Sea Change for American Power

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These developments would have a serious impact on the U.S. Navy’s ability to carry out its missions. Several ships will be retired in order to maintain operational schedules, among them seven cruisers and four amphibious vessels, all modern with plenty of service life. Delays in the construction of the Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new class of nuclear carriers, might occur. The procurement of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS)–vital in areas like the Persian Gulf–could be slowed, along with that of submarines and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Indeed, the Navy might have to cancel either the F-35B or C variant of the JSF. If the F-35B is abandoned, that would mean the U.S. Marine Corps would have a much tougher time replacing its current force of AV-8B Harriers, vital for support of amphibious operations.

All this is occurring during a time of growing international tension and turmoil. Indeed, the likelihood of the United States becoming involved in large-scale war is growing, which would see a central role for naval forces. The continuing tensions in Syria and with Iran over its nuclear program are cases in point. There is also the possibility of great power confrontation, as evidenced by the Syrian crisis. Russia has deployed marines to its base at Tartus, with supporting warships. On June 18th, Russia, China and Iran announced a joint military exercise this summer in Syria. This would include as many as 90,000 personnel and 400 aircraft. China reportedly asked Egypt for permission to send 12 ships through the Suez Canal to join Russian forces at Tartus. Such a deployment of Russian and Chinese strength in the Middle East is unprecedented, signifying an ever closer alignment between Moscow and Beijing, aimed at the West. Given the Obama Administration’s decision to concentrate on the Pacific as the primary focus of U.S. naval strength, this could mean that, at a time of growing danger in the Mediterranean (and considering that the NATO allies have severely reduced their power projection capabilities over the past decade and would be unlikely to take up the slack), a power vacuum could emerge, one filled by powers hostile to the Western-led international system and the values it is based upon.

A recent article in the British publication Warships International Fleet Review sums up well the danger of a diminished U.S. naval posture on the world’s oceans:

“If there is one thing that has prevented another major global war it has been the…process of constant vigilance at sea, with multi-layered maritime capabilities. This has since WW2 often provided a graduated response to various crises. Once the carefully constructed naval structure is dismantled, or key elements removed, it creates a situation where conflict is more likely, not less.”

Wise words, indeed.

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  • Sage on the Stage

    Besides. the Royal Air Force, the one thing that kept Hitler from conquering England was the Royal Navy. (And at one point, the RAF was nearly knocked out of the battle) Without the Royal Navy, England might well have been overrun by the Nazis; if that had occurred, Hitler likely would have won the war in Europe. The U.S. Navy had nearly 600 ships under George W. Bush; now under Obama our fleet numbers just 286. Obama will do anything to weaken America, and strengthen our enemies. He MUST be replaced in November.

  • Sage on the Stage

    During World War II, when the Royal Air Force was nearly knocked out of the Battle of Britain, the only
    thing standing between Hitler's military and England, was the Royal Navy. If at that point, Hitler had destroyed the Royal Navy, England would have been his for the taking. Had Hitler conquered England, he likely would have won the war in Europe. Under George W. Bush, the U.S. Navy numbered nearly 600 ships. Now under Obama, our Navy numbers just 286 ships. Obama and his Dhimmicrat lackeys in Congress have weakened the United States, at a time when we can least afford it. Whatever the cost, get him out of office in November.

    • Sage on the Stage

      Who cares what these two would say?(Do YOU?) And where does the article talk about merchant sailors? But…its obvious that, like them, you are a leftist. I know this because of your phrase "You don't deserve…" And you are a "former merchant sailor?"…no…somehow…I don't think so. Go back to your job…selling Avon door-to-door…or is it Girl Scout cookies in the shopping center?

    • dybbuk

      Bosun – The two SOBs to whom you refer are, of course, contemptible pieces of excrement. They, and the B. Hussein Obama regime to whom they genuflect, wish to see the end the United States of America in the form that we have known it.

      I agree with what you wrote. My only complaint with your post is that you have shortened the screen name of one of the two pieces of walking excrement to whom you refer as "schlomo" – I suggest that that the pile of filth never be mentioned, but, if you must do so, please do not use that moniker. He is a stinking, revolting antisemite (in addition to being an incurable America-hater), and he is not a Jew. The way you have shortened his screen name brings discredit upon Jews whose names are in fact Shlomo (Hebrew for Solomon). Given his hatred of Jews, I suggest that the vile filth be referred to as Chelmno – given the historical role of Chelmno, I think this is a more appropriate handle for the dirty swine.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    China has been offered a place in Saudi Arabia and a guaranee of oil until 2035, all they want and
    this is for protection from Iran. With China playing with Russia and Iran I wonder if the Saudis are
    wondering who will be sticking it to who………..A bad idea on the Saudi's part, China could move in
    and then take over completely and end Saudi trade with America. Things do change and with
    the American Government keeping our oil industry at bare minimum production when it
    should be expanding we may see doubling or even higher increase in gas prices down the
    road. What our enemies are doing is building off of the cash Washington has sent their way
    by closing American enterpises and paying them for what we should be producing and building
    National wealth with a well off citizenry, as it is Washington insures hard times for America
    with the exception of our elites…………………………………………William

  • Looking4Sanity

    It's ironic how often that yesterday's "friends" become the enemies of tomorrow. Just one more reason to "love" Communism, I suppose? </sarc>

  • ebonystone

    What the U.S. ought to be aiming at is the restoration of the 500-ship navy of Reagan's presidency.

    But the U.S. should also be pressing some of its allies, who are far more dependent on Persian Gulf oil than it is, to be doing their share to police the world's seas. Certainly the E.U., whose economy it as large as the U.S.'s, should be fielding a comparably-sized navy. And the free powerhouses of the Far East — Japan, S. Korea, and Taiwan — ought to be deploying a sizeable fleet — both as a counter to China, and to defend their interests in the safety of the seas. These last three are almost entirely dependent on imports of raw materials — especially fuels.
    The U.S. should make it plain that it can't carry the load alone; it can't defend everybody else's interests by itself. We have been carrying Europe and the Far East for too long.

  • Mongo

    The author of this article needs to fact-check more carefully. The story about Russian marines deploying to Syria was false. There are no Russian troops in Syria and there is no indication any will be deployed there in the future. The story about the Russia-Iran-Syria-China joint exercise is also false. No such exercise is being planned and there will almost certainly not be any exercise like it in the Middle East.

    • neged mamzerim

      Would you please cite your source(s)?

    • wooley booley

      I second the request for citation of sources. Without this, your post is simply a collection of entirely unsubstantiated assertions.