Cornell Overfield

This article examines the legal utility of a U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Arctic against Russian and Canadian maritime claims. It reiterates that a FONOP can only be conducted against coastal state claims that affect warships or foreign government vessels. It concludes that Russia’s Northern Sea Route is not a viable FONOP target, and United States action would be limited to where Russia claims internal waters in its Arctic straits. Canada offers a better target, as its internal-waters claim entirely covers useful navigation routes in the Northwest Passage and some of its environmental regulations in its EEZ may apply to foreign government vessels.

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