ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

adfjournal.adc.edu.au

ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

aimed to curtail any increase in European control of the western hemisphere. Nehru was morehonest, and certainly more pragmatic, than Monroe, whose original statement included thewords ‘with the existing colonies and dependencies of any European power, we have notinterfered and shall not interfere’. 2This was a staggeringly brazen falsehood, given that Monroe was speaking less than a decadeafter the end of the war of 1812, in which the US had certainly ‘interfered’ with Canada,invading it and being prevented from annexing it only by a lack of military ability rather thanof political desire. 3 In contrast, Nehru’s approach explicitly acknowledged India’s limitationsat the time, although it was also ambitious and set the scene for future developments asIndia’s power grew. The chapter outlines this growth and discusses several alternative futurestrategies, interpreting them in terms of the Monroe doctrine and exploring their implicationsfor the Persian Gulf.The final chapter deals with China’s ‘historic return’ to the Gulf, a phrase which refers toAdmiral Zheng He’s fleet of treasure ships which visited the Gulf in the early 15 th century. Thiswas followed by several centuries of negligible interaction, which have now come to an end.Although the chapter has a predominantly economic focus, it also explores a range of otherfactors. The commercial and economic drivers are probably the most important, though, andthese are explained expertly and in some detail.In broad terms, China is one of the Gulf ’s largest oil buyers but also exports a roughlyequivalent value of consumer goods to the region. Chinese labour is also an increasinglyimportant consideration in the relationship. The possibilities for future military interaction areperhaps best revealed by the recent commissioning of China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning. 4This event clearly points to China’s ambitions for a blue water navy, capable of playing itspart in extending China’s influence beyond its current limits. Overall, the author sees China’sgrowing role in the region as a positive development, rather than a threat to Western interests.This excellent book will be of great interest to anyone deploying to the region or looking fora broad introduction to the history and geopolitics of the Persian Gulf.NOTES1. Relevant statistics can be found in Robert F. Helms II and Robert H. Dorff (eds.), The Persian GulfCrisis: power in the post-Cold War world, Praeger Publishers: Westport, 1993, p. 63, namely thatproduction of 1.7 million barrels per day (MBPD) earned Iran US$482 million in 1964, while increasedproduction of 6 MBPD and a higher oil price earned US$21.4 billion in 1974. This is an increase inrevenue by a factor of 44 in 10 years. The Shah’s spending on arms increased in a similar manner,from around US$1.6 billion between 1950 and 1972 to US$3.9 billion in 1974 alone.2. President James Monroe, ‘Address to Congress’, 2 December 1823: see accessed 17 December 2012.3. See, for example, Jon Latimer, 1812: War with America, Harvard University Press: Cambridge,2010 for a recent, comprehensive text on the war: accessed 17 December 2012.4. See the cover story of Jane’s Defence Weekly, Vol. 49, Issue 40, October 2012, titled ‘Chinacommissions its first carrier’. The article on page 8 stated that ‘Liaoning is the latest manifestationof China’s long-term objective of building a blue-water navy’. It also noted a Chinese Ministry ofNational Defense statement saying that the Liaoning will ‘help the development of co-operation indistant waters’.123

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