A US congressional report into the modernisation and expansion of China’s naval power has revealed major concerns about the future stability of the region and Beijing’s ambitions beyond Taiwan.
As the global centre of geopolitical and strategic focus and power pivots away from the traditionally land-locked Western and Central European theatre towards the broad-spectrum maritime dominated Indo-Pacific, decades of “wars of choice” rather than “wars of necessity” have left the US-led world order in a state of disarray.
In stark contrast, across the vast expanse of the Pacific, the Middle Kingdom has doubled down on its decades of economic growth and corresponding influence on the global and regional stage, embarking on the world’s largest peace time modernisation and build-up of the People’s Liberation Army, with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) now the largest navy in the world, shifting the once second rate, “brown water” navy, to become an increasingly capable “blue water”, global navy.
Naval power is fast re-emerging as the centrestage for great power competition in the 21st century as both the United States and its allies seek to regain ground ceded to China over the course of the period between the beginning of the new millennium and today.
Where the United States Navy and its supporting industrial base were once seen as the unassailable leader and security guarantor for much of the world and the global economy, it now stands as is, a shadow of its former glory.