The Importance of Naval Dominance
America’s naval dominance is one of the cornerstones in my world view. The lift capacity and the geographical barrier that oceans and rivers provide is a natural phenomenon that just simply exists.
The United States is today the single superpower who has control over all global oceans and it is the most important factor in their national security. The Atlantic- and Pacific ocean keeps any potential Eurasian enemy far away from the homeland.
I once stumbled upon the Wikipedia page: The Influence of Sea Power upon History by Alfred Thayer Mahan. He examined the factors that decided how Great Britain was able to rise to its near global dominance.
Mr. Mahan factored in geography, population, and government. He defined a strong sea power as a nation with a strong navy and commercial fleet. Mahan also promotes the belief that any army would succumb to a strong naval blockade. This is factors that I agree upon and I will add food access, navigable rivers, and energy.
In simple terms; Control of the oceans can be a primary factor that tips the scale, in wartime and peacetime, when looking at economic, political and military scenarios around the planet.
Yet, in this new world of an interconnected world does naval dominance mater? I believe is still does. Still, terrorism and threats from hackers can’t be stopped with an aircraft carrier battle group.
However, it still stops conventional invasion where a hostile nation physically need to put boots on America’s ground. America perfected their naval capabilities with World War 2 and the time after that. The new global system with only one naval power is a status that not even the British Empire reached.
With increased globalization comes a massively increased number of cargo ships and massively exporting countries as a result. The products are everything from raw materials as oil and natural gas to metals and wood.
The dependence on foreign customers and sea lanes is something that American naval dominance can exploit with naval blockades. Washington can decide the flow of oil around the planet as well as international trade.
The naval dominance is not an accident, yet, it’s an outcome of the size of the American economy. The navy guarantees America’s supply lines around the planet as well as the global trading system.
This has lead to a peaceful Western Hemispheric where the Spanish-American War was the last strategic war in the region. America has thereafter only invaded other countries in the Eastern Hemispheric.
Only the nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union, in Cuba, had the potential to threaten the homeland with nuclear weapons. However, the Soviets could not sustain their efforts in Cuba due to the naval presence of the United States.
The geographical security of the United States is something that other countries just dream about. Russia’s geography is very insecure and Moscow is pushing its boundaries towards the west. China is another country that is struggling with their naval security in the South China Sea.
America, today, takes part in naval exercises with India and Japan and is reaching out to old enemies to blockade the Chinese access to the global oceans.
The price of the US Navy is a relatively cheap ($379.8 billion) for global dominance and guaranteed national security. The primary objective is to prevent any Eurasian power to emerge and build a navy that can threaten the United States.
However, this is not a guarantee that threats can come from terrorists, foreign ballistic missiles, and cyber threats. These have not strategic threats that threaten the survival of the US Government.
I firmly believe that the US naval dominance will continue in the next decades and America will therefore still be the only global superpower.