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Friday, December 27, 2019

Issue 62

Is the Mediterranean Still Geo-strategically Essential?
Background Essay
Background Essay

Is The Mediterranean Still Geo-Strategically Essential?

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mediterranean Sea is today, as it has always been, a crossroads. The name itself testifies to that, as it means “the sea in the middle of the earth,” a Latin term reflecting an earlier Greek belief. We know better, or do we? From Syria to Libya and on the high seas, and with outside players including China, Iran, Russia, and the United States, the Mediterranean has re-emerged of late as a cockpit of conflict. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

The Wrong Side Of The Pillars Of Hercules: The Mediterranean Just Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The United States is an Atlantic and Pacific power by virtue of geography, strategic necessity, and economic opportunity. A forward defense of the far littorals—Europe and the East-Asian barrier states facing China—is the essential requirement for our security. All else is not only secondary or tertiary, but often an ill-advised and grossly costly drain on our resources.

Featured Commentary

Europe’s Mediterranean Frontier

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mediterranean abruptly separates Europe’s civilization from those of Africa and the Middle East. On one side, reaching North to Scandinavia and East to the Bering Strait, some seven hundred million mostly prosperous people live according to principles derived from Judeo-Christianity, Greek philosophy, and Roman law. Their number is shrinking. 

E.g., 1 / 25 / 2020
E.g., 1 / 25 / 2020
Friday, December 27, 2019

Issue 62

Is the Mediterranean Still Geo-strategically Essential?

Background Essay

by Barry Strauss Friday, December 27, 2019
article

Featured Commentary

by Ralph Peters Friday, December 27, 2019
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Friday, December 27, 2019
article

Related Commentary

by Gordon G. Chang Friday, January 10, 2020
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Chris Gibson Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Jakub Grygiel Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Josef Joffe Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Robert G. Kaufman Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Peter R. Mansoor Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Mark Moyar Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Ralph Peters Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Hy Rothstein Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Nadia Schadlow Friday, January 10, 2020
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by Bing West Friday, January 10, 2020
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Friday, December 20, 2019

Issue 61

Tariffs and Embargoes

Background Essay

by John B. Taylor Friday, December 20, 2019
article

Featured Commentary

by Gordon G. Chang Friday, December 20, 2019
article
by Robert G. Kaufman Friday, December 20, 2019
article
Friday, September 6, 2019

Issue 60

The Monroe Doctrine and Current U.S. Foreign Policy

Background Essay

by Williamson Murray Friday, September 6, 2019
article

Featured Commentary

by Chris Gibson Friday, September 6, 2019
article
by Bing West Friday, September 6, 2019
article
Thursday, July 11, 2019

Issue 59

U.S.–China Trade Tensions

Background Essay

by Christopher R. O’Dea Thursday, July 11, 2019
article

Featured Commentary

by Gordon G. Chang Thursday, July 11, 2019
article
by Michael R. Auslin Thursday, July 11, 2019
article

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Related Commentary

How Important Is the Mediterranean in American Strategic Thinking?

by Bing Westvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

In posing this question, the Hoover Institution advanced both a major and a minor subject. The major issue is defining what passes as strategic thinking in America; the minor subject is the role of the Mediterranean within that context.

Related Commentary

China in the Mediterranean and Implications for the United States and Europe

by Nadia Schadlow via Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

Two decades ago, the strategist Mac Owens wrote a seminal essay on classical geopolitics. He described geopolitics as “the study of the political and strategic relevance of geography to the pursuit of international power,” adding that it involved the control of spatial areas that have an impact on the security and prosperity of nations. 

Related Commentary

Implications of the Ascendant Chinese Presence in the Mediterranean for Europe and the United States

by Hy Rothsteinvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

The growing Chinese presence and activism in the Mediterranean, an area beyond Beijing’s core interest areas in the East and South China Seas, are raising new questions about China’s conception of the future world order. The key question is whether China’s economic expansion is a case of the flag following international trade, or is trade a mechanism to expand global presence, influence, and control. The answer to this question may adversely impact the way of life for Europeans and Americans.

Related Commentary

The Mediterranean: Britain’s Lake, America’s Burden, and U.S. Strategic Thought

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

The salient point about U.S. strategic thought and the Mediterranean is that, for most of our history, we didn’t think about it. Between our feud with the Barbary pirates and our World War II engagement in that wine-dark sea, we accepted that the Med was a British lake, in which the Royal Navy would guarantee security for trade and wartime dominance. 

Related Commentary

Competition in the Mediterranean

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

During the Cold War, and for more than two decades after the Cold War, the United States was the dominant power in the Mediterranean. Barack Obama’s reduction of the U.S. military presence in the Mediterranean and the ensuing Russian intervention in Syria in 2015 allowed Russia to gain in influence at the expense of the United States. 

Related Commentary

To what degree has the importance of the Mediterranean waxed or waned in American strategic thinking?

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

The United States has a long history with the Mediterranean littoral. The first American overseas military expedition, the war against the Barbary pirates, took place in the Mediterranean in the first decade and a half of the 19th century. Although U.S. naval operations and Marine expeditions against the North African states of Morocco, Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis did not immediately end piracy against American vessels, they did signal the willingness of the United States to use military force in the furtherance of its national security interests beyond its shores.

Related Commentary

The Prudence and Limits of President Trump’s Strategy of Recalibrating American Engagement in the Middle East

by Robert G. Kaufmanvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

For too long, the Middle East has dominated American foreign policy agenda to the detriment of addressing the nation’s most significant long-term challenges. The Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy has begun prudently to correct that, recalibrating America’s ranking of interests and threats to reflect geopolitical realities.

Related Commentary

Roiling The Waters: Changing Alignments, New Threats, And American Withdrawal Symptoms In The Contemporary Mediterranean

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

The Mediterranean is destiny, the cradle of our civilization. Think Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia, then Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. What the Romans called “Mare Nostrum”—our sea—joined three continents. It was the highway of trade and culture, conquest and war. The basin was practically the world then, and a constant object of desire. This is where civilizations clashed and empires rose and fell for millennia.

Related Commentary

The Importance of the Mediterranean Sea

by Jakub Grygielvia Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

The Mediterranean Sea is one of Europe’s inland seas, linking the continent with the rest of Eurasia, and most immediately with the Middle East and Africa. As such, it has two characteristics. First, its strategic relevance to outside powers (such as the United States) depends on whether they deem European political dynamics of vital interest. If continental Europe (and to a lesser degree the Middle East) loses geopolitical appeal, then the Mediterranean is of little significance.

Related Commentary

Refining U.S. Strategy in the Mediterranean

by Chris Gibson via Strategika
Friday, January 10, 2020

China and Russia are increasingly gaining access to and leverage within the Mediterranean Sea region and the United States should refine its strategy to counter these concerning trends.

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The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

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Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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The opinions expressed in Strategika are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.