The US is Losing the Battle for the High Seas - part 2

by Ron Fraser
(United States)

Loss of Isolation

The fact of its separation by the natural barriers of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from the World Island has worked in America’s favor ever since its founding as a nation. These great oceans were natural barriers to incursion by foreign foes, only twice breached by surprise air attack, in 1941 and 2001. The U.S. mainland has never suffered a successful attack on its shores by a seaborne enemy.

But, even as Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo was very much aware of in 1941, such a maritime nation as the U.S., in contrast to any landlocked country, must maintain a serviceable navy of proportions that enable adequate defense of its shorelines, in particular, its ports and harbors.

Great Britain, until recent times, was historically able to defend its island nation, and later its far-flung empire, by great naval strength, a strength that is no more. In recent years, at times Britain’s vastly reduced navy has not had sufficient fuel to leave port, has not had enough shells to fire in maritime exercises and has literally had to borrow vessels from foreign countries to meet the most minimal of needs.

In contrast, U.S. naval power is overwhelmingly the greatest of any nation on Earth. Yet, what good is a navy if it is denied access to various ports of call necessary to carry out its function? Unless that navy controls or substantially influences the nations bordering the sea gates through which it must pass, it may as well stay put in its home ports. This is the very weakness in U.S. defense that strategists seem to be largely ignoring.

In the European theater, America has rested on its laurels, progressively drawing down its military presence following the grand Soviet Union implosion of the early 1990s. Especially since the conclusion of the Balkan wars, U.S. focus has swung to the Islamic crescent that arcs from northern Africa, across the Middle East to the Caucasus. This has involved concentrating military assets and strategy in Afghanistan, Iraq and in foreign countries, such as Turkey, which give ready access to this theater. But as the U.S. concentrates on this patch of the Earth’s surface, and on a transient enemy that is proving most elusive, it seems to have lost sight of the devil at its back door.

If, as Sir Winston Churchill mused, the Mediterranean is indeed the “soft underbelly” of Europe, then Latin America is that of the U.S.

The U.S. currently faces two glaring challenges to its security as a nation: surprise attack from Islamic extremists, and a continuing incursion of illegal aliens through its highly porous southern border. While America’s military strategists devote substantial energies to the war on terror, a scattered, grossly undermanned band of state authorities attempt to limit the overwhelming tide of illegals daily crossing the southern borders of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. This is becoming a hot potato that is proving to be practically, economically and politically impossible for the U.S. administration to effectively handle.

Yet quite apart from these twin security headaches, the most vital challenge to U.S. security gets little press, and when it does, it gains little credence. It is simply the massive strategic potential that China has quietly and steadily gained.

China’s Gain

Over the past decade, China has been buying up controlling interests in the crucial sea gates once almost totally controlled by Anglo-American interests at the time of British and American global supremacy. See the maps below to compare the way it was when Britain and the U.S. controlled every major sea gate at the zenith of their power, and the way it is today.

China, the most populous nation on the World Island, exhibiting the fastest growth rate of any national economy in the world, is reaching out beyond its singular eastern coastline in a grand strategic effort to turn the tables on the Western Hemisphere to which it has played second fiddle for centuries. This grand strategy will eventually see China do more than possess most of the world’s crucial sea gates—which it already does. As its naval strength gains rapidly from the present massive expenditure being devoted to it, China, allied with two other great naval powers, will ultimately be able to compete on a scale far better than equal with the U.S. naval presence in the major shipping lanes of the world. One factor that limits this potential is the present political divide between China and Japan.

Already, in step with the biblical prophecy of our times, Russia and China have been making friendly overtures to each other, even conducting joint naval exercises in the South China Sea. The combined navies of China and Russia would present a considerable force to any nation with which one or the other, or both, had a disagreement.

But consider. Japan has the second-largest navy in the world. What if China, Japan and Russia were able to patch up the various differences they have over disputed territory and form a defensive alliance? Japan’s naval might, added to the combined nuclear naval strength of China and Russia, would present a formidable force to the West.

In fact, should these three ally—even for a moment in time—with a united Europe, with all four of them increasingly exploiting controlling interests in various regions of Africa, the worst fears of Sir Halford Mackinder would be realized!

Such an alliance would literally present “a united base of sea power,” capable of closing down inbound trade to the island nations.

The result? Siege by naval blockade!

Sound crazy? Check your Bible.

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