I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Ángel Ricardo Martínez of Le Prensa, a top newspaper in Panama. We spoke about numerous topics that are currently relevant in today’s world of international affairs. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
You’re a retired 4-star Navy admiral, something very significant since America’s global position rests on its naval superiority and thus its ability to control the world’s oceans. This has been the arrangement for several decades, but it seems to be changing now (China’s naval buildup, Russia’s quest for superiority in an increasingly navigable Arctic). How do you assess the current situation, where do you see it all going, and how will America’s role evolve?
I think the US will continue to be a significant maritime power for the foreseeable future. As you know we have enormous coastlines, we have wonderful neighbors to the north and south of us in Canada and Mexico, and as a result, in a lot of ways, the US is like an enormous island-nation, so the sea lanes of communication are extremely important to us.
The US Navy is still, by far, the preeminent naval force in the world, both in capability and in numbers of ships. You’re correct to point out that China’s navy is increasing in size and capability, but at the moment China’s navy remains very focused on the South China Sea and on East Asia. Russia’s navy, while it has some strong capability in strategic ballistic missile submarines, overall has no aircraft carriers and its surface ships are not particularly capable.
The US, on the other hand, enjoys very strong alliances with not only all NATO countries –including Spain, which has a very effective navy— but also Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand. So there’s lots of very positive naval capability that’s aligned with the US. Therefore, I think the US will continue to enjoy a very strong position in the maritime world.
Published in Spanish, La Prensa, July 13, 2014
Dean Stavridis with his basset hound, Lilly.
Dean James Stavridis is the 12th leader of The Fletcher School since its founding in 1933. A retired Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander.