NATIONAL INTEREST — Earlier this month, I had the privilege of being on a panel as part of the Naval War College’s Regional Alumni Symposium, discussing the strategic importance of the Black Sea region, along with Michael Kofman of the Center for Naval Analysis and Chris Marsh of the School of Advanced Military Studies. After all, as Marsh noted, the Black Sea is assuming much greater importance as part of China’s ambitious “one road, one belt” system, designed to link the Asia-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic worlds—a point made graphically clear by Parag Khanna’s “connectography” maps, while Kofman called attention to Russia’s new power-projection capabilities emanating from Crimea. Yet for all our eloquence in calling for the Black Sea to assume greater importance in American strategic thinking, equally compelling cases were being made for why additional U.S. attention and resources need to be deployed in the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean. And without the ability to instantaneously transport equipment and personnel from one area to another, the United States must either massively increase its defense and security expenditures to increase its presence in all theaters, trust that allies will finally meet the challenge and increase their own spending to fill in the gaps, or accept risks in certain areas.
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