sharply contrasting positions taken in testimony provided to die Senate Foreign Relations Committee during its 2003-2004 consideration of the question whether or not die United States should accede to the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Some of the convention's opponents argued mat acceding to the convention would undermine die Proliferation Security Initiative. The clear implication of their position was that by remaining a non-party to the convention, the United States would enjoy greater freedom of action to interdict weapons of mass destruction at sea. By contrast, those directly involved in maritime counterproliferation operations argued that the initiative's success would in no way be impaired, and might even be enhanced, if the United States joined the vast majority of states—including all of the PSI partner states—by becoming a party to the convention. This book seeks to evaluate the positions taken in that debate. It does so by providing a thorough analysis of the Proliferation Security Initiative's Statement of Interdiction Principles and an assessment of the extent to which the measures contemplated by the PSI interdiction principles conform to existing international law.

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