Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Retired) signed copies of his newest book, "Sea Power: the History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans" to a packed house at Arader Galleries on Thursday evening.
Admiral Stavridis graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and during over thirty five years in the Navy rose to the rank of 4-star Admiral. He served for four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, the first naval officer to hold that position. He oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, and anti piracy actions off the coast of Africa. He also commanded the US Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operations through Latin America. On a personal note, Admiral Stavridis pointed to the importance of maps and charts to his military career, and used one of his maps - Ortelius' 1589 Map of the Pacific Ocean - as part of his presentation after the book signing.
The admiral's talk took us on a tour of the world's oceans, describing the unique military and geopolitical importance of each body of water. He spoke historically and also of current affairs. He made it clear that the oceans impact many of the most important issues of our time, including world trade, the expansion of China's territorial claims, the renewed strength of Russia's maritime interests, conflict in the Middle East, the threat of North Korea, international terrorism, piracy, environmental pollution, migration, the opening of the arctic and others. He argued that cooperation on maritime issues is essential to enhance our safety, reduce tensions and avoid armed conflict. And where military action cannot be avoided, the Admiral offered a cogent argument that at least for now, the United States and its allies maintain superiority where it matters the most.
Graham Arader generously donated copies of the Admiral’s book for every member in attendance and hosted an intimate dinner at his private club following the talk. The room buzzed with talk of history, art, geopolitics, policy and of course our great oceans. The Admiral closed out the evening by thanking his dear friend Graham Arader for his tremendous support and quoted Voltaire with words that we can all relate to, “life is a shipwreck, save what you can.”
We are grateful to Admiral Stavridis and the Fletcher School for a fascinating evening.