Ok, his Task Force Uniform may be a train wreck .... but he seems to get it; especially WRT China.
America’s cheerful assumption has been that although its ships are not as numerous as they recently were — 286 now, down from 594 in 1987 — there actually is a 1,000-ship Navy. That comforting figure aggregates all the navies of nations that have no agendas beyond keeping the great common orderly.Bingo.
China is deploying new submarines at an impressive rate — three a year. They are suited to pushing back U.S. power projection in the Western Pacific. China’s much-discussed ballistic and cruise missiles also seem designed to keep U.S. surface forces far from China’s soil. And China seems increasingly inclined to define the oceans off its shores as extensions of the shores — territory to be owned and controlled like “blue national soil.” This concept is incompatible with the idea of the oceans as a “common.”
This includes the “near seas” — the Yellow, South China and East China seas. But such “far seas” as the Indian Ocean also are crucial to China’s global commercial reach as a hyperactive importer and exporter. Disciples of Mahan want a national capacity to protect their nation’s interests there.
In “Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy” Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes, both on the War College faculty, remind readers that Mahan defined “command of the sea” as “overbearing power on the sea.” And that, he said, means power “which drives the enemy’s flag from it, or allows it to appear only as a fugitive; and which, by controlling the great common, closes the highways by which commerce moves to and fro from the enemy’s shores.”
When Mao reigned, say Yoshihara and Holmes, Mahan was “reviled” as “an apostle of imperialism and colonialism.” Now, they report, at major international conferences Chinese analysts have cited Mahan’s bellicose definition of command of the sea to emphasize “the value of sea power for China.”
BTW, if you missed the Midrats episode where we had Toshi and Jim on for the full hour - well get a cup of coffee and settle in.
Click here. Well worth your time.
Hat tip SJS.