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Maritime Strategy in Great Power Competition

IWP 705 / IWPO 705
2 credits

Strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation has become the center of U.S. grand strategy.   Much of that competition takes place in the maritime domain; much of its outcome will depend on maritime power.  Maritime strategy must thus form a fundamental component of U.S. grand strategy as well as military strategy.

But the maritime aspect of the competition goes beyond strategy.  The rules-based system of global order and commerce that the U.S. and its allies and partners seek to defend is a product of maritime power.  It reflects the political openness and exchange of ideas associated with the sea-born trade since it began with the Phoenicians.  China’s current dependence on maritime imports and exports does not diminish the continental character of its culture and regime.

In this class, students will:

  • Explore the historically and conceptually maritime basis of the liberal global order.
  • Analyze the patterns and strategic and economic significance of contemporary maritime trade and resource extraction.
  • Review the principles of maritime strategy as described by Mahan, Corbett, and others.
  • Evaluate maritime strategy in great power competition, historical and contemporary.