Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dave Schuyler of The Glittering Eye is tackling PNM theory and is demanding greater precision and quantification from Dr. Barnett. I'll offer some commentary from my perspective on Dave's questions. Everyone else feel free to chime in as well.

"I continue to find Dr. Barnett's notion of an integrated Core and a non-integrating Gap perplexing. How long has there been a Core? What is its history? If it existed a hundred years ago, what were the then-Core's rule-sets? How have the rule-sets changed over time?"

Dr. Barnett discusses several attempts at Globalization in world history in PNM. Diplomatic and economic historians as a group would generally point to a first attempt at globalization in the late 19th century during the apex of classical liberal thought that was ultimately aborted by the Great War in 1914 and pronounced dead in 1930 by Smoot-Hawley. Sadly, American protectionism played a role in provoking both Great Britain's retreat from Free Trade into Imperial Preference and the reinforcement of Germany's innate tendencies toward cartel-corporative capitalism and expansionist autarky. Brooks Adams had more or less predicted such an outcome in 1900 from unrestrained pursuit of beggar-thy-neighbor tariff wars.

Overall though, I would say " The Core " was evident but not yet integrated by Teddy Roosevelt's day when the great economic and political powers were the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan and Russia. I realize it's not common to think of Imperial Russia as an economic power but Tsarist Russia played a " New Core " role much the same way China does today with phenomenal GDP growth rates of about 7-8 % in a rapidly industrializing but mostly peasant society. The Core became the Core in the full sense by achieving integration - minus Russia - in the aftermath of WWII with the Bretton Woods-IMF-World Bank-GATT- UN-NATO -EEC superstructure tying the West and Japan together. Even tinkering with the system - Nixon floating the dollar and junking fixed exchange rates or France pulling out of NATO's military command - did not dissolve the Core.

"Why, instead of discrete Core and Gap, isn't there a spectrum of Core-integration with countries being more-integrated and less-integrated over time? Why does the rule-set seem so binary?"

I think a spectrum is a valid mechanism of evaluation, particularly if we used it to " rate connectivity" within the New Core or Gap states on " the seam"between the two. My guess here is that as a briefer to Pentagon war planners, policy makers and Brass that Dr. Barnett was finding a more receptive audience for his ideas with categorical classification than with some kind of sliding scale. Just a hunch however, we'd have to ask Tom to be certain.

"And shouldn't there be some meta-rules for the Core rule-set? I would really like to see examples of each of these rules in action. And, more importantly, methods of testing whether a specific rule is actually in force. Without standards for specifically disproving each rule aren't we looking at self-defining tautologies?

Take Rule #9, for example:

The potential for conflict is maximized when states with differing rule sets are forced into collaboration/collision/clashes.

Do any two states actually have the same rule set? How do you measure it? It would seem to me that, once again, we are always dealing with a spectrum of degrees of congruity between rule-sets rather than an equivalence/non-equivalence situation"

Good questions.

I think during the Cold War there was a consensus within the Core G-7/NATO/Japan bloc on " the rules of the game". The UN was a fictive, ceremonial institution except by accident ( Korean War) when the advocate of a competing rule-set dynamic known as Communism happened to have walked out of the UNSC. Oh, the UN was useful for talking about middling problems but nobody expected it to prevent either superpower from doing something - only the other superpower could do that through he logic of deterrence, MAD and detente. Within the Core, even the French were substantively cooperative most of the time, so long as the Soviet Union endured.

Without Bipolarity the old rules need not apply. The French were quick to recognize this, American liberals and much of our Bipartisan Foreign Policy elite have not. The former have learned how to reap advantages through obstructionism and leveraging the EU and UNSC, the latter are trying to breathe life through demonstrations of multilateral goodwill into the dead husks of Cold War era alliance structures. It can't work. The old relationships can endure in new forms but trying to conduct American policy as if a new strategic dynamic has not emerged from the Soviet collapse and globalization is like ignoring the oncoming car because you have the right of way.

So, to sum up my long-winded answer - we had common rules within the Core and now we are struggling over what will be the New Rules. If the French-EU-Transnational Progressive-International Law extremists win this debate it will not be the Core that connects the Gap but the chaos of the Gap that creeps into the Core. - they are championing rules to systematically maximize disconnectedness because that scenario rewards regional powers, NGO's, transnational entities and superempowered individuals at the expense of everyone else.

UPDATE: " Mr. Soft Power" Joseph Nye in a CSIS sponsored event to address the Future Transatlantic Relationship. Y'Know, everything high-powered meets everywhere else except in Chicago. It's irritating. And if it does meet here it's usually closed to the public.

May I adopt this as my sig?

"If the French-EU-Transnational Progressive-International Law extremists win this debate it will not be the Core that connects the Gap but the chaos of the Gap that creeps into the Core."


Be my guest :o)
If it existed a hundred years ago, what were the then-Core's rule-sets?

In Europe the principle of monarchy was a strong (albeit sentimental) unifying factor since all the major powers (except France which was a republic) were either actually or nominally ruled by individuals related to Queen Victoria and there was a strong sense of a European "family" that transended national boundaries. This fell apart for reasons that have never been adequately explained (ie what caused the European civil war that is known as the First World War? Thousands of books have been written on this subject, but none of them really explain why it happened).
In a recent article in "Asia Times", the pseudonymous Spengler, whose point of view is somewhat askew from the ordinary, puts the case for preemptive war. Discussing WWI, he says:
" From the Congress of Berlin in 1878, when Germany and Austria set limits to Russian expansion in the Balkans, Pan-Slavism set Europe on a course toward inevitable war. France allied with Russia, seeking help against Germany after its humiliation in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871. Already in demographic decline, France knew that it could not wait to attack Germany one more generation. Germany knew that if Russia completed its railroad network its bulk might make it undefeatable a generation hence.

If Kaiser Wilhelm II had had the nerve to declare war on France during the 1905 Morocco Crisis, Count Alfred von Schlieffen's invasion plan would have crushed the French within weeks. Russia's Romanov dynasty, humiliated by its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and beset by popular revolt, likely would have fallen under more benign circumstances than prevailed in 1917. England had not decided upon an alliance with the Franco-Russian coalition in 1905. The naval arms race between Germany and England, a major source of tension, was yet to emerge. War in 1905 would have left Wilhelmine Germany the sole hegemon in Europe, with no prospective challenger for some time to come. Germany's indecision left the initiative in the hands of Russia, elements of whose secret service backed the Serbian terrorists who murdered the Austrian crown prince in 1914, forcing Germany into war under far less favorable circumstances."


I will have to check out the link and read " Spengler " firsthand but my immediate reaction is that the British would, even without von Tirpitz's naval arms race, still be alarmed about German domination of the continent and would have either intervened - probably to try and force a diplomatic settlement that preserved more of a balance of power - or gone to war against Germany full force.

Just read it.

While I agree with a number of Spengler's examples I still stick to my contention about the Brits. The Cold War was another exception. War with Stalin's Russia would have been prohibitively costly compared to waiting for the system to implode ( that however was a gamble - there was no guarantee of a " soft landing" in 1991. A second Russian Civil war might ave been another outcome of the August Coup)
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