ZenPundit
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
 
THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP - A HANDY GUIDE TO THE MUST-READ FOREIGN POLICY BOOK of 2004

Tom Barnett has written an exemplary book that enunciates something you very seldom see in American public debate - a long-term strategic vision for the United States that gets beyond the crisis de jure. Moreover, it's a strikingly positive vision that can politically connect with the American public across party lines - " Shrinking the Gap " is a clarion call that can supported from liberal humanitarian interventionists to neocons to cold-hearted realists. As a paradigm, this is the Convergence of Civilizations, not the Clash.

Moreover, the PNM builds on the historic American commitment since FDR to freeing markets that every administration has supported since WWII. The Pentagon's New Map, as a concept, represents both innovation for the post 9/11 world and reassuring continuity. Ted Rall and Michael Moore are going to hate it. So will Pat Buchanan. Everyone else however will be willing to give Barnett's ideas at least a serious look.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to PNM Terminology:

The Core:
The industrialized, connected to the information economy, mostly peaceful, rule of law abiding, liberal democratic world.

The Old Core: The heart of the core, the old G-7/NATO/Japan states led by the United States.

The New Core: Those modernizing states that decided to join the Core in the 1980's and 1990's - these are not always as liberal, democratic and law-abiding as the Old Core but they have more or less irreversibly committed to moving in that direction - China, India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and the like.

The Gap: The Third World regions mostly disconnected economically and politically from the Core. Hobbesian in character, ridden by violence, oppression, poverty and anarchy. Ruled by despots- when ruled by anyone- committed to keeping their nations disconnected as a political survival strategy.

Rule Sets: The explicit and implicit rules that provide the framework by which nations interact and function internally. There is a clash of rule sets between the Gap and the Core and within the Core between Europe which mostly cannot and will not intervene in the Gap to enforce rules and the United states which can and sometimes must.

Connectivity: The degree of acceptance of globalization's many effects and the ability of a nation's individuals to access choices for themselves. Most international hotspots are in the most disconnected parts of the Gap.

Global Transaction Strategy: Barnett's equivalent to " Containment" - a national and Core strategy to " Shrink the Gap " by connecting and integrating into the rule sets of the Core.

I am going to discuss some of Dr. Barnett's more specific observations and recommendations - and where I see caveats - in a subsequent post but overall the PNM is a book that will have an intellectual impact that will be both broad and deep.
 
Comments:
That's one of the best definitions of connectivity I've ever come across. Wish I used it in the book.

I await your detailed analysis. The convergence of civilizations concept I actually covet. I can't imagine why I never came up with that, especially since Sam is an old professor of mine, and probably the first guy who ever seemed to get me at Harvard.

To say the least, I am fascinated by your review so far. What really makes me feel like I've writen a good book is when I come across something like this and realize that readers can make more of the ideas than I did myself in putting them on paper.

Keep up the good work,

Thomas P.M. Barnett posting as a too-lazy-to-register-because-it's-2200-and-I-want-to-workout-before-my-allergies-knock-me-out "Anonymous" (and no, I've never worked for the CIA)
 
Hi Tom,

Thank you very much. I found your book to be extremely stimulating intellectually and I've recommended it to a lot of my friends and colleagues - in fact the delay in my further review is partly due to loaning out my copy of PNM to a friend. You also solved a problem for me regarding the charges of " Empire" against US policy - I knew that was incorrect but I couldn't articulate it very well in the simple way critics like Chalmers Johnson or Paul Schroeder make the accusation. You did & my hat is off to you.

Feel free to use the "Convergence " metaphor. I think cultures quite naturally tend to bleed over into one another memetically with until you get to the mutually incompatible core values - Huntington is looking at that aspect while you are looking at the merging element ( Is the glass half-empty or half full). Islam, which has "bloody borders" has a very limited set of principles but they are unfortunately currently non-negotiable in a way concepts like " democracy " are not.

I'll try to get my post up on your ideas this weekend because next week is looking all too busy.
 
Good, because I'm waiting . . .

Tom Barnett
 
Heh !

Your book is really so conceptually rich that a lot of your key ideas are worth books in themselves. I'm going to tackle Connectivity and your four flows first - particularly as it relates to China. I think there are a couple of aspects to globalization in modernizing societies that need further looking at - 1) The effect of the differential of the speed of connectivity within a nation like China as and 2)the potential countervailing power created by globalization itself.
 
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