Wednesday, 28 October 2020
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The historical criteria of maritime power were described by the father of modern maritime strategy, US Admiral Thayer Mahan, in his well known publications "The influence of sea- power upon history " between 1885 and 1914.

Admiral Mahan describes four elements of sea power:

1. Maritime trade at sea

2. Sea lines of communication

3. A fleet

4. A maritime strategic position/location

Maritime power of today can be described as " acting maritime policy", which is a product of a merchant fleet, military maritime forces, maritime industry and maritime strategic positions.

Maritime strategy uses these elements to gain strategic objective. Consider the maritime strategies of the trading nations and the pirates in the area around Somalia and the Yemen. While the objective of the pirates is to capture ships, the trading nations have the strategic objective of safe and secure sea lines of communication.

The pirates do not trade at sea, but the sea lines of communication off the coasts of Somalia and the Yemen are of utmost interests and relevance for them. The pirates don´t have a combat fleet but use mother ships and skiffs with light weapons. Their most relevant tool is the safe maritime position of the territorial water of Somalia and the Yemen.

The international community on the other hand has the full spectrum of elements at its disposal, maritime military assets, modern fleets, sea lines of communication and strategic positions in the Arabian Sea, in Djibuti, and airfields and capable supply ships for the maritime forces.

The maritime strategy of the international community is superior to the strategy of the pirates. To beat piracy it is necessary to eliminate their units and their strategic positions. The European-led Operation ATALANTA is being militarily successful in the former context.

The latter can be achieved by stabilizing the political situation in Somalia and the Yemen by political means. But to date efforts towards the failed state of Somalia and the Yemen are not as effective as necessary to gain a political stable area to ensure secure shipping in the region.

Joerk Reschke, a retired Rear Admiral from the German Navy, is President of EuroDefense-Germany. Since his retirement he has been a freelance author on topics such as "Maritime Strategy" and " European Security and Defence Policy".


By Ambassador Guido Lenzi

In the history of Europe, "golden ages" have been few and far between, but always momentous in their ripple effects: the peak of the Roman empire, the Renaissance comes to mind, to which the integration process of the last fifty years can confidently be added. Most of the time, human cohabitation in our very crowded "tiny peninsula of Asia" was a fragile thing. On a world-wide scale, present transitional times should in any case be viewed as a unique opportunity to impress the European experiment on the system of international relations.

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Written by Simon Roberts

In December 2008, the President of the Council of the European Union released a report detailing the current European Security and Defence Policy. Here is the second part summarising the contents of the report.

Conflict Prevention

Efforts were pursued to improve the culture and strategy of conflict prevention. In this connection, the French Presidency of the EU, in close cooperation with the Secretariat of the Council, the EU Commission and the EPLO (European Peace-building Liaison Office), supported a seminar organised by the Madariga – College of Europe Foundation and the Folke Bernadotte

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Written by Simon Roberts

In December 2008, the President of the Council of the European Union released a report detailing the current European Security and Defence Policy. Here is the first of two parts summarising the contents of the report.

Operational activities


Somalia – EUNAVCO, established to combat piracy and protect maritime trade. Since October 2008, the action of EUNAVCO has facilitated the establishment of escort slots, to the benefit of many merchant and fishing vessels. Operation ATALANTA

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By David Hoghton-Carter, Research Associate, UK Defence Forum

Last month, the EU celebrated the tenth anniversary of the St Malo Declaration – surprisingly quietly. Over on this side of the Channel, we saw a Ministerial meeting publicised by an understated MoD Press Release, as John Hutton entertained Herve Morin at Northwood; no fanfare, no parades, no interviews from enthusiastic politicos and Generals, at best the odd sidebar in national news coverage.

However, to deploy a little hyperbole, the St Malo Declaration may be thought of as the most pivotal moment in the history of European security since the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine. It was the Zero Hour moment when the two key European

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by Katia Zatuliveter Resaerch Associate, U K Defence Forum

The decision to return to NATO's Integrated Military Structures (IMS) is one of the major recent changes in France's defence policy. It was announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy in August 2007. One of 12 founding members of NATO France left the IMS in 1966. The then French President Charles de Gaulle protested against the American domination in the organisation and what he perceived as a special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. Charles de Gaulle wanted to create a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK. His idea was not met with enthusiasm within the Alliance and de Gaulle made a dramatic decision.

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