In his latest commentary for The Diplomat, Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom looks at the freedom of navigation “myth.” Entitled “South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation: Taking a closer look at the freedom of navigation ‘myth’,” Odom uses TV’s “Mythbusters” methodology to identify universal standards and correct four fallacies about the South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation which have recently been promoted in the media.

His article breaks down four fallacies about the FON myth including:
• Fallacy A: Freedom of navigation is only one particular right, not a set of them.
• Fallacy B: FON is something that only “civilian and commercial” vessels enjoy.
• Fallacy C: ‘Sabotage’ is the prohibited threshold for coastal states limiting the FON of other States.
• Fallacy D: Only a coastal state’s military activities are questionable for limiting FON improperly.
According to Odom, “With increased focus and attention [on the South China Sea], it is becoming more important than ever to separate fact from fiction.” You can read more about this online at:

A follow-on commentary focused on applying universal standards to relevant data will be published separately in the near future by The Diplomat.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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