Naval War College Review


Faced with according priority to either of the two major theaters of operations during World War II-the Atlantic or the Pacific-the United States chose the Atlantic (and Europe). Despite the profound political and economic changes of the subsequent half century, that choice of priorities was never challenged at the top level of the U.S. Government until 13 January 1988 when then-Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb, Jr. declared in a speech to the National Press Club that "issues involving Asia are moving to the forefront of the world community. In 1986 the United States did $219 billion gross trade in Asia, 75 percent more than its gross trade with the Atlantic nations. "1