It will take the right kind of 355-ship Navy to blunt Beijing's goals in the South China Sea and beyond.
Just over a century ago, in the run-up to World War I, Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race. Inspired by the strategic thinking of the American Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, German Kaiser Wilhelm decided to build a huge battle fleet that could credibly challenge the dominant British on the high seas. He wanted both increased ship numbers, as well as the new “dreadnought” fast battleships. Both fleet size and technology drove the naval race. There are echoes of that competition today between the U.S. — the established global naval power — and China.