Major Maritime Powers and Their Changing Relationship

The United States, Europe, China, India, and others

Authored by: Brahma Chellaney

Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138840935
eBook ISBN: 9781315732572
Adobe ISBN: 9781317555391


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Maritime challenges have been fundamentally transformed by new technological and geopolitical realities and the rise of unconventional threats. It is important to view these challenges in the broader context of global power dynamics, including the ongoing power shifts, which are altering basic power equations and maritime realities. When political power becomes widely dispersed, it creates the conditions for healthy inter-country competition, broadly shared prosperity, and inclusive international institutions. 1 It also changes the international order on which the leading states so far have agreed upon. The current international order is clearly in transition. The ongoing power shifts make fundamental reforms in the existing global institutional structure inevitable. On the positive side, the spread of prosperity in the world will create more stakeholders in international peace and stability. At the same time, it will make wide-ranging institutional reforms unavoidable in order to effectively manage the new maritime challenges, some of which are unique in nature. Even as a systemic shift in the global distribution of power is under way, the international institutional structure has remained static since the mid-twentieth century. It has to be adjusted to the changed economic and societal environment.

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