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Guest Thinkers

Wesley Clark: China Could Control the Seas

China’s drive to be the world’s biggest economy will come hand in hand with its increased naval presence around the world.

As China returns to what it sees as its rightful place at the center of the world, its military will increasingly project its naval presence far beyond the Chinese coast, from the oil ports of the Middle East to the pirate-laden shipping lanes of the South Pacific — locations where the United States Navy has long reigned as the securer of the seas. In a strategy that Chinese admirals have dubbed “far sea defense,” China’s goal is to build warships that can escort long range commercial vessels that are, and will continue to be, crucial to the country’s economy.

As the world’s leading exporter and a behemoth buyer of oil and other natural resources, China’s bid to protect the seas is in part a natural result of its unprecedented economic growth. But it also forces the rest of the world to consider China’s burgeoning naval prowess in a more hostile context. As General Wesley Clark explains in his Big Think interview, no government can predict the future, but the rest of the world is surely considering China’s military capabilities.

After all, China has openly tested long-range ballistic missiles that have capability of knocking out enemy aircraft carries and is currently developing a sophisticated submarine fleet that is already using to guard the the world’s busiest shipping lanes and areas rich in oil and natural gas that have become an ongoing source of territorial disputes between it and other Asian nations.


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