American’s today have been lulled into a false sense of security from the history and ingenuity of the seemingly invincible United States Navy.
This ingenuity ironically started with the American Confederates who revolutionized naval warfare with the invention of the “ironclad” vessel. Even the proudest of the Union’s grand, wood-hulled warships fell to the mighty ironclad known as the “Merrimac.”
The Union, seeing the effectiveness of this new naval monstrosity, soon countered with their own ironclad vessel dubbed the “Monitor.” The rest of the world and their antiquated navies looked on in horror as the Monitor and Merrimac locked themselves in a demigod-like battle on March 9, 1862, during the Battle of Hampton Roads.
While neither the Confederacy nor the Union could claim victory that fateful day, America claimed victory over the high seas.
President Theodore Roosevelt reinforced this notion in 1909 with his creation of the “Great White Fleet.” This white and gold painted fleet sailed around the world in what was described by many as the “grand pageant” of American sea power, with it’s sixteen modernized battleships.
The fourteen-month long voyage spanned more than 40,000 miles and made twenty port stops on six continents — all with the goal of telling the world that America, not Britain, was the new naval power in the world.
The United States continued to bolster that claim when they defeated a more advanced, and well-equipped, Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway in 1942 in response to an Imperial Japanese challenge to U.S. naval superiority at Pearl Harbor the year before.
By the pinnacle of WWII, the U.S. increased it’s naval force to over 6,000 combat worthy vessels from only 700 some vessels in WWI, according to the U.S. Navy.
Nearly a hundred years later, however, the American Navy has grown frail in it’s own shadow of greatness. As of December 2016, the American Navy sits at less than 300 commissioned vessels, according to the U.S. Military.
China has since been openly challenging that number — both numerically and technologically. What is more concerning is a planned joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean that includes China, Russia and Iran this fall, according to Bloomberg.
While, per Bloomberg, the three nations began staging joint naval drills in 2019, it is alarming that another such drill is being planned while a weaker, Jimmy Carter-like Democratic president sits in the Oval Office.
In a joint drill conducted in 2021, Iran said “it hope[d] to exchange information and technical and tactical experience while becoming better-equipped to ‘fight sea theft and terrorism,'” according to Aljazeera.
Those drills were conducted as a “show of force amid tensions with the United States.” Iran and Russia participated, but China’s participation cannot be confirmed.
Many Americans have a knee-jerk reaction to the threat of continued joint drills, often referencing the historically consistent track record of victory on the waters. Taken individually, those Americans might be right.
However, with the costly and less than productive results of the proxy war in Ukraine, these classic antagonists have only been emboldened.
It would be hard to imagine the United States’ ability to counter a united Chinese, Russian and Iranian naval front, even with NATO’s help.
Even if all-out war does not break out, Iran geographically threatens to control the maritime choke point known as the Strait of Hormuz. This strait controls the flow of much of the world’s — including the United States’ — imported oil, Bloomberg reported.
If American’s are concerned about the price at the pump now, they will be brought to an even harsher reality should China, Russia and Iran all adapt a united sanction policy.
Given this revitalized group of antagonists, it might be wise to develop allies in these contested regions rather than to force them into each other’s arms economically.
One can only hope this president takes some time away from declaring MAGA supporters a danger to American society and spend more time figuring out how to minimize the real threat this foreign triumvirate could do.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.