Soon, steel-hulled ships will clash in battle. Missiles belching fire will rise quickly from launch tubes, rapidly gathering speed and maneuverability before slamming into enemy vessels at supersonic speeds. Sailors will die, ships will sink, and nations will either rise or fall. Although the time of the battle remains hidden, the site of the battles are known all too well.
Geography is determinate in military plans, a fact that planners understand at all levels, from tactical to strategic. While tailored combat elements may traverse difficult environments on land and at sea, heavily laden logistics craft that follow and enable them can rarely do the same. This is what pushes armies and fleets toward certain immutable routes, resulting in battles occurring at the same locations, over and over, throughout recorded history. Much as the ridge at Megiddo, better known as “Armageddon,” played witness to strife no less than 13 times since the 15th century BCE because it stood astride the route from Mesopotamia to Egypt, key maritime straits such as the waters of the South China Sea and the Sunda and Malaccan Straits will provide the backdrop for future naval battles. Geography and geopolitics are intermeshed and unavoidable. Unfortunately for China, they sit upon the wrong side of the former and are rather poor at the latter. Western advantages in both must not be squandered.
Read the full article on The Diplomat.
More from CNAS
ReportsWhen the Chips Are Down
Introduction The United States is in a strategic competition with a well-resourced and capable opponent. China seeks a global role that is broadly at odds with the strategic i...
By Becca Wasser, Martijn Rasser & Hannah Kelley
PodcastThe Potential of RPA in Government; Future of FITARA; U.S. Military Posture in the Indo-Pacific
Stacie Pettyjohn, senior fellow and director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, explains what the U.S. military can do to build a resilient post...
By Stacie Pettyjohn
VideoUnited States Military Strategy Should Better Match Interests, Says Defense Research Expert
Becca Wasser discusses how U.S. military strategy has been linked to outdated priorities and should better reflect the country’s interests, including protection of the homelan...
By Becca Wasser
CommentarySpiking the Problem: Developing a Resilient Posture in the Indo-Pacific With Passive Defenses
This article originally appeared in War on the Rocks....
By Stacie Pettyjohn