Commerce of the Seas – Book Review: ‘Sea Power’

Go Lean Commentary 

70% of the earth is covered by water
70% of the human body is made up by water

CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 3It seems that water is pretty important in managing the affairs of people and their community.

The quest of the movement behind the book Go Lean… Caribbean is to confederate, collaborate and convene the 30 member-states of the Caribbean region into a Single Market; this would include the territorial homelands and aligning seas. How, where, when ‘Sea Power’ is managed becomes a major consideration in this quest. A lesson we have learned from Economic History is that a people who wield ‘Sea Power’ can control the economic prospects of its people.

We learn this lesson even more succinctly now, thanks to the new book by Admiral James Stavridis entitled: Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans. See a summary-review of the book here and listen to an AUDIO-Podcast interview with the Author:

 Sea Power - Photo 1

Book Review for Book: Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans By: Admiral James Stavridis

From one of the most admired admirals of his generation – and the only admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO – comes a remarkable voyage through all of the world’s most important bodies of water, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path. 

From the time of the Greeks and the Persians clashing in the Mediterranean, sea power has determined world power.  To an extent that is often underappreciated, it still does. No one understands this better than Admiral Jim Stavridis. In Sea Power, Admiral Stavridis takes us with him on a tour of the world’s oceans from the admiral’s chair, showing us how the geography of the oceans has shaped the destiny of nations, and how naval power has in a real sense made the world we live in today, and will shape the world we live in tomorrow.

Not least, Sea Power is marvelous naval history, giving us fresh insight into great naval engagements from the battles of Salamis and Lepanto through to Trafalgar, the Battle of the Atlantic, and submarine conflicts of the Cold War. It is also a keen-eyed reckoning with the likely sites of our next major naval conflicts, particularly the Arctic Ocean, Eastern Mediterranean, and the South China Sea. Finally, Sea Power steps back to take a holistic view of the plagues to our oceans that are best seen that way, from piracy to pollution.

When most of us look at a globe, we focus on the shape of the of the seven continents. Admiral Stavridis sees the shapes of the seven seas.  After reading Sea Power, you will too. Not since Alfred Thayer Mahan’s legendary The Influence of Sea Power upon History have we had such a powerful reckoning with this vital subject.

Sea Power makes a great Father’s Day gift!

Source: Amazon Online Bookstore-Portal; retrieved June 9, 2017 from:


Appendix AUDIO-Podcast – Stavridis’ Book ‘Sea Power’ Explains Why Oceans Matter In Global Politics –

Published June 6, 2017 – NPR’s Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep talks to retired Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander for NATO, about his new book: Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans.

Listen to an extended NPR Podcast here:

The theme of this new book aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean in explaining the significance of ‘Sea Power’ in any plan to elevate the Caribbean region’s societal engines. This commentary is 2 of 4 in a series considering the Lessons in Economic History related to “Commerce of the Seas”, the good, bad and ugly (think Crony-Capitalism) strategies and practices around the maritime eco-system in the United States … and other countries. The full series is as follows:

  1. Commerce of the Seas – Stupidity of the Jones Act
  2. Commerce of the Seas – Book Review: ‘Sea Power’
  3. Commerce of the Seas – Shipbuilding Model of Ingalls
  4. Commerce of the Seas – Lessons from Alang (India)

The previous commentary in this series relates how “Commerce” refers to the economic interest of the 30 member-states in the Caribbean region. Admiral Stavridis book has a heavy focus on naval military power; he posits that a strong Navy paves the way for and protects the continuation of maritime commerce. From the book Sea Power and the Go Lean book we see this consistent Lesson in Economic History:

Around the world, countries that have access to control of the “Sea” have a distinct advantage economically versus countries that are land-locked; i.e. England versus Austria.

CU Blog - America's Navy - 100 Percent - Model for Caribbean - Photo 4As stated previously, the United States have wielded its ‘Sea Power’ to promote profit for its maritime industrial stakeholders at the expense of the residents of off-shore territories, like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

There is therefore a need to reboot, reform and transform the Caribbean region’s stewardship of the Seas. This is the purpose of the book Go Lean … Caribbean, to help empower and elevate the societal engines of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean region and their waterscapes. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This would be the inter-governmental entity for a regional Single Market that covers the land territories of the 30 member-states, and their aligning seas; (including the 1,063,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea in an Exclusive Economic Zone). The Go Lean/CU roadmap features this prime directive, as defined by these 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect public safety and ensure the economic engines of the region, including the seas.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines in local governments and in the Exclusive Economic Zone, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

This Go Lean roadmap envisioned a wide-ranging, fully-encompassing treaty for all Caribbean member-states to deputize a technocratic agency to better administer the affairs (economic, security and governance) of the waterscapes in the region. It was recognized that this quest was “out-of-scope” and too big for any one Caribbean member-state alone, but rather, acknowledging their regional interdependence, these stakeholders would be able to engage a new inter-governmental administration for better regional stewardship. This, regionalism, was the original intent of the Go Lean book, which commenced with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing the need for regional coordination and integration so as to reform and transform Caribbean society. See a sample of relevant stanzas here (Page 11 – 12) as related to the Caribbean ‘Sea Power’:

v. Whereas the natural formation of our landmass and coastlines entail a large portion of waterscapes, the reality of management of our interior calls for extended oversight of the waterways between the islands. The internationally accepted 12-mile limits for national borders must be extended by International Tribunals to encompass the areas in between islands. The individual states must maintain their 12-mile borders while the sovereignty of this expanded area, the Exclusive Economic Zone, must be vested in the accedence of this Federation.

vi. Whereas the finite nature of the landmass of our lands limits the populations and markets of commerce, by extending the bonds of brotherhood to our geographic neighbors allows for extended opportunities and better execution of the kinetics of our economies through trade. This regional focus must foster and promote diverse economic stimuli.

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety. …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The foregoing book, Sea Power, aligns with the Go Lean book references to strategies, tactics and implementations for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn directions on “how” this EEZ can impact and benefit Caribbean society. Consider the Chapter excerpts and headlines from this sample on Page 104:

The Bottom Line on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
The UNCLOS is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea which took place between 1973 and 1982. This Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. As of October 2012, 164 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. The convention introduced a number of provisions. The most significant issues covered were setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes. EEZs extend from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles (230 miles) from the 12-mile baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources, including the continental shelf. EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important. The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4000 meters deep. Foreign nations still have freedoms of navigation and over-flights for the EEZ, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.

CU independent UNCLOS member-states include: Antigua, Jamaica, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Barbados, Saint Vincent, Saint Kitts, Trinidad, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Cuba, Bahamas & Belize.

 10 Start-up Benefits from the EEZ


Lean-in for Caribbean Integration
The CU treaty unifies the Caribbean region into one single market of 42 million people across 30 member-states, thereby empowering the economic engines in and on behalf of the region. Integral to CU roadmap, is the territory between the island states. The CU will petition the United Nations for rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for acquisition of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This will facilitate both economic empowerment (including Fisheries management) and security assurances for the region. (This effort was started by the Association of Caribbean States).


Funding by Selling Exploration Rights


Off-shore Wind Turbines




Extractions – Economic & Security


Security – Anti-Piracy
The CU has the mission to defend the homeland against enemies: foreign, domestic, and in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Caribbean Seas. There is still a threat of piracy in modern times, and these “bad actors” hide behind jurisdictional confusions of one territorial waters after another. But the CU, with its regional oversight, can be more effective in bringing these ones to justice. Piracy is a form of terrorism, and cruise ships (smaller vessels catering to a High Net Worth – One Percent – market) and leisure crafts can be vulnerable to these threats.


Security – Interdictions
There is the need to be on alert for seaborne drug smuggling activities, as these can have corrupting influences on the local community. This would be the direct responsibilities of the CU Naval Operations for the jurisdiction of the EEZ. Today the US Coast Guard conducts patrols in the Caribbean Seas with impunity. There is no plan in the CU roadmap to curtail any of this activity; instead the CU will better coordinate their routes and maneuvers with CU Naval Operations.


Security – Search & Rescue


Security Monitoring
The CU will embrace many cutting-edge technological options to “keep eyes” on the Caribbean Seas. This includes satellite (visual & GPS), drones (unmanned airborne vehicles & dirigibles or blimps. Boaters will be incentivized tocooperate and install location beacons.


Security – Defense Pact (Naval Maneuvers)
The US, France, Netherlands, UK and some European trading partners have declared a “War Against Terrorism”; those battles will surely come to Caribbean shores. The CU therefore invites the Navies of allied nations to train, visit and conduct operations in our Caribbean waters, especially in the EEZ.

The issue of managing marine resources for commerce and security in the Caribbean has been a frequent subject for previous blog-commentaries; consider this list of sample entries: Forging Change in the Cruise Industry with Collective Bargaining Funding the Caribbean Security Pact Lessons from China – South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones Cruise Ship Commerce – Getting Ready for Change Better Fisheries Management for Queen Conch America’s Navy – 100 Percent – Model for Caribbean Ghost ships – Autonomous cargo vessels without a crew 10 Things We Want from the US – # 4: Pax Americana

All Caribbean members are islands or coastal territories. The subject of ‘Sea Power’ and security of the waterscapes matters to us. Rather than 70 percent, we have to be concerned with 100 percent of the issues, challenges and opportunities.

There is a need to reform our maritime eco-system, for commerce and security. ‘Sea Power’ determines world power, so there is also a need to have a “seat at the table” among the big nations and sea-faring empires. As one small island alone, there is no chance for that consideration; but as a Single Market entity of 42 million people and 30 separate countries (and territories), the Caribbean can now have a Voice … and a Vote (in international forums) so as to shape the destiny of our homeland … and maybe even the whole world of commerce & security.

We hereby urge all Caribbean stakeholders – governments and citizens – to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap to better wield our ‘Sea Power’, so that our region can be a better homeland (and waterscapes) to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 

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