China’s naval build-up is a threat to regional peace

China’s first home-built aircraft carrier has recently undergone sea trials and is expected to enter service as early as next year. The Asian power already has one carrier in active service, the Liaoning, a refurbished Cold War-era vessel bought from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012.

In an editorial on May 13 — the day the as-yet-unnamed 50,000-ton Type 001A vessel and the country’s first “combat” aircraft carrier headed out for its first sea trial — the Global Times said “China is gradually stepping into an era of dual aircraft carriers” and its “second aircraft carrier highlights the country’s major progress.”

But, the paper, an influential offspring of the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, stated that “as a major power, China should have multiple aircraft carriers.”

The view that the rising superpower needs to build more aircraft carriers — at least six such vessels, with at least four of them being nuclear-powered — in the future is widely maintained by other Chinese state media outlets and analysts. Continue reading

Changing of the Guard

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Caption: A cargo ship makes its way through the Miraflores locks as it crosses the Panama Canal. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 

The decline of U.S.-British control over the world’s sea gates

You’re sitting inside a fenced courtyard where all the gates are locked. At each gate stands an armed guard who will not allow you to leave. You are where?

The correct answer is prison.

Now imagine those burly guards laying down their weapons and handing over their keys to the inmates. That’s essentially what the United States and Britain have done. Prior to World War ii, they controlled every major sea gate in the world. These “gates,” as they are called in the Bible, proved indispensable to Allied success during World War ii. Since that time, however, the U.S. and Britain have, without a fight, surrendered their control as gatekeepers.

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