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Super Highway. Sea Power in the 21st Century

“Whosoever commands the sea, commands the trade;
whosoever commands the trade commands the riches of the world,
and consequently the world itself.”

Sir Walter Raleigh.​

Chris Parry is a former RN officer, retiring in 2008 after holding the position of Director General, Developments, Concepts and Doctrine in the MOD. He has used his knowledge of Maritime affairs to write this book in a very informative way, making it very easy to see how much our global security is linked to the sea and how words of wisdom from long ago are still very much relevant today.

The book starts with a brief history of seapower, covering the British Empire and the introduction of International Maritime Law. Spain and Portugal had been granted exclusive rights of travel and trade by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. This Treaty was only of any use if enough force was available to back up the treaty and that was lacking. Global trading was definitely linked to seapower.

The Royal Navy gave Britain a huge advantage in global trading, any disputes could be solved by the simple appearance of a warship, this proved an advantage also in wringing concessions from the China.

The book covers how sea power affects us all. With most goods now travelling by sea maritime security is of utmost importance. Huge costs are put on nations to provide this security but there are still very vulnerable choke points where ships have to transit or face very long and time consuming alternative routes. If one nation decides that it wants to play hard it can affect everyone. Examples being the Straights of Hormuz and the Malacca Straights.

How different nations are defending or expanding their maritime interests is explained with new technology being utilised to support their interests

Super Highway even explains how services which you might not instantly associate with the sea being relient on the sea. The internet relies on, amongst other things, underwater cables which are vulnerable to damage or sabotage, if the internet goes down how much trouble can that cause to how many different services?

This book should be read by those in a position to influence policy as it does a very good job of highlighting the dependency we as an island nation have on the sea. What affected us many years ago affects us now. Our dependency on the sea has not reduced due to modern inventions: it has increased.

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