"Law or war"

As the ice melts, simmering international tensions over the frostbitten Artic heat up.

This week in Wired,
journalist Richard Morgan worries that "what has gone unnoticed amid the international clamor is that the Arctic battle has implications that reach far beyond the top of Earth." Unnoticed? Not by space lawyers.

Just ask the ever-quotable Prof. Joanne Gabrynowicz of the University of Mississippi her views on Earthly dealings over the frozen far north as precedent for addressing future claims to resources and land on the Moon. She instructs: "The recent Arctic events are relevant. The seabed, high seas, Antarctica, and space are, as a matter of law, global commons. What happens in one can be argued to be legal precedent in the others."

And Joanne adds, "As I tell my students, when humans have a conflict there are only two options: to reach agreement or to fight. Even agreeing to disagree or doing nothing simply puts these options further into the future; it does not create additional options. At the level of nations, these options are law or war."

We'll take more law any day.

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