ABSTRACT

U.S.-China Maritime Confidence Building: Paradigms, Precedents, and Prospects   [open pdf - 1MB]

"As two great powers that will influence much of the immediate future of our small and vulnerable planet, China and the United States are in a marriage of sorts - 'united for the purpose of living together,' in the words of the 'Oxford English Dictionary'. Like it or not, the two societies depend on each other. Environmental degradation, social unrest, economic problems, or pandemic outbreak in one must inevitably affect the other. Both must be active contributors to a peaceful, prosperous, sustainable, global community. Both governments emphasize their commitment to a positive and constructive mutual engagement. At sea, however, that engagement is not always trouble free. Confrontation happens - and when it does, events do not always unfold in the way that policy makers might have intended or preferred. Like a married couple, both sides prefer to downplay to the outside world the extent and nature of quarrels. But despite this public posture, those in command of naval and maritime air forces understand only too well the potential risks of damage, injury, and even death at the tactical level. More worrying is the inherent risk of unintended consequences and the potential for an uncontrolled strategic-political spiral of unwanted escalation. It is bad policy and in no one's interest to perpetuate a relationship in which an innocent mistake at sea can trigger an unwanted political crisis. At sea, however, that engagement is not always trouble free. Confrontation happens? and when it does, events do not always unfold in the way that policy makers might have intended or preferred. Like a married couple, both sides prefer to downplay to the outside world the extent and nature of quarrels. But despite this public posture, those in command of naval and maritime air forces understand only too well the potential risks of damage, injury, and even death at the tactical level."

Report Number:
China Maritime Study No. 6
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2010-07
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval War College: http://www.nwc.navy.mil/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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