- By David BoscoDavid Bosco, a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
I attended a talk given today by Admiral Gary Roughead, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. He sketched out some of the challenges the Navy faces, including a tough budget environment and an increased pace of operations in the western Pacific. In discussing joint operations with foreign navies, he acknowledged that budget cuts have forced some countries to downsize their naval forces considerably. But he mentioned in particular recent productive exchanges with counterparts in India, Brazil, and South Africa.
In discussing the bubbling tension in the South China Sea, Roughead had some interesting thoughts on the bilateral and multilateral dimensions of the issue:
I think that the competition will continue. China in particular will want to keep it bilateral and not crack it open into the multilateral. Our real presence is critical to how it will play out. A virtual presence won’t get it. It has to be real and predictable. It doesn’t mean we’re going to go toe-to-toe with anybody but being able to be a stabilizing force is important. Working with the other countries [in the region] is important.
In that context, he made a plea that the United States join the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is still stuck in the U.S. Senate despite strong Pentagon support (and despite the fact that the Bush administration supported it). He pointed out that some of the thorniest issues in the region may arise in the context of the convention, and that allies in the region want the U.S. in the system. "We are on the outside. Many countries want our leadership in the room, and we’re not there."
As if to bolster his point, the foreign minister of the Philippines today told an audience in Washington that "maritime security is our problem, but it is also your problem." The Philippines has supported resolving South China Sea issues multilaterally on the basis of the Law of the Sea convention.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |
Dan Lamothe is an award-winning military journalist and war correspondent. He has written for Marine Corps Times and the Military Times newspaper chain since 2008, traveling the world and writing extensively about the Afghanistan war both from Washington and the war zone. He also has reported from Norway, Spain, Germany, the Republic of Georgia and while underway with the U.S. Navy. Among his scoops, Lamothe reported exclusively in 2010 that the Marine Corps had recommended that Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer receive the Medal of Honor. This year, he was part of a team of journalists that exposed senior Marine Corps leaders' questionable involvement in legal cases, and then covering it up. A Pentagon investigation is underway in those cases.| The Complex |