With so few U.S.-Flagged ships and carriers, is America still a maritime power?
Stephen Carmel, Sr. Vice President Maritime Services at Maersk Line, Limited.
I have three thoughts in reflection of this article and the comments within. The first is how impressive the international trade order is today. The system is resilient to minor disruption, and that goes for both terrorists and pirates, meaning nothing short of state level interference can disrupt the system. Equally important is the efficiency of the modern trade system by sea that has been tweaked over decades of unobstructed operations.
The second thought is that the global trade order at sea today is a product of peacetime, and almost certainly is going to severely malfunction if disrupted by conflict between states. It is unclear if there is any contingency for that event, indeed all signs suggest there is not. That efficiency in trade – just in time logistics – is going to compound problems should the modern trade system ever be placed under serious stress. I also note conflict isn’t the only way states can stress the system, poorly thought out and managed regulation by collections of states or multinational institutions can be just as harmful to the modern global trade system. Said another way, it is absolutely valid that multinational organizations like the European Union or United Nations that could potentially heavily influence poorly constructed and thought out regulation of sea trade implemented by many nations is a much greater threat to trade at sea than terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda is. I don’t think the foreign policy of states reflects that second consideration.
The third thought is that the modern trade system accurately reflects a desired trade order for the modern global economy, and the efficiency of the trade system in peacetime combined with the reality that global sea trade industry is almost entirely privately owned are perhaps the two biggest examples.
Is China the real Mahanian maritime power of the 21st century?
Robert C. Rubel, Dean, Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the Naval War College.
The discussion in that threads comments exceed anything that can be written here. If you have not already, I encourage you to follow and engage the discussion already underway in that thread. When I see Peter Swartz, John Maurer, Barney Rubel, John Patch, etc… playing cross fire in a blog post, it has me wondering if A.T. Mahan has already been replaced in the 21st century. In the 20th century, of course one individual would represent the core of maritime strategic thought of the nation. But in the 21st century, would it not be a network of individuals – rather than one person – that represents the core of maritime strategic thought of the nation? It’s a question I have been asking myself following the posts by both Stephen Carmel and Robert Rubel.
To what extent is the Navy setting forth a strategic vision that agrees with your understanding of America’s global role?
Secretary Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy under President Bill Clinton and an advisor to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign on national security issues.
I am very proud both campaigns contributed to the event this month on ID. I am fairly certain both campaigns are not going to do something similar across the broader blogosphere, and I am also fairly sure there are few places in the blogosphere where both campaigns could contribute and feel comfortable doing so. I am very proud that two former Secretary’s of the Navy contributed – John Lehman and Richard Danzig. As someone who loves history and chases history, I have had the privilege of learning a lot about both men over the years through the stories of the folks who worked under them.
A story regarding Secretary Danzig many people apparently don’t know. There were two O-6s that basically ran Secretary Danzig’s office: Capt. James Stavridis and Col. Robert Work. I have no idea how those two men came about working for Secretary Danzig, but I would be shocked if it was an accident. My guess is that Danzig wanted people working for him that he knew would be influencing the Navy for the next several decades, and he knew how to spot them. I think today – in the information age – it’s much easier to spot those LTs, LCDRs, and CDRs who will be influencing the Navy the next several decades, but it is still the same crap shoot to figure out which, if any, will ever make Flag. Ironic that, because it tells me the Navy has a uniquely applied definition of professional exceptionalism.
Are China’s Near Seas “Anti-Navy” capabilities aimed directly at the United States?
Dr. Andrew S. Erickson, Associate Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and a core founding member of the department’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI).
Few people in the world articulate the complexity of China as well as Andrew Erickson, and this piece is a great example. I truly believe the open dialog of challenges both sides dealing with the other is part of the solution towards an enduring and long term mutually beneficial relationship between the US and China in the 21st century, and history will look back at what the folks t CMSI have contributed publicly across broad print and electronic media and cite that as a source of the mutual understanding between both nations during the rise of China. Much as commercial goods like blue jeans and even entertainment had difficult to measure impacts on US-USSR relations during the cold war, that intersection between China and the US of information along the information superhighway is slowly building mutual admiration on a civilian level beneath the political level, adding an awareness that balances the nationalistic tendencies.
This piece concludes by noting the challenges of managing the relationship between the US and China in the context of the Near Seas. What Andrew doesn’t say, and I believe is the next step, is that the US is going to be stepping back from the Near Seas intentionally and assuming the risk of doing so, but with an understanding that it is a required step for the relationship between the US and China to be fostered in a positive way. The risk of that step is how China fills in the space where the US steps out of, and if they fill that space in a responsible or assertive way. Today there are strong data points that argue it could go either way, and that’s the challenge.