Control of the seas
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Mastery of the seas is a secular concern of the great powers because "he who controls the sea controls the world". Until the mid 20th century, the English had controlled the main crossing points of the globe. Since 1945-50, it was the U.S. which controlled the main strategic points of the planet. There are actually three major maritime areas that are vital: the American, the Mediterranean, Asian and Mediterranean Europe.
Mastery of the seas is now on the verge of a revolution. Today, a new sea route is being opened, called the Great North Road because it passes through the North Pole. With global warming, the sea ice is melting and in a few years, commercial vessels will sail along the coasts of Russia every year in two lanes. The journey between London and Tokyo will be divided by one third. It is a metamorphosis of strategic relationships. The future masters will be Russia and the U.S. (Canada).
Until December 31, 1999 the Panama Canal was owned by the Government of the United States. The United States was the owner of the channel but also an adjacent area of 36 km. Since then, the state of Panama is the new ruler of the entire infrastructure of Panama.
The Panama Canal is a very sophisticated complex with a series oflocks and the duration of crossing up to 10 hours depending on the size of the boat. Panama was discovered in 1513 by Vasco de Balboa and he gave the name to the currency of Panama. Originally, the state of Panama owned by Colombia (Spanish colonization), but the Americans in 1903 organized a secession process.
The Strait of Magellan is located south of Argentina. Long time it wasthe only passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific and the onlyway to Tierra del Fuego. The Strait of Magellan was discovered by a browser in the sixteenth century and was of Portuguese origin. It should not be confused with the Strait of of Drake which is to the south.
This geographical area is truly strategic and beyond the British have a permanent military base in the region as near the Drake Passage, the British concession Falkland Islands (colonized by the French in Saint-Malo). They have airport facilities.
At the time of the Cold War, Soviet submarines often took this passage to get to the Atlantic and then the British could easily follow the course of Soviet maneuvers and especially monitor the commissioning of new equipment and performance.
To understand the significance of this Mediterranean, we must understand that the major crossing point is the Strait of Malacca. The Malacca Strait is a major conduit for trade between Europe and Asia.
60% of Japan's oil imports transit through Malacca and 40% of exports transit through the strait.However, the crossing is suffering from a handicap because the depth of the strait in many places is too low, which prevents the passage of ships over a tonnage of 200,000 t.
Merchant ships can still try the other straits in the region. The major crossing point is the Lombok Strait. Because the depth in the Strait allows the passage of all types of vessels. But the major drawback is that the crossing time is significantly longer (between Asia and Europe), that is to say 5 days.
For Russia the Strait of Malacca is also a vital crossing point.
But the pipelines are too fragile, on the other line of railway from Russia along the Chinese border, which is considered too dangerous routes. That is why the Russians chose to channel their raw materials as cargo.
Tags: Mastery of the Seas, major maritime areas, importance of marine routes for trade