News | Feb. 1, 2023

Europe’s new maritime security reality: Chinese ports, Russian bases, and the rise of subsea warfare

By Dr. Geoffrey Gresh Policy Brief

The year 2022 ushered in another array of significant and diverse maritime security challenges for Europe: the sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines; the mysterious rupture of submarine fiber-optic cables near France and the United Kingdom; Russian aggression toward NATO ships; a Black Sea grain shipment deal to end a Russian naval blockade in Ukraine; and the announcement of a significant Chinese investment stake in a Hamburg terminal, one of Europe’s busiest shipping hubs. Over the past decade, China and Russia have transformed Europe’s maritime security seascape through their military basing access and port investments across maritime Europe — from the Baltic and Black Seas to the Mediterranean. Europe and NATO have made some progress toward addressing many of these challenges, but they must continue to dedicate resources and platforms to ensure the long-term security of their many maritime geoeconomic assets. 

This policy brief was part of a larger project on "Geostrategic competition and US, Chinese, and Russian overseas basing," hosted and published by the Brookings Institution. The project brought together leading scholars and practitioners to exam overseas basing competition between the U.S., China, and Russia. Read it here.