Maritime Strategy and the New Law of the Sea: Losers and Gainers; with a Focus on Southeast Asia
The maritime strategic world of 1982 was concerned with power vacuums, overseas positioning of troops and the ability to supply such troops. The American Southern Command was not located in Savannah but in Panama. Central Command was not to be in Kansas City but in Karachi. The Gulf Cooperation Council, backed by a permanent American fleet in the Indian Ocean, would prevent any future oil shocks. Maritime concerns not part of this great picture could be dismissed as “local.” And if the Japanese were being pressed to take on an Asian naval role, that role could be described as “Son of Seventh Fleet.” I will argue four things in this paper: (1) that the apparent triumph of a globalist maritime perspective was no more than a surface truth in 1982; (2) that what was hidden but fundamental then is manifest today; (3) that the plans and means of the great maritime powers are not at all well adapted to emerging maritime realities; and (4) that coastal and island states possess considerable means to pursue, gain and protect their own maritime ends, n the face of the greater maritime powers.