Oceans governance and its
impact on maritime strategy
Ever since the ancient Greeks began documenting political thought around 800 BC, the normal intercourse between men, nations and civilisations has been one concerned primarily with the exercise of power. As Hans Morgenthau noted in 1957,
the struggle for power on all levels of human interaction … is part and parcel of human nature; that the aspirations for power are innate in human nature … and that the wise approach to political problems lies in taking the perennial character of those aspirations for granted—in trying to live with them, to redirect them into socially valuable and beneficial channels, to transform them, to civilise them.
History would suggest that it is hard to argue with his proposition that
international politics is of necessity a struggle for power; that the balance of power, for instance, is not the invention of some misguided diplomats but is the inevitable result of a multiplicity of nations living with each other, competing with each other for power, and trying to maintain autonomy. 1
In this respect the history of mankind over a period stretching to nearly 3000 years is resplendent with examples of nations trying to legitimise their claims, primarily for commercial purposes, to the use of the oceans and its resources. History also illustrates their willingness to support such claims if necessary by the use or threat of use of force. Thus navies came into existence and the history of seapower and of the development of maritime strategic