“New South China Sea Lighthouses: Legal Futility and Strategic Risk” is a new article written by Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom and Prof. Kerry Lynn Nankivell for The Diplomat.

The article focuses on International law and how it can be viewed as “either a tool or a weapon, depending on how it’s wielded.”   The authors provide a rebuttal to an argument, previously published by The Diplomat, on the legal significance of China’s new lighthouses constructed in the Spratley islands.

According to the authors, “misinterpretation or partial understanding of the applicable international law can obfuscate the intentions of the rival claimants and further complicate the overall situation. In some ways, a partial understanding of the applicable law might be more harmful than no knowledge at all.”

Odom and Nankivell also discuss the strategic risk that may arise from misrepresentation of the applicable law to the South China Sea disputes, and the actions undertaken by rival claimant states in its name.

The full article is available online at: http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/new-south-china-sea-lighthouses-legal-futility-and-strategic-risk/


Commander Jonathan G. Odom and Kerry Lynn Nankivell are both professors at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Commander Odom teaches  international law and Professor Nankivell teaches maritime security. The views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the U.S. Department of Defense or DKI APCSS.