Remarks delivered at “Limes” Maritime Festival, Trieste, September 18, 2021.
The organizers have asked me to appraise the U.S. strategic perspective on the Mediterranean Sea. Simple: the Mediterranean remains critical to U.S. strategy, as it has been since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson two centuries ago. In fact, the U.S. Navy’s very first foreign station was in the middle sea during the age of the Barbary States.
But the nature of its importance has changed in recent decades. Setting and enforcing priorities is what strategy is all about. Three U.S. presidential administrations representing both major political parties have now affirmed that the Indo-Pacific is the “priority theater” for U.S. military and maritime strategy. That means the Indo-Pacific has the first claim on U.S. military and naval resources. As a corollary, the Mediterranean and Atlantic have been demoted to secondary status on America’s list of strategic priorities.