Yet to recover from the midterm poll rout, George W. Bush has to face a recalcitrant ally as well. As South Korea refuses to participate in the bullish Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), the chink in the armour is appearing very fast. Fearing further confrontation from its nuclear-tipped northern neighbour, the South Koreans were wary to walk on the path of further confrontation. The refusal has once again raised a question mark on the US-led security initiative, which remains outside the scope and ambit of international laws and practices.
The PSI, it must be noticed, is a US-led consortium of more than 75 countries, which seeks to search and quarantine any ship, or airplane, suspected of carrying material related to terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. Coming into existence in 2003 (in response to the 11 September 2001 bombing in the US), the initiative is directly at odds with the norms that have been in operation since World War II.
The neo-security paradigm brings into question the status and legal postioning of the High Seas. It must be mentioned here that High Seas (Ocean beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone of the sovereign countries), which are labeled as the ‘Heritage of Humanity’ by the United Nations Laws on Seas, remain beyond the security, political or legal control of any country. And even with the move having the approval and tacit support of major countries like Japan, Germany and United Kingdom, the danger of cartelisation and monopolisation of the hydrosphere can potentially have dangerous implications leading to the hegemony of the lone Super Power of the world.
Theoretically, the initiative looks more like a modern and progressive legislation meant to keep the oceans beyond the reach and scope of ‘terrorists and rogue states’. With the intent to cut the nerve route of transportation, the move is meant to strike the terror operators in its belly. But beyond the theories, the PSI, which lies beyond the scope of either the UN or the international laws (it neither has a secretariat nor any charter), has the dangerous potential of being converted into another weapon in American arsenal to subjugate opponents.
In the absence of international sanctions, American maneuvers in intercepting sovereign ships in the dictatorial PSI regime would be reasoned on the same phony WMD bogey with which Iraq was attacked and decimated. In that light, American military exercises (for the PSI) like the Pacific Protector, Sanso, Sea Saber, Clever Sentinel and Team Samurai become nothing but just precursors to the ominous future.