Canadian Naval Chief Underlines Challenges of “New Oceanic Age”

American Journal of Transportation posted an article titled, “Canadian Naval Chief Underlines Challenges of ‘New Oceanic Age.’” The article reads in part as follows;

“A high-ranking commander of the Canadian Navy has proclaimed the advent of ‘a new oceanic age’ characterized by surging maritime commerce, global power politics, the impact of climate change in the Arctic region, and the challenges for the United States especially of China’s expanding involvement.

Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, Royal Canadian Navy, presented a sweeping overview of developments on the world’s oceans during a keynote address to the Sept. 19-21 Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities in Vancouver.

‘Not since the great era of exploration in the 16th century’, he said, ‘have oceans played as important a role in global affairs as they do today. Unprecedented levels of commerce move across the world’s oceans, great power politics are being played out at sea, and oceans are central to the health of the planet in an age of profound climate change’.

McDonald stressed that the oceans have become a global highway, accounting for 90% of world trade, with ‘the meteoric growth of the Chinese economy constituting a driving factor to this expansion’.

‘As evidenced by China’s economic rise, Beijing has come to fully appreciate the flexibility, mobility and authority of seapower…manifested in the appearance of a powerful new Blue Water navy’.

Among other things, McDonald said, this ‘has meant that the existing hegemon, the United States, and the aspiring hegemon, China, find themselves competing for power and influence in the same oceanic realm – creating a context in great power geopolitics that has not previously coexisted with globalization’.

What is more, he continued, ‘we will increasingly be called on to operate in new maritime environments that will challenge our assumptions, test our resolve and require our collective commitment to governance’.

He singled out the Arctic as presenting such a case, adding: ‘Indeed, for the first time in human history, we are on the cusp of acquiring a new ocean.'”

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