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Round 1: souls v scientist Should Santa declare war on Russia?

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posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 09:33 PM
The topic for this debate is "Nations have a right to assert territorial claims to the North Pole and seaways which provide access to it".

souls will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
scientist will argue the con position.

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posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 09:51 PM
Probably, I saw on FOX that Santa has been amassing weapons of mass destruction and a terrorist regime to go along.

Now, nations do have a right to assert territorial claims to the North Pole and seaway which provide access to it, let me show you. The North Pole sits at the Northern most point of the planet Earth. Unlike it's counter part, The Southern pole, the North consists of constantly shifting frozen Arctic ice making it practically impossible for any able and willing country to install permanent research stations on this "ground". This area of the Arctic Ocean is bordered by Russia, Norway, Denmark (Greenland), the United States of America and Canada. Claims to territories within this area, have been coming from these same countries for decades, but not all of these territory claims have been universally recognized by one another.

Starting in 1973 and ending in 1982, the United Nations held the third set of conventions on the law of the sea, resulting in what would be called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The convention was put to force on November 16, 1994. This form of ratification was acquired to replace previous treaties that had been outdated and also to replace the concept of freedom of the seas that until that point, most countries recognized. The Convention on the Law of the Sea specifically outlined boundaries, and regulations to these boundaries, for all countries participating in the convention. Over 154 countries have joined the convention, thus recognizing the boundaries set forth by the agreement. Although some countries may recognize parts of the Convention, not all have actually signed or ratified it, including the United States of America.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes a baseline. In ward of this baseline reside what are called the country's internal waters. In these waters, the country is free to regulate commerce, research, and preservation based on it's own laws and scientific interests. No country can infringe on another's internal waters, and innocent passage is strictly forbidden. Out ward of the baseline, 24 nautical miles out ward, reside the country's territorial waters, including the contiguous zone. These waters have the same jurisdiction of its coastal country but can also allow other country's to use these waters for innocent passage. Beyond these 24 nautical mile zone, for another 174 nautical miles, the end of the Exclusive Economic
zone is defined. This zone, totaling 200 nautical miles from the baseline, is defined as the zone where it's coastal country has absolute rights over the exploitation of natural resource for economic and scientific purposes. Within this zone, foreign nations are still free to operate above and below the water line, as in airways for airplanes and water routes for transportation ships, all with the approval of the coastal country who has jurisdiction.

Beyond this point, the presence of the continental shelf is also recognized extending to the boundary of international waters. The continental shelf has significance due to the fact that it can be recognized past the Exclusive Economic zone of 200 nautical miles thus extending the jurisdiction of the coastal country and its territory. If a country can establish that the continental shelf is the one pertaining to the country's land mass, that country has a right to assert it's territorial claims to that extension including the North Pole.

posted on Oct, 2 2007 @ 03:04 PM
Nations do not have the right to assert territorial claims to the North Pole, nor the seaways which provide access to it. The leading argument regarding this matter involves the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (aka Law of the Sea Treaty, hereafter referred to as "LOST"), which is a treaty yet to be ratified by the United States, despite it's creation over two decades ago.

Some background on LOST is in order, to first exclude it as a basis for asserting territorial claims for the North Pole. Originally, LOST was created to update the original law from the 1700s, which stated each country's territory extended three nautical miles from the coastline. While three nautical miles is hardly enough for drilling, fishing and enforcement of pollution laws, extending this limit by over 600% begins to defeat the purpose of international waters. In addition, this treaty has still not been ratified by 40 other countries, not including the United States. Basing the "right" of nations to assert territorial claims on the North Pole, on a treaty that has yet to be globally accepted, especially by the country that would fund it (United States), is not a valid stance. In fact, US President Woodrow Wilson argued against this concept, stating "absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants." This stance was rejected by Britain, France and Germany - all of which have ratified LOST.

With LOST excluded as the "right" to assert territorial claims, based on the fact that it has not been accepted by the United Nations, we shall move forward. Again, the point of this debate is not to justify whether or not claims are a good idea, but if they are "right." To put some more focus on what "right," the topic of International Waters (Mare Liberum) should be expanded upon. Currently, international waters are transcendent of country laws, so facilitate travel and trade, among many other reasons. Mare Liberum was first proposed in the early 1600s, and a main focus was to break up various monopolies.

Obviously, expanding into the Arctic would cause a domino effect, in that if it's "right" to claim new territory outwards from coast to sea, it would not be right to only apply to the North Pole, and would have to apply globally, for all coasts of all countries. Naturally, this would cause conflicts between countries, especially maritime nations. No nation has the "right" to expand it's territory which has been defined for over three centuries, unless agreed to by every other nation on the planet. While the North Pole is in close proximity to many nations, it is not the property of any.

The debate over whether it's right or wrong is tricky, as the very same debate could take place over land acquisition in general, however this particular case touches on internationally accepted conduct, which has been in place before the United States even existed in it's present form. Such expansion would benefit certain nations greatly, while having adverse effects on others (via new taxes, new monopolies and limits on sovereignty) - and not affecting other nations at all. For a global policy to be "right," it must be equal, balanced and agreed upon globally. Such an agreement has not been made, therefore no nation has the right to assert territorial claims in the North Pole.

posted on Oct, 3 2007 @ 12:27 AM
While it is correct that the United States has yet to ratify this document, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is not yet "LOST" and still stands as the most valid argument giving nations the right to assert territorial claims to land mass, seaways, and the continental shelf that pertains to the country within the limits expressed in the document, even the Arctic region of the world as it applies. Before I proceed, I will clarify some points that have been expressed by the con position. My opponent's adopted offense is designed to obscure the understanding of the authenticity behind the UNCLOS and its recognition, even if it is only in part, by countries all over the world. Within the distortion, the current efforts to accept the convention are included. My opponent has stated that revision of late 17th, early 18th century established understanding of maritime law will be disastrous to the world caused by a domino effect that starts at the Arctic region. This is how these distortions and assertions are false.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to this day has been signed and ratified by many countries, over 150, all over the world. Some of the provisions put forth by the UNCLOS have also been adopted by some of the countries that have only signed the treaty and not yet ratified it, and even some who have not even signed the treaty. The UNCLOS was needed as the concept of Mare Liberumput forth by Hugo Grotius, specially the 3 nautical mile limit added by Cornelius Bynkershoek in his De dominio maris, was starting to take its toll on nation states, after centuries of endurance. The problems that arise from Mare Liberum stem from disputes over natural resource rich seabeds, disputes between local fish markets and long distance competitors who wish to compete within the pertaining country's coastal waters and environmental concerns are a major issue regarding the close proximity of travel by commercial and naval ships over the country's coastal waters. Evidence that shows the necessity of a revision to the old "rule", lies within the actions by countries all over the world. BY 1950, Ecuador, Peru and Chile had already asserted a 200 mile zone extending from their coast as sovereign to those nations, while Argentina had already claimed its continental shelf. Following World War 2, nations such as Egypt, Lybia, and some European countries to the East had laid claim to the 12 nautical mile zone extending from their coasts as territory of that nation. Finally, in 1945, Harry Truman decided to extend the territory of the United States to include its continental shelf due to the potential of natural resources. Through these examples I have shown that there has been a clear challenge to the Mare Liberum concept, by countries all over the world. These challenges arise from the fact that instead of facilitating the understanding of maritime law and procedures, Mare Liberum, in essence, created more problems and disputes because of the unclear boundaries that it created. The UNCLOS is not disastrous to geo stability any more than Mare Liberum has been. By specifically outlining procedure and boundaries for nation states to follow, UNCLOS helps solve disputes and counter disputes that have arisen from nations states who, other wise, would not have resolved their issues, creating more problems. Fortunately, the United States has not seen the treaty as "LOST" yet. In 1994, upon the enforcement of the treaty, the United States introduced what would be called, the 1994 Implementing Agreement. This in turn, modified Part XI of the UNCLOS so that the issues originally being disputed by the United States would be "fixed" and the country can have full agreement to the treaty. Currently, the Bush administration is awaiting approval by the Senate to ratify the UNCLOS, ultimately, this would have the United States bound by the international provisions set forth in an official manner.

As we can see, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is still alive and well. To this day, even without signature and ratification, the United States still recognizes the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf boundaries. By recognizing the exclusive economic zone and shelf, the United States also recognizes the right of nations to assert territorial claims that fall withing this range. To reenforce my position, we need only to look at the nations bordering the North Pole and their actions pertaining to the UNCLOS. The first country will be the United States. We have established that this country has not signed nor ratified the treaty, yet it still recognizes most of the boundaries set forth, including the exclusive economic zone and shelf. Next, we have Canada whom ratified the UNCLOS on NOvember 7, 2003. Russia ratified the UNCLOS on March 12, 1997, Norway on June 24, 1996 and finally, through way of Greenland, Denmark ratified the convention on November 16, 2004. With these points established, one can only conclude that these nations, bordering the North Pole are in mutual agreement as to the boundaries that will determine who lies withing the position of the North Pole. If the country can determine that their continental shelf and or exclusive economic zone extends past the North Pole, that nation has a right to assert its territorial claims over the area.

posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 03:16 PM
Scientist has missed his opportunity to post. Souls may proceed with his next post.

posted on Oct, 8 2007 @ 02:10 PM
souls is late and forfeits his reply. Scientist may post. The next debater to miss a post will forfeit this debate.

posted on Oct, 10 2007 @ 12:29 AM
scientist is disqualified. Souls will advance.

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