Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Asia in the maritimes

Asia Looks Seaward: Power and Maritime Strategy. Edited by Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes. Published by Praeger Security International, 2008.

Toshi Yoshihara, an author and editor, is professor in the department of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College. Most recently he was named John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the College. His vision seems to expose the maritime histories of Asian countries which directly border on Pacific waters, and where transportation of goods takes place in the busiest spheres of influence. Therefore he is an author to watch for his astute analysis of the interntaional policy in the region.

In this volume, in essays written by strategists and researchers, compare the policies and strategies of Great Britain and the United States regarding the region's maritime past and trade in oil and consumer goods. To get a sense of the importance of east-west exchange, it remains to look at trade and its affect on political ideals, on both sides of the pacific Ocean. Chapter four, "Clipper Ships to Carriers: U.S. Maritime Strategy in Asia" by Bernard Cole, p. 46 to 69, discusses how the U.S. reacted to trouble in Asian waters. Drawing on his perspective of the history, he claims (page 47), "The United States established an Asian naval presence even before it had a Pacific coast." That is a stunning comparison because it shows that trade in Chinese ports had been established for many years (probably almost half an century) by the early 1800s.

The book begins with the essay, "Imperial China and the Sea", by John Curtis Perry, and ends with "China-Southeast Asia Relations Problems and Prospects", by John Garofano. Author Garofano is co-editor of Deep Currents and Rising Tides, reviewed here earlier, which also drew word from Yoshihara and Holmes, editors of "Asia Looks Seward".

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