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Opinion
James Stavridis

China’s Military Is Setting Sail for the Atlantic and Beyond

Alfred Thayer Mahan’s strategy, which made the U.S. a maritime power over a century ago, may now be turned against it.

U.S. Navy’s victory lap after the Spanish-American War.

U.S. Navy’s victory lap after the Spanish-American War.

Source: MPI via Getty Images

In Equatorial Guinea, a tiny, oil-rich country on the Atlantic coast of Africa, a global clash of strategy between the U.S. and China may play out in the next few years. The Pentagon is alarmed at reports that China may build a multipurpose naval base there, providing Beijing with military access to the mid-Atlantic. This follows Chinese construction of a military installation inside a commercial port on the Red Sea in Djibouti, and reports of a similar facility being built in the United Arab Emirates (the Emiratis said the project had been scrapped).

Is China about to militarize its geo-economic Belt and Road Initiative, which until now has been focused on economic development and business opportunities?