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Most powerful Martime power of the last 500 years

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Poll Question: Which one do you think is the favorite for the title
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
13 [52.00%]
0 [0.00%]
1 [4.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
10 [40.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
1 [4.00%]
0 [0.00%]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 01:58

Why Madgod you old mad dog you! I can hear the chorus singing:

He is an Englishman
For he himself has said it
And it's greatly to his credit That he is an Englishman!
 
For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk or Proossian,
Or perhaps Itali-an...
But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
 
Keep up with the polish and you too might be Admiral in the Queen's Navee...
 
(all apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan)
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Madgod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 02:53
haha, I am not really pro-English. I am more or less, pro-German. :P
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 05:00
Well in that case, i guess the chorus would be more guttural by the singing of Das Deutschlandlied. Big smile


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 14:22
Anyway, it's obvious that Britain wins in this competition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Madgod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 16:51
Yessir! She certainly does. Too bad Canada wasn't a naval power. Cry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 21:32
"She" most certainly does not since there was no such entity known as the "British" Navy formost of the period concerned and if we are going to discuss matters appropriately, who then can forget the Naval Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1741) during the course of the War of Jenkin's Ear (1739-1742) in which the recently organized Royal Navy of the United Kingdom suffered the loss of 50 ships and the death of some 18,000 sailors. Does the name Admiral Vernon ring a bell? And then can anyone forget the signal raised by Horatio Nelson: "England expects every man to do his duty".
 
Not to quibble but when one looks upon the Napoleonic Era then one might say a recognizable "British Navy" emerges but then an interesting phenomenon re-emerges: the upstarts with technological refinements asserting individual prowess.
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 09 Jun 2010 at 21:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2010 at 12:25
Generally the period of British dominance at sea dates from after Chesapeake Bay which was in 1781. Arguably the start date could be taken as the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782 though superiority over the Spanish was established at the Moonlight Battle off St Vincent in 1780.
 
Sir George Rodney, commanding the British fleet in both battles, is therefore the first admiral of the ascendancy.
 
Yes the Royal Navy has never felt the need to have any other national appelation tacked on to its title. Rather like the only postage stamps with no country designation on them are British ones.
 
Nelson's famous signal was misleading in the sense that the fleet included seamen and officers from all over the United Kingdom. He's far from the only person to make the same mistake though.
 
I speculate sometimes about whether there actually was a coded flag hoist for 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland' and I suspect there wasn't - spelling it out letter by letter would have been tedious, and rather lacked the emotional impact. I don't have the code book for the period though.
 
Sending 'your country expects' might have been a better solution.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2010 at 12:45
Nelson was at first going to send, "Nelson confides that every man will do his duty." One of his officers suggested changing Nelson to England. Nelson then went to Lt Pasco, who would send the signal and told him to be quick, because Nelson wanted to send his usual signal 'Engage the enemy more closely'. Pasco suggested changing 'confides' to 'expects'. Expects was in the code book. Confides would have had to have been spelt out. 31 flags were used in the sending of the signal, 4 of them for the word Duty.
Since the code for England was the flags B R C, it is very possible that their was not code for United Kingdom, and very likely that country would have had to have been spelt out like 'duty'. There is some useless historical information for ya all! Nite.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote warwolf1969 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2010 at 14:20
If I had been around in time to vote it would have to have been the Royal Navy.  It has been the major maritime force since the mid 1700's.  WIth the help of the royal navy Britain became the biggest empire the world has ever seen.  That empire was built upon the power of the Royal Navy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2011 at 06:05
No nation has ever controlled the oceans to such an extent as the modern United States. Not even the British of the 19th century came close to acheiving what the Americans have done since World War II. The Americans control every maritime trading route and have naval bases in every corner of the globe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2011 at 09:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2011 at 11:42
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

No nation has ever controlled the oceans to such an extent as the modern United States. Not even the British of the 19th century came close to acheiving what the Americans have done since World War II. The Americans control every maritime trading route and have naval bases in every corner of the globe.
 
Yes- and no. Today the US exerts greater technological control over the world's oceans, but this has less overall impact than the Royal Navy's control of the seas in the nineteenth century. At that time, seapower was often decisive, with opponents having no military recourse to operations against them. In today's world of spreading nuclear technology, there are indeed devastating alternatives to naval actions, necessarily limiting their effect. A hundred years ago, for example, a blockade could have a powerful effect, but today may not. A blockade of Iran might be attempted to gain some political goal, but what about an Iran armed with nuclear missiles? Any such blockade would be severly limited in scope.
 
Napolean was quoted as saying to the American inventor Robert Fulton, after being offered the then high-tech steamboat concept: I fail to see good sir, how lighting bonfires under the decks of my ships will provide me any advantage what so ever! He passed, but Britain didn't, and in fact it continued to embrace new technologies for two centuries. British control of the seas was a major shaping factor in world history, throughout the nineteenth and well into the twentith centuries. US naval power was decisive in WW2, and for a short time thereafter. But it was fading even by the '60s. Even a US admiral at that time admitted that major surface ships would likely only last a matter of days in an all-out war with the Soviets. Pursuing geopolitical goals with naval power is limited in the nuclear age.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2011 at 11:49
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

No nation has ever controlled the oceans to such an extent as the modern United States. Not even the British of the 19th century came close to acheiving what the Americans have done since World War II. The Americans control every maritime trading route and have naval bases in every corner of the globe.
 
That was true of the Royal Navy, which is why Walpole (Horace) called the oceans, 'the streets of our capital'.  Of course the US navy is more powerful if you're comparing today's US fleet with Britain's 1880 fleet, but the gap between the Royal Navy and the rest was bigger than the gap between the US navy and the rest now.
 
For that matter I don't see much sign of the US Navy controlling the waters off east Africa.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 04:39
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
Yes- and no. Today the US exerts greater technological control over the world's oceans, but this has less overall impact than the Royal Navy's control of the seas in the nineteenth century. At that time, seapower was often decisive, with opponents having no military recourse to operations against them. In today's world of spreading nuclear technology, there are indeed devastating alternatives to naval actions, necessarily limiting their effect. A hundred years ago, for example, a blockade could have a powerful effect, but today may not. A blockade of Iran might be attempted to gain some political goal, but what about an Iran armed with nuclear missiles? Any such blockade would be severly limited in scope.
 
Napolean was quoted as saying to the American inventor Robert Fulton, after being offered the then high-tech steamboat concept: I fail to see good sir, how lighting bonfires under the decks of my ships will provide me any advantage what so ever! He passed, but Britain didn't, and in fact it continued to embrace new technologies for two centuries. British control of the seas was a major shaping factor in world history, throughout the nineteenth and well into the twentith centuries. US naval power was decisive in WW2, and for a short time thereafter. But it was fading even by the '60s. Even a US admiral at that time admitted that major surface ships would likely only last a matter of days in an all-out war with the Soviets. Pursuing geopolitical goals with naval power is limited in the nuclear age.
 
 
Nuclear weapons? A country needs to we wary of using a nuclear weapon in aggression, especially when countries such as Russia or the United States could destroy the entire country, and the world for that matter. Iran's nuclear weaponry is not for the sake of being a weapon in and of itself. The idea is that the West and the United States keep their eyes focussed on the idea of a nuke. While distracting the United States, Iran is spreading its influence into Iraq, Kuwait, and ultimately Saudi Arabia. The United States is more worried about Iran blocking the straight of Hormuz (not with ships but with mines). In truth a peace or even an alliance will be made between the U.S and Iran, no a war or naval blockade.
 
One of the top strategic goals of the United States is to control the world's oceans. This it has done, and now it seeks to keep all other nations from challenging U.S naval power. Russia had a problem in the Cold War she could not solve, she could not challenge U.S naval power. The Baltic has only a small access point into the Atlantic, and the Pacific fleet was effectivly blocked by the American fleet stationed in Japan. The Americans have the ability and comfort of having both an Atlantic and Pacific coast, and therefore easy control of every ocean in the world. The U.S may not be able to dictate who will trade with who, but they can dictate who cannot trade. Maritime powers such as the United States have always been more wealthy than landlocked states such as Russia. Take into account maritime Athens and land lubberly Sparta. Nuclear weaponry does not challenge maritime power. It is still as important as ever, perhaps even more so. The fastest and least expensive way to trade is by sea, and America has control of these trade routes by way of its navy.


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 25 Aug 2011 at 04:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 05:01
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
That was true of the Royal Navy, which is why Walpole (Horace) called the oceans, 'the streets of our capital'.  Of course the US navy is more powerful if you're comparing today's US fleet with Britain's 1880 fleet, but the gap between the Royal Navy and the rest was bigger than the gap between the US navy and the rest now.
 
For that matter I don't see much sign of the US Navy controlling the waters off east Africa.
 
There is no modern navy, besides the United States, is capable of playing more than a regional role. There is no Chinese fleet in the Mediterranean, there is no Russian naval presence in the Carribean, the British do not have ships stationed on the coasts of Japan. The American reach is global.
 
Is the gap not greater now than it was during the 1880s? Japanese naval power grew exponentially, and its presence was felt throughout the Pacific theatre. The Russian Pacific fleet, though regional, had a much further outreach than it does presently. French naval power also bounced back after its defeat in the beginning part of the century. The French had fleets positioned as far as the South China Sea by 1882.
 
 


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 25 Aug 2011 at 05:02
"I am moved to pity, when I think of the brevity of human life, seeing that of all this host of men not one will still be alive in a hundred years time."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 05:50
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
Yes- and no. Today the US exerts greater technological control over the world's oceans, but this has less overall impact than the Royal Navy's control of the seas in the nineteenth century. At that time, seapower was often decisive, with opponents having no military recourse to operations against them. In today's world of spreading nuclear technology, there are indeed devastating alternatives to naval actions, necessarily limiting their effect. A hundred years ago, for example, a blockade could have a powerful effect, but today may not. A blockade of Iran might be attempted to gain some political goal, but what about an Iran armed with nuclear missiles? Any such blockade would be severly limited in scope.
 
Napolean was quoted as saying to the American inventor Robert Fulton, after being offered the then high-tech steamboat concept: I fail to see good sir, how lighting bonfires under the decks of my ships will provide me any advantage what so ever! He passed, but Britain didn't, and in fact it continued to embrace new technologies for two centuries. British control of the seas was a major shaping factor in world history, throughout the nineteenth and well into the twentith centuries. US naval power was decisive in WW2, and for a short time thereafter. But it was fading even by the '60s. Even a US admiral at that time admitted that major surface ships would likely only last a matter of days in an all-out war with the Soviets. Pursuing geopolitical goals with naval power is limited in the nuclear age.
 
 
Nuclear weapons? A country needs to we wary of using a nuclear weapon in aggression, especially when countries such as Russia or the United States could destroy the entire country, and the world for that matter. Iran's nuclear weaponry is not for the sake of being a weapon in and of itself. The idea is that the West and the United States keep their eyes focussed on the idea of a nuke. While distracting the United States, Iran is spreading its influence into Iraq, Kuwait, and ultimately Saudi Arabia. The United States is more worried about Iran blocking the straight of Hormuz (not with ships but with mines). In truth a peace or even an alliance will be made between the U.S and Iran, no a war or naval blockade.
 
One of the top strategic goals of the United States is to control the world's oceans. This it has done, and now it seeks to keep all other nations from challenging U.S naval power. Russia had a problem in the Cold War she could not solve, she could not challenge U.S naval power. The Baltic has only a small access point into the Atlantic, and the Pacific fleet was effectivly blocked by the American fleet stationed in Japan. The Americans have the ability and comfort of having both an Atlantic and Pacific coast, and therefore easy control of every ocean in the world. The U.S may not be able to dictate who will trade with who, but they can dictate who cannot trade. Maritime powers such as the United States have always been more wealthy than landlocked states such as Russia. Take into account maritime Athens and land lubberly Sparta. Nuclear weaponry does not challenge maritime power. It is still as important as ever, perhaps even more so. The fastest and least expensive way to trade is by sea, and America has control of these trade routes by way of its navy.
 
 
To an extent, the Royal Navy did control the world's trade in the nineteenth century, but control of trade is much more problematic today. Trade is massive today, and complex. A container ship some US warship may encounter may have cargo for several different countries that was manufactured in China by a company in joint partnership with Germany, on a ship owned by Greeks but registered in Panama, and crewed by Singaporeans and Phillipinos. Do they send a torpedo their way, or not?
 
The US is today quite dependent on the flow of trade, and the flow of money through the financial markets. Attempts to interfere with the flow of trade on the sea could have serious repercussions for the US, that could take a number of forms in the far more tightly interlocked economy of today.
 
As for nuclear weapons, I take your point that all out use is unlikely, and one must prepare for intermediate scenerios. But in the great geopolitical poker game, the threat of an action, if dire enough, can often have the same effect as actual implementation. In the Cuban missile crisis for example, the US had the edge with naval forces, which was handy. But it was the threat of nuclear exchange that ultimately decided the game. Having those extra destroyers on hand was not enough. A hundred years previously, it probably would have been.
 
So to today. If a country singled out for "control" was small enough, or far enough out of favour with the world community, then their trade might be controlled to an extent. But for major players like China for example, control could only go so far. If they were to think themselves pushed to the point of unacceptable damage, then the nuclear option would surface. No doubt they would gamble with an action that was large enough to gain effect, but small enough to avoid a full exchange, but at that point naval forces diminish rapidly in importance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 06:30
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
To an extent, the Royal Navy did control the world's trade in the nineteenth century, but control of trade is much more problematic today. Trade is massive today, and complex. A container ship some US warship may encounter may have cargo for several different countries that was manufactured in China by a company in joint partnership with Germany, on a ship owned by Greeks but registered in Panama, and crewed by Singaporeans and Phillipinos. Do they send a torpedo their way, or not?
 
The US is today quite dependent on the flow of trade, and the flow of money through the financial markets. Attempts to interfere with the flow of trade on the sea could have serious repercussions for the US, that could take a number of forms in the far more tightly interlocked economy of today.
 
As for nuclear weapons, I take your point that all out use is unlikely, and one must prepare for intermediate scenerios. But in the great geopolitical poker game, the threat of an action, if dire enough, can often have the same effect as actual implementation. In the Cuban missile crisis for example, the US had the edge with naval forces, which was handy. But it was the threat of nuclear exchange that ultimately decided the game. Having those extra destroyers on hand was not enough. A hundred years previously, it probably would have been.
 
So to today. If a country singled out for "control" was small enough, or far enough out of favour with the world community, then their trade might be controlled to an extent. But for major players like China for example, control could only go so far. If they were to think themselves pushed to the point of unacceptable damage, then the nuclear option would surface. No doubt they would gamble with an action that was large enough to gain effect, but small enough to avoid a full exchange, but at that point naval forces diminish rapidly in importance.
 
The economy may be interlocked, but the United States is at its centre. The Americans by themselves, are 25% of the world economy. The question of whether to interfere with global trade is not a question - it must be done, and is being done.
 
China is perhaps the most constrained of them all. China is hostage to the countries to which she exports, that the main country to which China exports is the United States. The Chinese do not have a navy anywhere in comparison to their longtime rival the Japanese. They gambled in the 1980s in opening their doors to international trade. They are experiencing the pain from this decision, as now they are hostage to the United States. If the Chinese were to use nuclear weapons against the U.S, or threaten them with nuclear weapons, or even attack the Americans directly (which is impossible considering they do not have a navy of any size for it even to be considered), they are sabotaging themselves. The Americans would not continue to buy from the Chinese for obvious reasons. The Chinese economy which is built off American trade would collapse and the country would fall into ruin and revolt.
 
When you study geopolitics closely you realize countries have no decision in what they do. And when they do, their options are few. Outside restrictions reduce what a nation can actually accomplish or carry out. That being said countries with power are able to make more mistakes that countries without it.
 
The Americans could have overwhelmed the missiles placed in Cuba in 1962, in the same way the Russians could overwhelm the American's missiles in Poland in 2009. What bothered the United States was a Cuban-Russian relationship, and what annoyed the Russians was a Polish-American relationship. Neither was a direct attack on the country in the form of actual missiles, but was the workings of a anti-American or anti-Russian alliance.
 
The size of the American fleet coupled with its satelites means no nation can move its navy without the United States noticing. And no one can attack the United States by conventional means, as it is buffered by two large oceans. There is a reason why the United States has not been under attack since it became the leading power of the Western Hemisphere. No nation, expecially after European influence was removed in World War II in regards to the Lend-Lease Act, and after the American navy greatly expanded in size after the war, could even talk about launching an invasion of North America.
 
 
 
 


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 25 Aug 2011 at 06:40
"I am moved to pity, when I think of the brevity of human life, seeing that of all this host of men not one will still be alive in a hundred years time."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 09:04
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
To an extent, the Royal Navy did control the world's trade in the nineteenth century, but control of trade is much more problematic today. Trade is massive today, and complex. A container ship some US warship may encounter may have cargo for several different countries that was manufactured in China by a company in joint partnership with Germany, on a ship owned by Greeks but registered in Panama, and crewed by Singaporeans and Phillipinos. Do they send a torpedo their way, or not?
 
The US is today quite dependent on the flow of trade, and the flow of money through the financial markets. Attempts to interfere with the flow of trade on the sea could have serious repercussions for the US, that could take a number of forms in the far more tightly interlocked economy of today.
 
As for nuclear weapons, I take your point that all out use is unlikely, and one must prepare for intermediate scenerios. But in the great geopolitical poker game, the threat of an action, if dire enough, can often have the same effect as actual implementation. In the Cuban missile crisis for example, the US had the edge with naval forces, which was handy. But it was the threat of nuclear exchange that ultimately decided the game. Having those extra destroyers on hand was not enough. A hundred years previously, it probably would have been.
 
So to today. If a country singled out for "control" was small enough, or far enough out of favour with the world community, then their trade might be controlled to an extent. But for major players like China for example, control could only go so far. If they were to think themselves pushed to the point of unacceptable damage, then the nuclear option would surface. No doubt they would gamble with an action that was large enough to gain effect, but small enough to avoid a full exchange, but at that point naval forces diminish rapidly in importance.
 
The economy may be interlocked, but the United States is at its centre. The Americans by themselves, are 25% of the world economy. The question of whether to interfere with global trade is not a question - it must be done, and is being done.
 
China is perhaps the most constrained of them all. China is hostage to the countries to which she exports, that the main country to which China exports is the United States. The Chinese do not have a navy anywhere in comparison to their longtime rival the Japanese. They gambled in the 1980s in opening their doors to international trade. They are experiencing the pain from this decision, as now they are hostage to the United States. If the Chinese were to use nuclear weapons against the U.S, or threaten them with nuclear weapons, or even attack the Americans directly (which is impossible considering they do not have a navy of any size for it even to be considered), they are sabotaging themselves. The Americans would not continue to buy from the Chinese for obvious reasons. The Chinese economy which is built off American trade would collapse and the country would fall into ruin and revolt.
 
True, China needs its exports, particularly to the US, for the time being anyway. But the game is poker, not solitaire. The US also needs China, for the time being, to finance parts of its society it either can't or won't itself because of economic or political considerations. This may change in the future, but is solidly in place at present. There are other similar situations such as OPEC- they have the oil countries need, but they have also become very dependent on the high revenues they receive. China is a hostage to the extent that they could loose part of the value of the trillion or so dollars they have invested in US securities if the US decides to default in some form on their debts. But measures such as these would also have a detremental effect on the US. A large scale sell-off of t-bills for example would cause interest rates to soar, debt to increase massively, and the economy to tank. The two countries are joined at the hip, at least until such time as greater independence asserts itself. It is not impossible that the US ends up being the greater "hostage" in the end. China is attempting to build a middle class that would increase local consumption, which would make it less dependent on exports. On the other hand many in the US are adamant that they do not want to pay taxes, pushing the government to further t-bill sales to foreign interests.
 
This just reinforces how interconnected the world is today, and also how conventional instruments of power, like naval forces, are of less utility. Warships are not going to change Chinese monetary or trade policies. Any attempt to disrupt trade with China would cause many a US corporation to have phone lines burning in Washington with demands to back off, because they have a lot of money to loose.
 
 
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

When you study geopolitics closely you realize countries have no decision in what they do. And when they do, their options are few. Outside restrictions reduce what a nation can actually accomplish or carry out. That being said countries with power are able to make more mistakes that countries without it.
 
The Americans could have overwhelmed the missiles placed in Cuba in 1962, in the same way the Russians could overwhelm the American's missiles in Poland in 2009. What bothered the United States was a Cuban-Russian relationship, and what annoyed the Russians was a Polish-American relationship. Neither was a direct attack on the country in the form of actual missiles, but was the workings of a anti-American or anti-Russian alliance.
 
The size of the American fleet coupled with its satelites means no nation can move its navy without the United States noticing. And no one can attack the United States by conventional means, as it is buffered by two large oceans. There is a reason why the United States has not been under attack since it became the leading power of the Western Hemisphere. No nation, expecially after European influence was removed in World War II in regards to the Lend-Lease Act, and after the American navy greatly expanded in size after the war, could even talk about launching an invasion of North America.
 
 
 
 
Of course, no one is talking about an invasion of North America, or in fact any sort of similar operation. D-Day in 1944 was probably the last of this type of massive invasion by sea that will be seen, as technology, particularly nuclear weapons, has make this scale of operation too risky. In fact, if there were no US Navy at all, such an invasion would still be out of the question, due to satellite surveillance, air power, and nuclear weapons. Which brings us back to the point of this thread. Historically, the British navy was absolutely decisive in preventing this sort of attack, and in many other functions. Today, the US Navy, although stronger in firepower, carries less overall geopolitical weight in the world than did the RN in the nineteenth and early twentith centuries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 15:03
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
That was true of the Royal Navy, which is why Walpole (Horace) called the oceans, 'the streets of our capital'.  Of course the US navy is more powerful if you're comparing today's US fleet with Britain's 1880 fleet, but the gap between the Royal Navy and the rest was bigger than the gap between the US navy and the rest now.
 
For that matter I don't see much sign of the US Navy controlling the waters off east Africa.
 
There is no modern navy, besides the United States, is capable of playing more than a regional role. There is no Chinese fleet in the Mediterranean, there is no Russian naval presence in the Carribean, the British do not have ships stationed on the coasts of Japan. The American reach is global.
 
Is the gap not greater now than it was during the 1880s? Japanese naval power grew exponentially, and its presence was felt throughout the Pacific theatre. The Russian Pacific fleet, though regional, had a much further outreach than it does presently. French naval power also bounced back after its defeat in the beginning part of the century. The French had fleets positioned as far as the South China Sea by 1882.
 
 
 
Hello Darius
 
I partly disagree with you on some points you mentioned above about the global reach of the US navy, this reach is simply because when all navies chose to down size the US navy decided to expand and while other navies decided to withdraw the US decided to continue its deployments. In short this global reach was not because the US navy is so powerfull, it is still smaller than it was in 1970, its because other countries (except Russia and China) decided to become regional because their empires collapsed.
 
In 1880, France existence in South China was becuase its colonies in SEA and that (with new Caledonia) was it. The Russian Pacific fleet was a coast guard, when the Russo Japanese war happened the Fleet had to be brought from the Baltic. The Royal navy's situation back them was similar to the US's in 1980, the largest and most powerful navy with global reach but also facing other large and powerful navies with global reach. The difference is the US remained when everyone else withered while the royal navy withered because it was simply too expensive for a medium sized country.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 20:17
Easy answer: The Royal Navy in relative experience, scale, firepower, reach, purpose and length of time.

Edited by Zagros - 25 Aug 2011 at 20:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2011 at 20:43
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The economy may be interlocked, but the United States is at its centre. The Americans by themselves, are 25% of the world economy.
That's confusing the economy with international trade. Most of that US 25% (I assume you mean of GDP, where it is between 20-25%) is internal trade. Which of course navies can only minimally interfere with.
In any case the situatîon is changîng rather rapidly and anyway the country with the most trade is the one most dependent on it.
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The question of whether to interfere with global trade is not a question - it must be done, and is being done.
In fact the EU commission interferes with international trade more than any other major bloc. EU sanctions have bite, whereas US sanctions sre largely ignored.
 
I chose 1880 rather deliberately, one of the reasons being that the launch of HMS Collingwood
and the rest of the class put the RN even further ahead technologically than it already was. Another reason was the de facto conquest of Egypt, which was made possible only by the RN and its bombardment of Alexandria. Where has the US navy successfully conquered anywhere - or even been the leading arm - recently?
 
Elsewhere in 1880 the US navy was tiny and out of date; Japan was beginnng to put together a fleet under Britsh guidance; Russia had no fleet of significance before Nicholas II - when there was a threat of war with France and England breaking out again its ships were forced to go shelter in US ports; and most of the rest weren't of any significance, even Italy and Austria.
 
The only fleet with anywhere near the global reach of the Royal Navy was the French, but atthat time the French designers were going down a false trail concentrating on developing small ships and motor boats, when right up to the arrival of aircraft, gunnery range was all important in warship encounters (as the beginning of the end of RN dominance was to show at Coronel in 1914).
 
Nowadays as has been pointed out, the significance of large warships has been dented badly by the arrival of missiles and indeed tactical nuclear ones. It's mportant to remember that taking out a battle fleet with a nuclear missile is not something of the scale of Hiroshima. Damage is limited pretty well by definition to war material and armed forces. It may not therefore call for end-of-the-world type response.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 06:23
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


That was true of the Royal Navy, which is why Walpole (Horace) called the oceans, 'the streets of our capital'.  Of course the US navy is more powerful if you're comparing today's US fleet with Britain's 1880 fleet, but the gap between the Royal Navy and the rest was bigger than the gap between the US navy and the rest now.

 
I don't know, but i think that is disputable? Are you talking about tonnage or the superiority in the number of ships, you know the RN being more powerful than the next two naval powers? Admittedly, i haven't come across any other warship database other than this old one from around the turn of the century:

 http://www.strategypage.com/fyeo/howtomakewar/databases/navy/navalforcesoftheworld.asp

Wasn't it tonnage rather than the actual number that the RN based it's navy on back then? I can't remember without digging it up.

Quote
For that matter I don't see much sign of the US Navy controlling the waters off east Africa.


Not that i am trying to toot my country's horn, but i would have thought it had been realized that the US Navy takes more of multilateral approach rather than a unilateral one to any minor policing issue. US naval policy, AFAIK, is Freedom of the seas and cooperation with other navies that have a vested regional interest in policing an area. That is what i am seeing at least in the waters off of east Africa.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 07:00
I tend to disagree with those attaching far more importance to nation states nuclear weapons. In fact, i think we all are over thinking the issue and attaching way to much importance to the nuclear option in respect to current great power navies. Here on i speak in general terms of whether it is a nuclear attack on a navy in no particular country's littoral zone or the use of ICBM's.

Yes, nukes are very scary and extremely powerful, but what nation state leader, being in their right minds, would be willing to use it as a first strike option? Their use is impractical to the one who fires the first shot, regardless of whether it is a superpower or some backward-podunk-third rate power, like for example North Korea with the partial backing of a great power like China. I for one can see an end to the world scenario if that were too happen, bu i see it currently as highly most unlikely to ever happen, especially in this century.

So with that said, i will reiterate my position even further in clarifying my position. The point is moot as far as the nation state is concerned! Any use of a nuclear weapon will elicit a response to same. Any use of nuclear weapon by a country is only of the last resort and not the first option when it comes to a shooting war. So, in essence, it is an option of the last resort that i think even the North Koreans realize and would be leery of using at the first sign of a shooting war with the US and vice versa, believe it or not. The policy of MAD will always come into play here, as far as the nation state is concerned. In essence, the nuclear option is off the table within the first years of a shooting war between any nuclear nation!

Now a non-state terrorist organization with several nuclear weapons at it's disposal and the inclination too use them, on the other hand, is a totally different matter and far more scarier. How would any great power or any other nation respond to that and against whom?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 09:09
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

I tend to disagree with those attaching far more importance to nation states nuclear weapons. In fact, i think we all are over thinking the issue and attaching way to much importance to the nuclear option in respect to current great power navies. Here on i speak in general terms of whether it is a nuclear attack on a navy in no particular country's littoral zone or the use of ICBM's.

Yes, nukes are very scary and extremely powerful, but what nation state leader, being in their right minds, would be willing to use it as a first strike option? Their use is impractical to the one who fires the first shot, regardless of whether it is a superpower or some backward-podunk-third rate power, like for example North Korea with the partial backing of a great power like China. I for one can see an end to the world scenario if that were too happen, bu i see it currently as highly most unlikely to ever happen, especially in this century.

So with that said, i will reiterate my position even further in clarifying my position. The point is moot as far as the nation state is concerned! Any use of a nuclear weapon will elicit a response to same. Any use of nuclear weapon by a country is only of the last resort and not the first option when it comes to a shooting war. So, in essence, it is an option of the last resort that i think even the North Koreans realize and would be leery of using at the first sign of a shooting war with the US and vice versa, believe it or not. The policy of MAD will always come into play here, as far as the nation state is concerned. In essence, the nuclear option is off the table within the first years of a shooting war between any nuclear nation!

Now a non-state terrorist organization with several nuclear weapons at it's disposal and the inclination too use them, on the other hand, is a totally different matter and far more scarier. How would any great power or any other nation respond to that and against whom?

 
Generally, I agree that the use of nuclear weapons is unlikely, and it would be crazy to escalate any sort of conflict by this means. But unfortunately, history is littered with crazy acts.
 
Depending on the situation, the concept of last resort could vary considerably. Some countries have seen horrendous losses just in conventional war (Russia for example), and may have a lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons to avoid another such event. Others (like France) have suffered unacceptable outcomes from loosing (the 1940-44 occupation), and may well use powerful means to stop it happening again.
 
As in many conflicts, the first use of these weapons would likely be considered limited and controllable; something that should go according to script. But of course it may not, and spin out of control. In a hypothetical case of the US navy blockading China is some future dispute, Chinese leaders may feel, if essential supplies like oil were being choked off, that they had reached the position of "last resort". Limited nuclear strikes against key US warships may well be seen as achievable without serious escalation, and able to bring matters to a favorable end. Of course, limits can be quite elastic depending on the amount of desperation felt. There are probably many scenerios were a leader woud feel safe in the use of a very limited application of a nuclear weapon, thinking that things would end with that.
 
This is one of the main reasons, IMO, that the ultimate utility of naval forces today is less than it was in the past. Just the threat of use of today's highly destructive weapons is enough to limit the actions of naval forces. Britain did not have these constraints during its time in the sun, and hence the RN had more of an impact on history than the US navy does today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 10:38
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


That was true of the Royal Navy, which is why Walpole (Horace) called the oceans, 'the streets of our capital'.  Of course the US navy is more powerful if you're comparing today's US fleet with Britain's 1880 fleet, but the gap between the Royal Navy and the rest was bigger than the gap between the US navy and the rest now.

 
I don't know, but i think that is disputable? Are you talking about tonnage or the superiority in the number of ships, you know the RN being more powerful than the next two naval powers?
Number of ships in each category more or less equates to tonnage when you think about it. But technological advancement, gun size and numbers, range and speed are all vital characteristics. The first navy to threaten RN dominance in those areas was the German of course, but Germany was only just getting started in 1880.
 
Anyway the RN was stronger in all classes, except maybe (I haven't checked) in the matter of small craft vis à vis the French, as I already mentioned. Moreover navies at that time were the only force involved: the RN in 1880 didn't have to worry about aircraft let alone missiles. For that matter it didn't have to worry much about political considerations either.
Quote
Admittedly, i haven't come across any other warship database other than this old one from around the turn of the century:

 http://www.strategypage.com/fyeo/howtomakewar/databases/navy/navalforcesoftheworld.asp

Wasn't it tonnage rather than the actual number that the RN based it's navy on back then? I can't remember without digging it up.

Quote
For that matter I don't see much sign of the US Navy controlling the waters off east Africa.


Not that i am trying to toot my country's horn, but i would have thought it had been realized that the US Navy takes more of multilateral approach rather than a unilateral one to any minor policing issue. US naval policy, AFAIK, is Freedom of the seas and cooperation with other navies that have a vested regional interest in policing an area. That is what i am seeing at least in the waters off of east Africa.
I don't mind changing that to "I haven't seen much sign of anyone controlling the waters off east Africa."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 16:13
I have followed with some interest this discussion, which is heavy on the military but entirely ignores the more central issue with respect to "naval power", the Merchant Marine. Granted, given contemporary realities and the "flags of convenience" that characterize today's commerce on the seas, this facile preoccupation with expensive "white elephants" has more or less driven into the background why capital ships evolved to begin with and hence ignores the principal economic centrality that demands the inclusion of mercantile activity in any discussion of tonnage and "power". Or has everyone forgotten Mahan's dictum: A navy could justify its existence only by the protection of merchant shipping. Here is an interesting article that discusses this facet on assessing sea power:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 19:19
Quote "After the available resources of our own merchant marine had been exhausted, our Government was compelled to purchase some 51 foreign steamers, aggregating 128,000 tons and costing nearly $10,000,000.
Interesting statistic that I didn't know.
 
With some trepidation I disagree with Mahan with regard to the latter half of the 19th century (and actually I'd suggest that Mahan is here proferring a rather American point of view). With the establishment of the British Empire the justification of the Royal Navy rested to a large extent in the spreading and protection of the dominions and colonies. While the motto 'trade follows the flag' may be challengeable in soome situations (cf http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-03/edit-page/29495931_1_foreign-policy-indian-economy-india-chile ) it was undoubtedly seen that way around in later 19th century Britain. It would be better to say that the Royal Navy at that time was seen as a tool to create and monopolise trade by planting the flag.
 
Which isn't to say that Mahan's point isn't valid for most of history, including of course the Roman empire, in which protecting trade was pretty well the sole point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2011 at 00:49
Gcle wrote:
With some trepidation I disagree with Mahan with regard to the latter half of the 19th century (and actually I'd suggest that Mahan is here proferring a rather American point of view). With the establishment of the British Empire the justification of the Royal Navy rested to a large extent in the spreading and protection of the dominions and colonies.
 
Well, Mahan did perforce blissfully ignore the army in terms of global territorial acquisition so as to assert maritime power, but in contradicting him with reference to the 1850s and thereafter, the positing of the Royal Navy as the incubus of empire commits the identical error. Now if the assertion merely reflects the political justification of the Naval Budget by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, such a declaration is true but one would be hard put to identify any significant acquisition of territory with the RN as catalyst or that institution itself becoming the bulwark for commercial activity. In fact, if one surveys shipbuilding as the barometer for the period in question one should note the wide divergence in output between commercial bottoms and capital ships. The history of Belfast between 1850 and 1910 suffices as an example. Heck, I myself would assert that it was the merchant adventurer that dictated to the RN in the 19th century much as his historical ancestor did the same in the 16th.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2011 at 03:29
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

I have followed with some interest this discussion, which is heavy on the military but entirely ignores the more central issue with respect to "naval power", the Merchant Marine. Granted, given contemporary realities and the "flags of convenience" that characterize today's commerce on the seas, this facile preoccupation with expensive "white elephants" has more or less driven into the background why capital ships evolved to begin with and hence ignores the principal economic centrality that demands the inclusion of mercantile activity in any discussion of tonnage and "power". Or has everyone forgotten Mahan's dictum: A navy could justify its existence only by the protection of merchant shipping. Here is an interesting article that discusses this facet on assessing sea power:
 
When we look at the application of seapower since WW2, it has been about intervention in tumultuous regions of the world, and presenting a deterrance to nuclear war. Protection of merchant shipping has been the least of it. These interventions have also been limited in most cases by the threat of a wider conflict. In the case of the Vietnam War, Soviet frieghters delivered war material to their clients, unescorted, and unmolested. Seapower was limited in ways that didn't exist in the 19th century.
 
In a future conflict, merchant shipping would be either on or off- safe to sail, or not. Having lots of tonnage would be of little value. This was of course a different situation up to WW2.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2011 at 06:01
CVs phrasing of  certain assertion caught my eye, he wrote:
 
When we look at the application of seapower since WW2, it has been about intervention in tumultuous regions of the world, and presenting a deterrance to nuclear war. Protection of merchant shipping has been the least of it.
 
Only a politician keen on padding an unjustified budgetary appropriation would assert such. If WW2 is a watershed, it should stand as the decline of naval power as an offensive weapon and its rise more as an arm of logistic support (let us say "platforms") for supply and other offensive weaponry. Certainly the role of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf is a classic example of such and if you believe the presence there is not, essentially, a "shield" for mercantile tonnage with respect to oil then you must believe that an imminent naval assault on Iran is in the works. Naturally, the US Marine Corps might register an objection, but then they are actully an anachronism with respect to "feet on the ground".
 
Now before we go into talk about navies as an "immediate strike force" and "forward projections of power" such could be seen as simple exercises in sophistry in the age of ballistic weaponry, where there is reluctance to actually employ the "technologically" appropriate. OK so I am opening myself to the charge that the "doc" has gone Strangelove, when in fact he is simply being realistic. To be honest there is an old maxim at work here from the Civil War era--"gettin' dere the fustest with the mostest"-- and surface transport via the seas has not made much sense militarily for quite some time.
 
Bring out the red pencils it is time for a cost/efficiency analysis!
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