Vice Admiral Dean McFadden - Canadian Navy

Many have long observed similar concerns with respect to the handful of choke points defined by maritime geography—the Suez and Panama canals, for example, or the Strait of Hormuz. A number of these choke points are at risk from a range of concerns—from those latent in unresolved jurisdictional disputes, to those posed by actual threats such as piracy, as we're seeing in the Gulf of Aden.

In economic terms, oceanic choke points are a scarce resource. They provide a fixed capacity to bear traffic safely in relation to growing volumes of commerce they must accommodate. The Turkish Strait and Panama Canal are already at or near those limits, and others will become increasingly stressed as shipping resumes the trend of sustained growth we saw before the recession. How will global shipping patterns change when we hit those limits? What will be the impact to shipping patterns when—not if—the Arctic Basin becomes the preferred shipping route between Asia and Europe?

We tend not to think of these issues in defense or security terms, but sea power cannot be extricated from geo-economic realities. It's important that we think about sea power not just as a military instrument of state, but also rather as a component of the global system itself. A regulated ocean—oceans that are free for all to use lawfully—is as fundamental to our way of life as any of the other pillars of the international system.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click on the "Google Translate" button under the photo box and choose the language into which you would like the section translated.

 

 
 

Conferences and Events

Maritime Security Dialogue

Tue, 2016-08-09

  You are cordially invited to Maritime Security Dialogue A discussion with General Robert B. Neller, USMC Commandant, U.S....

2016 Naval History Conference

WEST 2017

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

View All

From the Press

Meet the Authors & Book Signing

Fri, 2016-08-05

Guest Speaker

Mon, 2016-08-08

CDR Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, USN

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership