Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mid-Week Reads

Hump day calls for a pause to refresh one's prospective and take a few minutes to read some of the recommended posts around the blogosphere this week.

Leading off is this summary of the "Underwear Incident" in the South China Sea posted on Information Dissemination.

In the maritime domain, China is best seen as primarily seeking to extend and consolidate its sovereignty, rather than to protect its sovereignty per se, since the likelihood of invasion from the sea probably approaches zero. Its strategy is two-pronged. First, China is actively attempting to extend its authority in areas already under its jurisdiction by recasting the traditional relationship between coastal states and the international community and pressing for enhanced coastal state jurisdiction over traditional international freedoms in coastal waters and air space. Second, China has many claims over islands and sea space that are actively disputed by its neighbors. China is consolidating and defending its historical claims to islands in the East and South China Seas and to the maritime zones that will accrue to whoever gains undisputed sovereignty over them.

Read more: Observing the Incidents Off the Chinese Coast

Staying on a naval centric tack, comes this post on United States Naval Institute Blog. It was reprint of an article in the 1954 edition of the Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, entitled; NATIONAL POLICY AND THE TRANSOCEANIC NAVY by Samuel P. Huntington.

The introduction:

By almost any measure Harvard Professor Sam Huntington was the preeminent political scientist of his generation. When he was but 27, three years before he wrote The Soldier and the State, the classic on civil-military relations, Professor Huntington authored a May 1954 Proceedings article, ‘National Policy and the Transoceanic Navy’. In this powerful essay, he laid down a challenge to the military services that resonates today even more than it did over 50 years ago: “If a service does not possess a well-defined strategic concept, the public and political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service . . . and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service on the resources of society.” And specifically of the Navy, “What function do you perform which obligates society to assume responsibility for your maintenance?”

Tom Wilkerson Major General, USMC (Ret.)
U. S. Naval Institute CEO

Read the whole post.

Turning to thoughts on America and the current attempts to navigate out of the shoals of despair caused by greed and Nestbeschmutzers, a word used by a professor friend when he encountered people who ruined their own country. To illustrate this, comes this pair of posts from Fabius Maximus.

Our ruling elites scamper and play while our world burns.
The eternal truths of history can guide us through this crisis.

Finally from Mark at Zenpundit, this review of Thomas Barnett's Great Powers: America and the World After Bush

Great Powers: America and the World After Bush is a book whose influence will be deep and long. It is also a book that will be loved and reviled. Loved because in it, Barnett connects history with strategy and foreign policy and does so with unvarnished, supremely confident, optimism regarding a future of an Americanized Globalization and a globalized America. It will also be bitterly reviled for exactly same reason.

In essence, Great Powers is an intellectual-political Rorschach test.

Read more: Book review: With Great Powers comes Great Responsibilities….

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