The Wall Street Journal recently published a review of a new book by Gregg Easterbrook, “The Blue Age: How the U.S. Navy Created Global Prosperity—And Why We’re in Danger of Losing It”, that highlights the relative peace and tranquility on the seas, courtesy of the U. S. Navy. The importance of ocean shipping has been suddenly called to our attention by the disruptions created by Covid-19 and the world-wide chip shortage. Think how much worse it would be with the addition of a naval conflict.
We have long believed in the importance of sea power in maintaining some semblance of world cooperation. Our blog of 14 May 2013, Freedom of the Seas addressed the importance of maintaining free movement of goods and services over the world’s oceans ad airwaves.
At the same time that China has become increasingly adventurous in the South China Sea, threatening trade routes, including the critical Malacca Strait, the U.S. Navy has shrunk from 600 ships to less than 300.
On a more positive note, the recent landmark announcement that Australia, the U.S. and the UK have agreed to a new trilateral Indo-Pacific security alliance, highlighted by the planned sale, by Britain and the U.S., of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. The Australians are clearly aware of the critical, perhaps existential, importance of maintaining their unfettered access to the world’s oceans.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA