24 January 2013

“China Goes to Sea” Reviewed by Diana Sweet in Washington Journal of Modern China

Diana Sweet, review of Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Carnes Lord, eds., China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, July 2009); Washington Journal of Modern China, 10.1 (September 2011): 73-75.

China Goes to Sea is a must-read for those interested in gaining a strong foundation to understanding the Chinese navy. The edited volume works diligently to provide a strong comparative historical framework to analyze and comprehend the vicissitudes of China’s navy. It is an ambitious work that begins with the pre-modern era and touches on so many relevant issues to current day naval might. It is sure to inform the amateurs who know little beyond Zheng He’s voyages of the 15th century to the experts who have yet to contemplate the lessons that can be learned from histories of fallen ancient empires. Erickson, Goldstein and Lord break up their work into sections that alone are worthy to be published. Organization of the book takes a look in turn at the pre-modern era, the modern era, Chinese maritime transformations and China in comparative perspective.

For the pre-modern era, contributors reflect upon the naval experiences of Persia, Sparta, Rome and the Ottomans. In the volume’s [final] chapter, Carnes Lord claims that of all attempted naval transformation[s], the only two to ever successfully do so were Persia and Rome. Speaking more to the exceptional circumstances of naval transformation, Gilbert describes the unique method through which Persia was able to do so with such rapidity. Specifically, it was the strong and strategic leadership that made use of the maritime provinces for manning the crews of the Persian fleets, making it only a matter of building the ships, not training the nation.

The volume covers the modern era by looking at the experiences of imperial French, Russian and German cases in addition to Soviet Russia. While these experiences leave the reader with a negative impression, the exceptional case of China, while not immune from some of the strategic fate that befell a few of the aforementioned powers, has convinced some of these authors that it may have what it takes for true naval transformation. The editors also put together a section that focuses on the changes that have taken place within the Chinese state in the sphere of naval development. Andrew Wilson characterizes the Ming dynasty as an overall decline and change in strategy following the final voyage of Zheng He, specifically one of transition from an aggressive maritime to a defensive continental focus. This change in strategy had long-term effects that were made apparent by the Chinese navy’s ineffectiveness against Western counterparts during the Qing era, as Elleman reports that there were no dynastic policies that required a robust navy. Later in the section Cole provides readers with an interesting take on Chinese naval power during the Cold War and certain explanations for why it took the communist regime thirty years to recognize the strategic importance [of] a strong naval force.

The final section works to pull all earlier aspects of the book together and place the experience of the Chinese navy in a comparative perspective. As expected, much of this section focuses on economic and regional incentives and opportunities for China to rise as a strong sea power. Collins and Grubb explain some of the inner workings of the Chinese shipbuilding sector and argue that China’s ability to rise again as a major sea power is directly related to its commercial shipbuilding developments which have seen vast improvement over the last thirty years. Strongly linked to the aspect of commercial shipbuilding is the international economic market, which has allowed China to grow and challenge other naval powers in a rather non-traditional front. Further speaking to China’s ambitions, editors Erickson and Goldstein present selected conclusions from a recent Chinese study done on the Rise of Great Nations, a study that drew its inspiration from a presidential directive to determine what factors lead to the most rapid and benevolent development. This chapter in particular provides readers with an interesting, albeit selected, window into a Chinese perspective of development and the rise of power. …

As details continue to emerge on China’s refurbishment of a former Soviet aircraft carrier and other extraordinary developments of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), this volume offers a wealth of knowledge and history meant to help determine possible future strengths, weaknesses and potential trajectories. Readers will notice the importance and continuous debate about whether China is a maritime, continental or maritime-continental power. This theme is repeated through the pages of the volume and China’s self-perception of its land and/or sea prowess and ambitions will be interesting to follow in the years and decades to come. China Goes to Sea represents a new and fresh lens through which to understand the PLAN and is a welcome addition to any scholar or enthusiast’s library. 

China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (CMSI Vol. 3)

Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Carnes Lord, eds., China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, July 2009).

  • Kindle edition now available!
  • China Ocean Press (www.oceanpress.com.cn) has purchased the simplified Chinese language rights and will soon publish an authorized Chinese-language edition.

Japanese language summary translations now available: “書籍2:中国は海へ進出–歴史的経緯の比較による海洋の変革”and “大陸国家が海洋を目指す時.”

Coauthor, with Lyle Goldstein, of:

  • “Chinese Perspectives on Maritime Transformation,” pp. xiii-xxxvi;
  • and “China Studies the Rise of Great Powers,” pp. 401-25.

Required reading for the Naval War College Strategy and Policy Department’s Senior Leadership Course.


Chinas turn toward the sea is evident in its stunning rise in global shipbuilding markets, its expanding merchant marine, its wide reach of offshore energy exploration, its growing fishing fleet, and its increasingly modern navy. Unlike other works that view China in isolation, this comprehensive assessment of Chinas potential as a genuine maritime power places China in a larger world historical context. The authors, all authorities on their respective historical eras, examine cases of attempted maritime transformation through the ages, from the Persian Empire to the Soviet Union, and determine the reasons for success or failure. Without underestimating the enduring pull of Chinas past as it embodies threats to the countrys internal stability and its landward borders, this comparative study provides reasons to believe–despite continued skepticism–that China has turned the corner on maritime transformation. If this proves to be true, the authors contend, such a transformation would be an extraordinary event in the history of the last two millennia. Their work updates other books written on the subject that have been overtaken by Chinas rapid strategic and technological change. Readers will especially appreciate the books detailed maps and forward-looking analytical framework for understanding the future of Asian maritime power.


“Throughout Asia today, China dominates the conversation….This valuable new book… provides in one volume a comprehensive assessment of China’s naval development, the principal historical precedents, and the complex thought process that guides the Chinese Navy’s leadership.”

–Admiral Walter F. Doran, USN (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet

“The maritime history of China has long been a neglected field. The absorbing interpretive essays in China goes to Sea bring that knowledge-gap to an end…. This volume will be an indispensable companion to those readers seeking to understand where China’s navy may be heading.”

–Jonathan Spence, Yale University, author of Treason by the Book and The Search for Modern China

“…a veritable feast of delights. It shows how important Chinese maritime power is likely to be for the rest of us, but also how complex that issue actually is. It identifies so many lessons, and it establishes the dangers, limits and opportunities so well that we must hope that Chinese policy-makers also read this deeply authoritative book closely, for their sake, as well as for ours.”

–Geoffrey Till, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, UK, author of Seapower: A Guide for the 21st Century

“This is an original and well-designed collection of scholarly essays on the larger historical context of China’s current maritime growth. … an important read.”

–Paul Kennedy, Yale University, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

“This book deserves to be read by every career Navy and Marine officer and then retained on his/her bookshelf.”

–Rear Admiral Ronald J. Kurth, USN (Ret.)

a remarkable collection of essays by a group of outstanding scholars. … Current developments make it essential reading for students of China, strategy, and international relations.”

–Donald Kagan, Yale University, author of On the Origins of War and The Peloponnesian War

“Among its many other merits, it provides a valuable window into what the Chinese themselves are thinking about strategic maritime matters.”

–John Curtis Perry, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University

“…a major contribution to the development of a comparative and historical perspective on contemporary China’s growing maritime ambitions. …essential reading for scholars and policy makers concerned about Chinese defense policy and developments in Chinese maritime policy.”

–Robert S. Ross, Professor of Political Science, Boston College


a must-read for those interested in gaining a strong foundation to understanding the Chinese navy. …provide[s] a strong comparative historical framework to analyze and comprehend the vicissitudes of China’s navy. …an ambitious work that… touches on… many relevant issues to current day naval might. …sure to inform the amateurs who know little beyond Zheng He’s voyages of the 15th century to the experts who have yet to contemplate the lessons that can be learned from histories of fallen ancient empires. Erickson, Goldstein and Lord break up their work into sections that alone are worthy to be published. … offers a wealth of knowledge and history meant to help determine possible future strengths, weaknesses and potential trajectories. Readers will notice the importance and continuous debate about whether China is a maritime, continental or maritime-continental power. This theme …will be interesting to follow in the years and decades to come. …represents a new and fresh lens through which to understand the PLAN and is a welcome addition to any scholar or enthusiast’s library.”

Diana Sweet, Washington Journal of Modern China, 10.1 (September 2011): 73-75.

“This book is a wonderful academic review not just of China’s maritime power but of the history of sea command. The editors do a remarkable job of building a comprehensive picture of where China stands today in its pursuit of maritime capability to match its economic ascendency and continental military power. …In answering why China needs a maritime power projection capability, this book clearly illustrates the links among economics, national security, and strategic ambition. All too often the naval lobby forgets to link these factors. Perhaps this lesson should be allowed to reverberate around Western corridors of power, next time the naval lobby comes second in the debate over the division of meager defence resources. … The introduction poses a list of 10 key questions. These questions are so pertinent they should be given to those charged with generating maritime strategy. These 10 simple questions illuminate the issue of strategy generation with clarity and vision. I would commend them to any student or serving officer when looking for a justification of the importance of maritime strategy within the realm of national security. The first part of the book is devoted to pre-modern era maritime states, charting collectively the rise of Persia, Sparta, Rome and the Ottoman Turks. This succinct comparative review would serve as an excellent introduction to any student of naval power in the ancient world. The authors bring a fresh perspective to events that have traditionally caused narcolepsy to students. …”

Dave Mugridge, Canadian Naval Review, 7.2 (Summer 2011): 42-43.

“The US Naval Institute Press has, along with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College, published key studies on PRC maritime developments. Their July 2009 study, China Goes to Sea, was seminal.”

–Gregory R. Copley, “Focus on PLA(N),” Essential Reading: Important New Strategic Literature, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy 4 (2011): 16.

“This book is not just for China experts; it is for all those readers interested in the development of sea power at its most basic – that is, how did a number of states develop and use their navies, why did some keep them and others discard them?”

–Andrew Forbes in The Northern Mariner 20 (2010), 430-31.

“the breadth and quality of the various contributions mean that it has relevance to a much more extensive readership than the dedicated follower of Chinese naval strategy. … A particularly interesting chapter contributed by Messrs Erickson and Goldstein analyses the findings of the Chinese government’s own recent study entitled The Rise of Great Powers. … many strands are drawn together in Carnes Lord’s concluding chapter. This provides both a clear summing up of the many hurdles land-based powers face when they embark on a maritime transformation, and a well-reasoned assessment of the point China has reached in its own voyage to the sea.”

–Conrad Waters, author, Seaforth World Naval Review 2012in “Naval Books of the Year,” John Jordan and Stephen Dent, eds., Warship 2011 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, June 2011), 184-85.

China Goes to Sea is to be welcomed for all the right scholarly reasons and its contributors are to be congratulated for shedding further light on the fascinating yet manifestly unfinished story of China’s maritime transformation.”

–Malcolm H. Murfett, National University of Singapore, International Journal of Maritime History 22.1 (June 2010): 384-86.

“The excellent idea behind this collection is the historical comparison of how other powers in other times have made the transition from land to sea power. … In addition to its portraits and perceptions of Chinese naval expansion, the book has fine introductions to more obscure topics, such as the Ottomans. …Especially for policy makers. Summing up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries.”

–R. Higham, emeritus, Kansas State University, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 47.9 (May 2010).

“…important not only for those working in naval studies and for sinologists, but also for scholars concerned with the idea of strategic culture and its application.”

–Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, Naval War College Review 63.3 (Summer 2010): 156-57.

“This is a vital book that ought to be read by all the world’s political leaders and their advisors, senior military personnel and pro-active business people. Not only does it, as it claims, put China’s maritime transformation into historical perspective, it puts almost all maritime commerce into historical perspective. In analysing China’s current situation, it provides a brilliant overview of global commercial history.”

Ships and Shipping (March 2010), p. 37.

“…The last two parts of the book look just at China. They consist of three particularly stimulating chapters which look at the rise and fall of Chinese seapower in the past and four which explore possible trajectories into the future. What emerges is a picture of the Chinese pragmatically transforming themselves (back?) into a sea-faring nation …an excellent book which sparks ideas about a lot more than ‘just’ the maritime transformation of China.”

Anonymous reviewer, 10 February 2010.

“The third book in the Studies in Chinese Maritime Development series, this volume includes maps and essays on the nation’s seagoing endeavors from ancient times to the present.”

–Katherine Duke, “Short Takes,” Amherst Magazine, Winter 2010.

“Placing China’s efforts to expand its maritime power in historical context, the authors contend that the country may finally be on the verge of transforming itself from a strictly continental to a maritime power.”

Survival 52.1 (February-March 2010): 229.

“compares historical examples dating from the Persian Empire’s maritime transformation in 550-490 BC to China’s ongoing metamorphosis, expertly addressing the factors influencing China’s turn to the sea. … This volume includes excellent work… highlighting a number of ways in which China appears to be deviating from the path historical precedence would seem to dictate. …evidence that China’s path may not replicate historical examples is offered by Erickson and Goldstein, who provide an excellent overview of how Beijing has studied the rise of great powers in hopes of emulating successes and avoiding pitfalls. Carnes Lord reviews the factors that led to failed maritime transformations and finds no compelling reason that China’s turn to the sea will fail. Instead, he finds a country that has accurately identified its geostrategic vulnerability to seaward attack and has adjusted its maritime policies to these changing security requirements. Lord’s only question is the pace and degree of China’s maritime transformation.”

–Scott W. Bray (the U.S. Navy’s Senior Intelligence Officer for China), Turning to the Sea… This Time to Stay,” Book Review Essay, Asia Policy 9 (January 2010): 167-72.

“should be required reading for anyone interested in either China or, more broadly, maritime strategy. … Whether China is able to achieve what few nations in the past have done and transform itself from a continentalist past to a maritime future is an issue that will continue to be addressed for years to come. … This book is an extremely valuable contribution to that debate.”

–Capt. Gordon Andrew, RAN, Australian Defence Force Journal (Issue No. 180, 2009): 85-86.

“Comprising a collection of essays from 17 clear headed and far sighted scholars it succinctly analyses present day China and its position in the maritime world, indeed in the whole world. This is one of those rare books that delivers vastly more than it promises. A fine piece of literary jewellery full of smaller gems.”

Baird Maritime, 10 August 2009.

“…an impressive study with a sophisticated and comparative approach, a worthy addition to any library. It is an informative read that will please history-buffs and political-wonks alike.”

–Xinhui, China Defense Blog, 4 August 2009.


Andrew Erickson, Lyle Goldstein, and Carnes Lord, When Land Powers Look Seaward,”U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 137.4 (April 2011): 18-23.

How does a traditional land power like China make the transformation to major maritime player? Andrew Erickson, Lyle Goldstein, and Carnes Lord of the Naval War College suggest that China can draw lessons from the past. They point out that the Persians, Napoleonic France, and Imperial Germany all attempted to become sea powers. What can China learn from their experiences?

A continental-to-maritime transformation has been attempted frequently through the ages, but only rarely with success. The past offers lessons to a navally expanding China.

As European naval powers decline rapidly and the U.S. Navy diminishes quantitatively, China is going to sea. This ends a great historical trend that began six centuries ago, in which China withdrew inward and European naval expansion spread Western influence worldwide.

Now, for the first time in history, a robust and enduring debate pervades Beijing: Is China a continental power, a maritime power, or both? To what extent will its persisting political and strategic geography and the continentalist strategic culture it helped to form constrain its development as a maritime power? …

Proceedings 4 月号 中国特集からの論文紹介

米海軍協会(Naval Institute)の機関誌プロシーディングス(Proceedings)の2011 年4 月号は、中国に焦点を置いた論文を掲載している。その中で特にユニークで興味深い次の論文2題を紹介する。

アンドリュー・エリクソン(Andrew Erickson)
ライル・ゴールドスタイン(Lyle Goldstein)
カーンズ・ロード(Carnes Lord)


要 旨


抄 訳


欧州の海軍力が急速に衰退すると共に米海軍が量的に減り、そして中国が海に進出しつつある。このことは、6 世紀前に始まった非常に大きな歴史的傾向、つまり中国が内方に退き、欧州の海軍拡張が西洋化として世界的に広まった歴史的傾向が終わることである。

今、久々に難しい議論が北京に広がっている。中国は大陸国家か? 海洋国家か? 或いはその両方か? そして、地勢に関しては、どの程度まで政治的かつ戦略的に固執し、大陸国家としての文化が、海洋国家としての発展を拘束するだろうか?

1 歴史的な洞察





2 中国の経験

歴史家達は、中国が海洋を軽視してきたことを誇張する嫌いがある。南宋朝時代(1127-1279)には、その首都であり長江(Yangtze River)の海港である杭州(Hangzhou)があった。モンゴルが宋を倒し元朝(1271-1368)として継承した時代、大きな造船所が十分な海軍力を支えていた。モンゴルは、成功こそしなかったが中世時代に最大の水陸両用作戦を、日本、ベトナム及びジャワに対して行った。1300 年代、中国は、最先端の技術革新を造船と海軍装備に齎し、磁気羅針儀を発明した。

明朝時代には一貫して強力な海軍が存在した。明は中国南部の敵に対して海軍力を行使して広い範囲で戦勝し、初めてその地位を確立した。1363年のハ陽湖(Lake Poyang)の戦いは、数少ない中国の海戦の歴史の中で最も大きく決定的な戦いであり、両者とも数百隻の戦舟が含まれていた。

明時代における海洋活動は、宦官提督鄭和(Eunuch Admiral Zheng He)(1405-33) の7 度の航海でピークを迎える。永楽帝に支持された鄭和は、数百隻の船と数千人の人員、そしてあるものは440ft 以上の船長、2 万トンの排水量を持つ史上最大の木造船からなる遠征部隊を率いた。これらの航海は、交易を促進し、属国と宗主国の関係を再開させ、ハード及びソフト・パワーを顕示し、そして明の旗をマラッカ海峡、インド洋を越えペルシャ湾及びアフリカ東岸にまで翻させた。しかしながら鄭和の経費のかかる航海は、明に具体的な利益を齎したものの、危険と無駄が多いとする朝廷の官僚主義の反対により、永楽帝の死後彼の航海は、1 回だけで終わった。

1500 年代、過酷で不平等に強要される朝廷の勅令が、遠隔地に及ぶ海洋商業を妨げ、中国や海外の商人達を海賊に駆り立ててしまった。明は、総合力としても、また交易力としても依然として大きな海洋力を有していたにもかかわらず、海洋における主導権を失い、倭寇の襲撃が活発(1540 ~1580 年代)であった自国沿岸からこれらの海賊を駆逐し、海洋商業を阻害していた上記勅令を廃止するのに年月を要した。

清時代(1644-1912)の中国の地政学的方向は、北洋水師(Beiyang Navy)の長であった李鴻章(Li Hongzhang)と新疆奪回の遠征軍指揮官左宗棠(Zuo Zongtang)の論争で決した。清は、結局大陸国家を選択し、その後、国家と李将軍の双方ともがその結果に苦しめられた。清は、内部に政治的問題があったことに加えて、アジアに台頭したイギリス、フランス及び日本の海軍力の脅威に突然対決させられてしまった。清は、西欧列強の近代的な海軍による海洋での挑戦に対して無力であることを証明してしまった。最初のアヘン戦争(1839-42)では、中国の河川水路網の中心部に浸透した英国艦隊が、中国の国内通商を停止させると脅迫し、英国は、平和を請う中国政権から強制的に香港を獲得した。清は、最終的に海外から艦船を購入したが、信頼性の高いインフラもなく、また、戦闘に於いて効果的にこれらを運用するプロフェッショナルな海軍でもなく、悲惨な結果を招いた。

1880 年代には、中国の初期の艦隊がフランスに敗北し、中国のインドシナにおける伝統的な影響力を封じてしまった。中国は、この世紀最後の10 年間に、相当な海軍力を取得・整備したにもかかわらず、急激に近代化する近隣の島国にも対応できなくなり、日清戦争(1894-95)では屈辱的な敗北を喫し、台湾を失いそして朝鮮を日本の保護国に導いてしまった。

西欧の海洋列強からと同様に、北方からはロシアによる圧迫があり、清の朝廷は、通商権と領土譲与に関して高まる要求に対し、譲歩を余儀なくされた。1905 年、中国の与り知らぬところだが酷い被害を蒙ることになった日露戦争が、戦略的に重要な位置にあった旅順港(Port Arthur)に繋がる地域である中国の領土及び近隣水域で勃発した。

これら全ての事態の展開は、この王朝の基盤と、実際に皇帝自身の合法性を致命的に弱めてしまった。1911 年における清の没落は、長期にわたり内部に不安定を導いた。清の海洋における敗北は、斯様にしてアヘン戦争に始まり、引き続いて西洋海軍からの技術導入に失敗したことに由来し、このことは、ライバル日本と極めて対照的である。

3 大陸主義だった冷戦時代

冷戦の間、中国海軍の発展は、東アジアにおける海洋での米国の優位性に拘束され、後には、内政の失敗とソ連との関係悪化により拘束された。中国海軍は、主に地上兵力を支援してきたが、1988 年頃までは独自の戦略すらなかった。

中国共産党のエリート達を概観すると、陸上戦闘の経験によって鍛えられたものであり、海軍戦闘が如何なるものか、或いは、高度な技術が近代的な海軍戦闘(或いは航空戦闘)を決定的なものとするということを知っている党の主要な指揮官が殆どいなかった。毛沢東(Mao Zedong)の作った1949-50 年の台湾侵略計画でさえ、それが中国当時の或いは先々に予見しうる能力を遥かに超えたものであったことが、即座に露見した。

中国の朝鮮戦争への介入は、資源配分と指導者の注意を地上戦闘へと向きを変えた。中国が戦勝した(但し、準備不足、かつ、比類なく不利な地勢のインド陸軍に対して)1962 年のインドとの国境戦争は、毛沢東思想の中国が大陸に焦点を向けた他の理由となった。

何を以ってして北京政府が事実上ゼロから近代的な海軍を構築し得たかと言えば、それが唯一可能だったのは、1960 年に終了したソ連からの技術支援供与であった。

中国にとって安全保障上最大の脅威が、実際にソ連自身によって齎されたことが、1960 年代の過程の中で明らかになった。1969 年、核武装した2 国の共産主義国がシベリアにて連続的に国境での小競り合いを続け、より大きな紛争(この時、ソ連は、中国の核装備部隊と施設への先制攻撃を熟考していたらしい)を引き起こす可能性があった。冷戦が終わるまで、両国は、共通する国境線に沿って、相当な通常兵器部隊を維持した。中国経済の深刻な発達不全の下で、中国の軍事的資源は厳しく拘束され、そして、地上軍に最上位の優先度が与えられた。


4 海洋国家への方向転換

鄧小平(Deng Xiaoping)時代とその後を見るに、中国は最終的に永続的な海洋発展を遂げるという歴史的な困難を克服できるか?と言う疑問が残る。中国の海洋での通商の軌跡が、当にこの真相を示唆しているかもしれない。海洋発展が極めて活動的な商業海運と造船部門により導かれてきたことは、海軍発展に対して次々に大きな相乗効果を生み、それゆえ海に進出した他の大陸国家には往々にして欠けていた海洋国家への転換に対する健全な基盤を齎している。


中国は、数世紀振りに、有利な条件下でこの30 年間の結果として運用可能な近代海軍を本気で開発している。冷戦の終焉とソ連の崩壊と共に、中国は、最早、内方のアジア国境線において存在した脅威に直面することはなくなった。その代わりに、最も重要な安全保障上の関心事は、明らかに海洋領域への転換の過程にある。第一に、海洋における地域国家との領域紛争が先鋭化する恐れがあり、それは1974 年、南シナ海の西沙諸島(Paracel Islands)を巡り中共(PRC)とベトナムとの衝突に始まった。第二に、民主主義に向いた台湾における国内政治の進展が、長年にわたり「一つの中国」政策を掲げて、事実上のそして法律上の台湾の独立に対抗してきた中国を追い込む恐れがあることである。同時に、台湾の擁護者として明らかに進んで行動する米国があり、特に、1995-96 年の台湾海峡危機において、中国は、東アジア海域における紛争に際し米国海軍が参戦するという決定的な可能性に直面させられた。

中国海軍は、強力な接近拒否能力(Anti-Access Capabilities)持つ地域海軍力になりつつある。しかしながら、風説の域を超えないが、近接した周辺海域を大幅に超えてハイエンドの戦闘能力を発揮するに必要な資源と人材への投資はしてこなかった。

5 地理学的教訓


第一に、地理条件が重要である。例え技術的進歩の最中でもだ。大陸国家は、一般に、その地理的条件から不利益を蒙ってきた。そして、その動かしようのない地理的不利から脱却すべく、野心的で戦略的なプロジェクトに度々挑戦してきた(中国が構築した万里の長城、京杭大運河及び三峡ダム、そして現在建設中のビルマ縦断石油パイプラインである)。中国は、合理的に観て多くの点で海洋を利用する権利を有しているが、中国と海で接する近隣諸国の全てと未解決の利権問題を抱えている。中国は、依然としてその多くの戦略的思想家の観点からすると“ 島々の鎖” で縁取りされたところに留まっている。





第五は、リーダーシップであり、これは恐らく、海洋国家への転換を活性化する或いは欲求不満に陥らせる最も重要な要素であろう。鄭和を活性化し、清の改革者達を欲求不満に陥らせたものである。劉華清上将(Admiral Liu Huaqing)は、鄧小平の支持を得て、限られてはいたが人民解放軍海軍の地位を段階的に向上させた。中国の指導者達は、通商の保護と海上交通路の重要性に関わるアルフレッド・セイヤー・マハンの考えを明らかに高く評価しているようだ。今日、中国における意見の全体的傾向としては、長い歴史の中で何時の時代よりも、海洋国家への転換に対して好意的である。しかしながら、反対に作用する要素も残っている。

6 海洋国家への転換を果たすか

最終的に成功する海洋国家への転換は、海軍戦略と運用上の術力によって具現化される。大陸国家は、大抵海洋国家に適合することはできず、異なる取り組み方をする。オスマン帝国は、地中海の島々を獲得するために水陸両用の沿岸戦作戦を用いた。中国に当て嵌めれば、これは、台湾、澎湖諸島(Penghus)、金門島(Jinmen)及び馬祖列島(Mazu)を除き国家主義者を全ての島々から追放した中国の国内での軍事作戦(1949-55)に相当する。中国の短/ 中距離弾道ミサイル開発(例えばDF-21D 対艦弾道ミサイル)は、「海を制するに陸を用いる」というこの取り組みの最新版であることを幾分示している。中国には継続した制約があり海軍の発展を独特な中国的特徴にしてきたが、これは最早致命的なものにはならない。中国の海軍戦闘は、米国のものと極めて異なって見えるかもしれないが、中国独自の状況に適用する場合には、成功するかもしれない。


・ 海洋発展を自然現象として支持し法的拘束をしない指導者

中国は、正に方向転換をしたところであり、本物の海洋国家へと転換の途次にある。もしこれが、本当にそのケースだとすれば、画期的なことである。もし、これが唯一無二でないとしても、この2 千年の歴史の中で、重要な出来事に違いない。中国は歴史から教訓を学んできただろが、また、その過ちを繰り返すように運命付けられてきたわけでもない。

(文責・挿入写真等 編集部)