Naval College Review Volume 56 Article 19 Number 4 Autumn

2003 Brown-, - and -Water Fleets: The Influence of Geography onNaval Warfare, 1861 to the Present Richard H. Gimblett

Michael Lindberg

Daniel Todd

Follow this and additional works at: https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review

Recommended Citation Gimblett, Richard H.; Lindberg, Michael; and Todd, Daniel (2003) "Brown-, Green- and Blue-Water Fleets: The nflueI nce of Geography onNaval Warfare, 1861 to the Present," Naval War College Review: Vol. 56 : No. 4 , Article 19. Available at: https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol56/iss4/19

This Book Review is brought to you for free and open access by the Journals at U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Naval War College Review by an authorized editor of U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons. For more information, please contact [email protected] 170 NAVAL WAR COLLEGE REVIEW Gimblett et al.: Brown-, Green- and Blue-Water Fleets: The Influence of Geography

tend more toward sharing the burden sophisticated fleets but the most with international organizations and elaborate infrastructures to boot.” In other countries rather than totally developing that idea, the authors pro- relinquishing responsibility. vide a useful compendium of intellec- One theme addressed by the Ameri- tual rigor to support the strategic cans is anti-Americanism in the Arab prescriptions not only of the U.S. world, the cultural divide between the ’s Forward...from the but and the West. Unfortunately, also of of all sizes, worldwide. none of the authors who wrote on the The authors progress from an introduc- is an Arab. One is an tion to the concept of time-distance as Iranian, who observes that today the related to the maritime environment, average Iranian has (or perhaps did in comparing land versus sea warfare, to the summer of 2001) a “far more posi- exploring historical case studies of naval tive” view of the than the warfare on the high , the littorals, average Arab, and the other is an Israeli. and riverine warfare, before concluding They appear to be unusual choices to with some thoughts on the influence of represent the region at this juncture geography on navies. The theoretical in time. background chapter is a generally solid Readers who hoped to learn more overview of the works of Alfred Thayer about Arab views of American foreign Mahan and Julian Corbett, but it also policy should look elsewhere. discusses the often-overlooked Sir Halford Mackinder. The historical ex- JAMES MISKEL amples comprise several such obvious Naval War College scenarios as Gallipoli and Okinawa, as well as many lesser-known ones—for example, the Russo-Japanese War and the Falklands campaign. Riverine war- fare was especially interesting, with the Lindberg, Michael, and Daniel Todd. Brown-, arrival of the review copy in time to read Green- and Blue-Water Fleets: The Influence of Ge- ography on , 1861 to the Present. the section on the Mesopotamia cam- Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001. 242pp. $64.95 paign of the First just in ad- vance of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Given the subject, this book appropri- Although necessarily slight, these case ately covers a lot of territory. It is more studies are far from shallow, drawing out than a treatise on geography; Lindberg the larger themes in often-novel ways. and Todd have managed to incorporate fairly substantial discussions on naval In and of themselves, with a few excep- strategy, tactics, , force structure, tions, the authors’ observations and and construction. The central discussions are hardly profound. theme is that historical concepts of However, the judicious combination “distance” remain central to modern and interplay of geography, history, and naval operations, leading to the hypoth- strategy lead to many quite compelling esis that “the navies with the longest derivations. Prospective readers be reach—those with the greatest geo- warned, however: This is a dense book graphical power-projection capability— with tightly spaced pages and is defi- are in possession of not just the most nitely not for the novice. There is a

Published by U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons, 2003 1 BOOK REVIEWS 171 Naval War College Review, Vol. 56 [2003], No. 4, Art. 19

presumed familiarity with much of the not identified. Conic projections could subject matter that makes this work a have illustrated many points far more more appropriate developmental read effectively. for the interested professional—for That said, this book deserves to be read whom it is a must. by naval professionals. Its conclusion If there is a weakness to the book, it is that geography will continue to have that the terms “brown-,” “green-,” and much the same influence it always has “blue-water” are not properly associ- had on navies would be startling only if ated with their respective naval equiva- it were otherwise. However, in arriving lents of “inland waterways,” “coastal at that conclusion, Lindberg and Todd defense,” and “power-projection” provide many useful reminders that na- fleets until the last quarter of the book, vies do not exist just to impact one an- and even then the distinguishing fea- other but are part of a larger spatial tures are not defined but implied. To context of global dimensions. complicate matters, there is the earlier RICHARD H. GIMBLETT fleeting introduction of an additional Research Fellow, Dalhousie University “marginal seas” naval warfare environ- Centre for Foreign Policy Studies ment that is never again mentioned. The distinctions are important, espe- cially when the authors conclude that the physical configuration of these vari- ous environments—their geography— Karatnycky, Adrian, A. Motyl, and A. Schnetzer, will continue to present challenges eds. Nations in Transit 2001–2002: Civil Society, to navies and naval operations. Opti- Democracy and Markets in East Central and the Newly Independent States. Somerset, N.J.: mistically, they also conclude that far Transaction, 2002. 445pp. $39.95 from rendering navies obsolete in the modern space, technological Nations in Transit 2001–2002 is a com- improvements and force structure prehensive fact book that examines the developments derived from a sound trends of liberalization in East Central understanding of geographical con- Europe and the newly independent siderations will ensure their contin- states of the former Soviet Union. The ued relevance. editors claim the book is unique, as the “only...comparative study of post- A greater disappointment for a book on Communist political and economic geography is the selection of maps. transition in Central and Eastern They are barely adequate even for the Europe and .” This sixth edition basic overview they are intended to covers the period from November 2000 provide—a number of important place through December 2001; however, the names mentioned cannot be found. reader will frequently find information More to the point, especially consider- from the 1990s. ing the key factor of “distance,” the choice of the common Mercator projec- The book covers twenty-seven nations, tion, with all its inherent north-south attempting to assess each by its level of distortions, is unfortunate. In many democratization, rule of law, and eco- cases the scale is not given, and in the nomic liberalization. Each of these littorals the bottom depth contours are broad categories contains elements that

https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol56/iss4/19 2