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The key to the great power rivalry between the United States of America and China lies in water. American prosperity relies on the global flow of goods — consumption, trade, energy — across the oceans, as strategic expert Bruce Jones of Brookings outlined in detail in a recent article. He points out that while there are vital industries like finance and software that depend on the flow of data, not goods, more than 90% of all data in the world also travels through undersea cables that line the ocean floor. The naval competition between the United States and China is therefore the most important strategic game. Preventing any adverse effects on the US economy from the obstruction of ocean trade by the People’s Liberation Army Navy is now the top priority of the US Navy, which remains the only truly global naval force by most accounts. .

The US Flotilla’s power projection of sophisticated ocean-going ships has brought it incalculable benefits both economically in the age of globalization and diplomatically since the end of the Cold War. But China doesn’t just have a PLAN, it has also gone from what experts call a “semi-partner” of the United States in securing trade against piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca, to a regional player that was sometimes at odds with America, to its current status as a naval power with increasingly assertive politics and global ambitions. The navy is an example of China’s rapid militarization in recent decades and is fueling the development of advanced technologies such as space communications needed for a deep-sea navy.

According to Jones, there is a good reason for this: “The basic geopolitical fact of our time is that the two most powerful countries in the world are separated by thousands of miles of ocean ~ ocean waters that both sides want dominate and secure, for business and commercial purposes. strategic purposes. The primary function of Chinese military modernization…is to reshape the security environment to its advantage by denying the US military access to the Western Pacific and beyond. If Beijing’s PLAN succeeds, the consequent decline of US commercial and diplomatic power would be a fait accompli, as would the loss of its strategic maneuverability. It is clear that Washington has zapped. The United States Navigation Plan 2022 (NavPlan) lays out an ambitious plan to preserve American maritime dominance.

The NavPlan has two main missions, adds Jones. Building the capability and readiness for naval battle to deter the China-Russia axis and global maritime dominance to ensure sea lanes remain open to commerce as well as provide the US military machine with flexibility not available to its competitors. This will require, according to the chief of the US Navy, a “combat-credible US Navy vanguard ~ deployed and integrated with all elements of national power.” Only such a strategic posture would allow the US Navy to be positioned coherently in the theater in the event of a conflict.

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