Why does America need a navy? The question was asked by one of my (less enlightened) friends who believes that the era of navies has passed.
80% of all commerce travels over the oceans. Protecting commerce and securing lines of travel and communication has traditionally been a key mission of navies.
When you have a weak naval presence, natives in open boats hijack ships on the open ocean (Somalia and the Horn of Africa). Though it mystifies progressives, when you hang/kill pirates, they stop being pirates and would be pirates think long and hard before taking up the black flag.
America’s first war following the Revolution (and the Whiskey Rebellion) was the Barbary Coast War, fought between the USA and the Northwest African Berber Muslim States**, collectively known as the Barbary States. President Thomas Jefferson, who did not believe in having a strong navy was forced to concede the point and authorized the building and fitting out of powerful warships which he ordered to the Mediterranean.
** Yes, America’s first foreign war was fought against Muslims, though I think that’s been struck from the progressive history books because it’s Islamophobic to even discuss that war.
The Second World War (Pacific Theater) began because the USA embargoed oil to Japan. All Japanese oil traveled to the home islands from elsewhere, over the ocean. It still does to this day. The US had a fleet that had the capability of blocking the flow of oil, so Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (and elsewhere such as the Philippines) to insure their supply of oil for their war machine and domestic uses. The fleets (both Japanese and American) were critical to maintaining supplies of critical raw materials.
Nothing has changed despite what President Obama asserts. The problem comes where ships take a very long time to build and shipyards to do the work. Training skilled crews likewise require time and institutional knowledge to come from unready to fully ready. Today, the US is neglecting its navy to the point where it’s becoming critical.
We all take what exists around us for granted. Nowhere is that more evident than in the stores or markets that we frequent.
A major study called “Food, Fuel, and Freeways” recently put out by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa compiled data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find out how far produce traveled to a Chicago “terminal market” – where brokers and wholesalers buy produce to sell to grocery stores and restaurants.
Apples: 1,555 miles
Tomatoes: 1,369 miles
Grapes: 2,143 miles
Beans: 766 miles
Peaches: 1,674 miles
Winter Squash: 781 miles
Greens: 889 miles
Lettuce: 2,055 miles
Because I don’t take much at face value, I started on a trivial research project for this very blog last week. There is a deli that I go to on the order of once weekly for lunch. I order different sandwiches, but I decided to break down where the components for last week’s sandwich meal came from. It required a discussion with the restaurant owner and further research. Here are the results of my trivial lunch:
Bread, made locally
Wheat – Likely grown in Nebraska though I couldn’t source it closer than that.
Eggs – Local – Southern California
Sugar – The bakery buys Brazilian sugar. Since I’ve dabbled in the sugar business I delved more
deeply than I usually do.
Salt – China
The bread also contains unbromated, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, DATEM, dextrose, ascorbic acid, enzyme, wheat sour, wheat gluten. I didn’t source it all, but I doubt that any of it was produced within 100 miles of my home
Roast Beef – cured top round roast – Texas
Provolone Cheese – Imported from Italy
Lettuce – California
Tomatoes – Mexico
Banana Peppers – California
Olive Oil – Greece
Vinegar – California
Olives – California
Black pepper – India
Potato Chips – Idaho (processed in Southern California), evaporated sea salt
Lemonade – Lemons grown in Belize. Artificial sweetener came from France.
To break it down, my lunch came from (alphabetical order)
+ wherever the food additives came from.