The Contex for Developments in the Mediterranean; Differing Patterns and Perspectives

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The nature of the Mediterranean, its past, present and possible futures, provides some illuminating and arguably important issues, and maybe warnings too, about the developing relationship of states and their interests at sea. ...

Geoffrey TILL

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and should not be construed necessarily to reflect official opinion. Historians are often interested in picking out recurring patterns over time. 
 
The nature of the Mediterranean, its past, present and possible futures, provides some illuminating and arguably important issues, and maybe warnings too, about the developing relationship of states and their interests at sea. There seem to be three such patterns that are particularly pertinent to the Mediterranean, and inevitably they overlap. They are all significant for naval development.
 
First of all there is the Mediterranean as a sea, and as the geo-physical centre of a ring of local rimland/coastal countries whose connections with each other are inevitably sea-borne. That means that their naval development will reflect the nature of those connections, but also help determine them too. For centuries the connections have been essentially about trade, and its control - and so have been exemplified over the years by shifting mixtures of conflict and cooperation between local states. This pattern, then, is essentially about the relationship between insider states over inside issues. If only as a consequence of geography, local countries, polities and empires have come into contact, either in conflict or in cooperation, oscillating over the years between the two in long, varying cycles of a social, economic and military interconnections, sometimes friendly, sometimes not. No sea anywhere better demonstrates that the seawater can both join countries, either close or distant, and divide them. Quite often, at the same time. This then is the insider-inside pattern or perspective.

Link to the related book > Building Future from Atlantic to Indian Ocean
 
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