The Free Sea

The American Fight for Freedom of Navigation
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Binding:Hardback
Published:July 15, 2018

The Free Sea offers a unique, single-volume analysis of incidents that challenged U.S. freedom of navigation at sea. The book spans more than two hundred years, from the Quasi-War with France in 1798 to contemporary freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. Since World War II, the struggle for freedom of navigation has pulled the United States to the brink of war with Vietnam during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, North Korea with the seizure of the USS Pueblo in 1968, and Cambodia with the capture of the SS Mayaguez. In the 1980s, Libya’s “line of death” across the Gulf of Sidra and Iran’s “tanker war” in the Persian Gulf drew the United States into conflicts. During the Cold War U.S. and Russian navies clashed over navigational rights in the Black Sea—and an incident that led to amicable agreement on the right of innocent passage. Today, China poses perhaps the greatest challenge to freedom of navigation since Germany’s unrestricted U-boat campaigns as it seeks to regulate U.S. naval operations in the South China and East China Seas.

Freedom of the seas is the foundation of all sea power and a bedrock principle of international law and global order. Separated from the centers of power in Europe and Asia by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the United States has relied on the principles of freedom of navigation for economic prosperity and military security. James Kraska and Raul Pedrozo focus on the struggle to safeguard that freedom. Challenges to U.S. warships and maritime commerce have pushed, and continue to challenge, the United States to vindicate its rights through diplomatic, legal, and military means, underscoring the need for the strategic resolve to ensure freedom in the global maritime commons.

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Product Details
  • Subject: Naval History
  • Hardback : 416 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682471160
  • ISBN-13: 9781682471166
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 27.84 oz
Praise
  • "This sophisticated yet approachable book chronicles the 200-year fight for freedom of navigation by the U.S. Navy. From the Quasi-War with France and Barbary Wars to the ‘Tanker War’ in the Persian Gulf and China’s dangerous gambit in the South China Sea, this story shows how the perilous failure to stand up for legal rights of navigation tragically leads to war. A unique and sobering analysis of international law, sea power, and strategic security." —Admiral James Stavridis, USN, Dean Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
  • "The Free Sea provides an exceptionally valuable account of challenges to U.S. freedom of navigation from the late 19th century to the present day. Using case studies, Kraska and Pedrozo detail how the U.S. responded to these challenges and provide compelling analysis to demonstrate the importance of unimpeded use of the oceans to U.S. economic prosperity and security. The Free Sea will likely be an enduring textbook for students of maritime law and will also appeal to general readers with interest in maritime history." —Bonnie S. Glaser, Director, China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • "Fundamentally, the United States is a maritime nation. We depend on freedom of the seas for our vital economy, our way of life. A keen understanding of freedom of navigation throughout the world’s waters is challenging but essential. Kraska and Pedrozo do a masterful job capturing the essential strategic elements of maritime operations. Theirs is an important contribution to this critical discussion." —Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.)
  • "In their superb and elegantly written book, The Free Sea, James Kraska and Raul Pedrozo argue that protecting freedom of navigation is an international good and that failing to do so cracks today’s international system. They are right. Freedom of navigation at sea is essential to global commerce, the U.S.’s ability to project power, and communicate with allies around the world. China, Russia, and Iran are challenging the principle today. The Free Sea explains why it must be defended. The book should be read by everyone who wants the U.S. to remain a great power." —Seth Cropsey, Director, Hudson Institute Center for American Seapower

JAMES KRASKA is Chairman and Howard S. Levie Professor at the U.S. Naval War College Stockton Center for International Law. He has taught at Harvard Law School and Duke University. He is a retired U.S. Navy officer and served as oceans law and policy advisor on the Joint Staff.

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RAUL PEDROZO is a visiting fellow at the U.S. Naval War College Stockton Center for International Law, where he was professor of international law. He is a retired U.S. Navy officer and served as the top legal advisor to Navy Special Warfare Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

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