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Navigating Troubled Waters
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591141624
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: 21st Century
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Subject: Maritime Strategy
  • Date Available: October 2013
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Full Description:

- Capt. Bernard Cole, USN (Ret.) is named "Naval Institute Press Author of the Year," April 2015 -

“Another timely and successful book by Prof. Cole!  He adeptly describes maritime strategies and forces of Indo-Pacific countries and engagingly elucidates pertinent strategic concepts.  He combines unique credentials—naval officer, historian, teacher, specialist in Asian navies—to make a strong bid to join the historic giants of geostrategy on whom he impressively builds—Mackinder, Mahan, and Corbett.”—Rear Adm. Eric McVadon, USN (Ret.), former defense and naval attaché in Beijing, Senior Advisor and Director Emeritus for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis

  • Listen to Bernard Cole talk about Asian Maritime Strategies on "Military Monday" w/host John Gresham - here.

Asian Maritime Strategies explores one of the world’s most complex and dangerous maritime arenas. Asia, stretching from the Aleutian Islands to the Persian Gulf, is the scene of numerous maritime territorial disputes, pirate attacks, and terrorist threats. In response, the nations of the region are engaged in a nascent naval arms race. In this new work, Bernard Cole, author of the acclaimed The Great Wall At Sea, examines the maritime strategies and naval forces of the region’s nations, as well as evaluating the threats and opportunities for cooperation at sea. The United States Navy is intimately involved in these disputes and opportunities, which threaten vital American economic, political, and security interests.

The most useful geographical designation for maritime Asia is the “Indo-Pacific” and Cole provides both a survey of the maritime strategies of the primary nations of the Indo-Pacific region as well as an evaluation of the domestic and international politics that drive those strategies. The United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, China, the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Iran, the smaller Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf states are all surveyed and analyzed. The United States, Japan, China, and India draw the most attention, given their large modern navies and distant strategic reach and the author concludes that the United States remains the dominant maritime power in this huge region, despite its lack of a traditionally strong merchant marine. U.S. maritime power remains paramount, due primarily to its dominant navy. The Chinese naval modernization program deservedly receives a good deal of public attention, but Cole argues that on a day-to-day basis the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, as its navy is named, is the most powerful maritime force in Far Eastern waters, while the modernizing Indian Navy potentially dominates the Indian Ocean.

Most telling will be whether United States power and focus remain on the region, while adjusting to continued Chinese maritime power in a way acceptable to both nations. No other current or recent work provides such a complete description of the Indo-Pacific region’s navies and maritime strategies, while analyzing the current and future impact of those forces.

~ Praise for Asian Maritime Strategies ~

“Cole’s treatment of a very complicated and multi-layered topic is admirable and very readable. The reader runs the risk of getting lost occasionally in some of the UNCLOS discussions as indeed, he is summarizing years of legal wrangling in a few words, but nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Cole manages to weed through all the rhetoric and present an objective view of Asia today and Asia tomorrow. This book’s value lies in its highly readable and well-researched text that gives the reader an appreciation for Asian maritime issues and how they influence global affairs.”

Starshell, Naval Assn. of Canada

“Bernard Cole has written a comprehensive, and even magisterial, examination of the maritime strategies and navies of East and South Asia, with the navies of the Persian Gulf included for good measure…. This is an impressive and unparalleled work on Asian maritime strategy that deserves to be widely read.”

—H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews

"Bernard D. Cole's latest contribution to scholarship should grace the desk of any serious student of international relations in what the author broadly refers to as the Indo-Pacific region. His The Great Wall at Sea has served for years as a highly respected source on the history and modern emergence of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Cole, a retired Navy captain and long-time professor at Washington's National War College, speaks with authority once again in Asian Maritime Strategies. Bernard Cole has written a comprehensive, well documented, and impressively argued work highlighting the importance of maritime power in the Indo-Pacific region."

—The Northern Mariner

“Bernard Cole, a U.S. naval historian, has written a balanced, detailed and thoughtful study of one of the world’s most complicated and dangerous maritime areas. Stretching from the Kamchatka Peninsula all the way to the Persian Gulf, the Asian maritime space presents a range of strategic challenges, including territorial disputes, pirate attacks and terrorist threats. Cole examines the maritime strategies of four major powers with interests in this space: the United States, Japan, China and India.”

—Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

"Cole analyzes the Indo-Pacific region, currently engaged in an arms race and describes the navies and maritime strategies of the nations, noting that the United States still is the pre-eminent power but is adjusting to the changing strategic environment."


“As an introductory primer into naval development in the Indo-Pacific this book by one of the world’s leading experts on the region is literally second to none and at the very reasonable price at which the Naval Institute Press have managed to make available, this book will be a sure-fire success. I shall certainly be recommending it to all my students.”

—The Naval Review

"Asian Maritime Strategies is a well written, readable and informative collection of the most up-to-date material on Indo-Pacific navies and maritime Asia. It is highly recommended for ANI members, members of the armed services, as well as for those who have an interest in politics, defence and international relations. It should also be mandatory reading for members of the Australian media who wish to comment on maritime events in Asia and who lack the necessary background. Asian Maritime Strategies is an indispensable resource on the US 'pivot' to the Indo-Pacific region and the nitty-gritties of the Asian century."

Headmark, Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

"This is a book about theories and not about hardware, and, in all, provides a very worthwhile up-to-date survey. Excellently researched and with detailed notes sourced, Captain Cole is commended for this thorough analysis, which one would expect from the author of the equally impressive The Great Wall at Sea."

Warships International Fleet Review

“Cole has crafted a book that should establish itself as a must read for operators and strategists alike. This volume is no flashy, but as someone who lives and operate in the region daily, I’d hand it out to any maritime professional headed this way.”


“Tangredi's brilliant analysis of anti-access warfare cuts across both the history of warfare and today's global space.  It succinctly provides the tools we need to understand both the future of warfare and how crucial maritime capability will be to ‘breaking the great walls’ should that ever become necessary.  Read it to see a chilling vision of the potential future of combat in the global commons.”

— Adm. James Stravidis, USN (Ret.), former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe; dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“Much has been written about so-called anti-access and area-denial challenges, but none as thoughtful and as penetrating as this book.  Through his excellent command of history, Tangredi shows us that anti-access strategies are as old as ancient Greece. This book is a must read for those trying to understand the theory and practical impact of such strategies in today's world, and how they might be overcome.”

— Robert Work, former Under Secretary of the Navy; CEO of the Center for New American Security

“An extraordinarily rich and historically grounded examination of an emerging challenge to America's national security interests. …It's a major contribution on a topic the Pentagon has explicitly described as our most critical military issue. If not resolved we will be reduced to giving potential adversaries veto rights over our ability to operate in international waters and let some autocratic regimes create "no-go areas" for U.S. forces or those of our allies. The author offers a timely, well-researched solution to this growing technologically oriented threat. Highly recommended to strategically minded students of warfare.” 

— Frank Hoffman, senior research fellow, National Defense University

“Perfectly timed, historically grounded, and acutely reasoned, this superb book will make a critical contribution to the recalibration of our military strategy in an age of austere resources and many-layered threats.  Clear thinking such as Tangredi's exceeds many a gilded weapon system in its relevance to our security.”

Ralph Peters, Fox News strategic analyst and author of Cain at Gettysburg


Capt. Bernard D. Cole, USN (Ret.), teaches at the National War College in Washington, D.C. Cole’s previous books include The Great Wall at Sea: China’s Navy in the Twenty-First Century, which was selected for the Navy Reading Program. He earned a PhD in history from Auburn University and lives in Alexandria, VA.

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