(WASHINGTON TIMES) The nation’s top defense officials warned Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. will have to rely solely on military might to assert itself on the high seas and maintain freedom of navigation if the Law of the Sea Treaty is not ratified.

“The force of arms does not have to be, and should not be, our only national security instrument,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

If the U.S engages in “gunboat diplomacy,” instead of international law governing rights and responsibilities on the high seas, “then the end result of that is going to be conflict,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told the committee.

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