by John Daly, Oil Price:
For centuries, maritime powers have used their navies to “show the flag” in contested naval issues. Unlike armies, which must mobilize on frontiers, or air forces, which would need to overfly hostile space, navies can float in international waters of countries that naval powers wish to intimidate, sending a not so subtle signal all the while obeying international law.
As the U.S. prepares to “pivot” 60 percent of its armed forces into the Pacific, an upcoming joint Russian-Chinese naval exercise is sending a clear signal that the western Pacific, which the U.S. has treated as its regional lake since the end of World War Two, will not necessarily remain uncontested.
The unspoken agenda of the exercise is to reaffirm Russian and Chinese sovereignty over their claims to the western Pacific continental shelf, which numerous surveys indicate contain rich hydrocarbon resources.
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