The blue age How the US Navy created global prosperity--and why we're in danger of losing it

Gregg Easterbrook

Book - 2021

"The United States has by far the most powerful naval fleet in the world. Other nations are not even trying to keep up. This has enabled America to stand sentinel over crucial waterways like the Strait of Malacca, ensuring safe passage of goods with little interruption. But we are entering a new era. What will happen if the US does not keep spending resources on improving trade between other nations? Will China's rising economic influence and regional aggression cause us to pull ships out of the South China Sea, or result in a conflict between our navies? What will happen if new shipping lanes are opened near the Arctic Circle, or other places changed by global warming? Surveying both decades of naval history and a world of contem...porary politics, this book makes a unique and urgent argument about the future of global trade"--

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New York : PublicAffairs 2021.
Main Author
Gregg Easterbrook (author)
First edition
Physical Description
291 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Machine generated contents note: pt. ONE WAR ON THE WATERS
  • ch. One A School of Big Fish
  • ch. Two Is Sea Power Overrated?
  • ch. Three Why Fighting on the Blue Water Stopped
  • ch. Four There's Always a Bigger Fish
  • ch. Five Marlon Brando Would Not Recognize a Modern Port
  • ch. Six From Ideal-X to the Megamax
  • ch. Seven Why Sea Trade Improves Lives
  • ch. Eight Hey Look, a New Ocean!
  • ch. Nine The Next Stage Is to Govern the Seas
  • ch. Ten End of the Blue Age?.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A combination of historical survey and contemporary analysis at the intersection of globalization and naval power. Though writers regularly deplore globalization and few extol the massive American Navy, Easterbrook delivers an intensely researched, largely admiring account of both. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, write the author, agree that world trade often "hurts American workers," but this is "flat-earth thinking." However, "in the most recent century-length period, 1920 to 2020, global population trebled, while global GDP rose twentyfold." World poverty plummeted, while trade's share of the world economy jumped from 5% to 25%, and "95 percent of goods in commerce travel via water." Members of our so-called blue age, writes Easterbrook, "have lived better than any generation before, sacrificed less…been safer, and received better care than any other generation, in part because the seas are tranquil and affordable goods arrive on time." Essential to trade are titanic container vessels that sail the world's essentially ungoverned oceans, dominated for almost a century by the U.S. Navy. Shipping a container from Shanghai to Los Angeles today costs less than moving that same container across LA. Policing this is expensive; the 2020 "Navy budget worked out to $700 per American adult." But recent presidents have largely ignored sea power, and Americans pay little attention except when denouncing globalization. Like many before him, Easterbrook warns that climate change could derail progress by roiling ocean conditions and disrupting food production. Most ominously, a resurgent China aims for "military parity" by 2049, and few doubt that this will happen. The author emphasizes that the blue age will continue only if the U.S. and China can get along. Easterbrook is fighting an uphill battle, but he makes a reasonable and convincing case that international trade under the benign aegis of the U.S. Navy plays an essential role that will not continue unless we adapt to a changing world. Outstanding, only modestly alarmist geopolitics. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.