Sir Walter Raleigh once observed, "Whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself." Unimpeded sea lines of communication are as important to us today as they were to Raleigh, his peers, and their successors who created a mercantile empire that was sustained by the Royal Navy's control of the sea lines of communication linking England, its colonies, and its trading partners.
More than 80 percent of global trade still moves by sea, and the United States depends on the free and unimpeded movement of its share of that commerce. Further, with its power-projection land forces and seemingly unending international commitments, the United States and its allies depend on access to the seas to ensure their security.
The concept of unimpeded sea lines of communication underpins the very meaning of a national security strategy based on the twin premises of global enlargement and engagement. Yet one must ask whether US strategy adequately addresses the security of the various sea lines of communication and the associated chokepoints so essential to its own economic well-being and that of its principal allies.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
A reminder about why pirates, freedom of navigation and navies matter from 12 years ago in an Army War College Publication here by Reynolds B. Peele: