Monday, October 25

The Pentagon's New Map

I can't believe I haven't come across Tom Barnett's ideas before. They're huge, encompassing war, economics, and globalism. In addition, he's audacious enough to think he's got the world figured out and to formulate a plan to best address the issues. kottke's link of Zuckermann's notes of Barnett's talk at Pop! Tech got me started. I love big ideas. And maybe this is the one I've been looking for. I Bloglined his weblog immediately. Heck, we've already traded email. Chances are you'll be seeing me link to him in the days to come. But where to start for you?

For a little taste, here's a post of his on oil prices.

So he's got a book out called 'The Pentagon's New Map'. I requested it from the library. He has me seriously rethinking my opinion that Iraq was the wrong war. Not that I think the Bush Administration is working out The New Map. But I think the global benefits may be worth having singled out this regime (somewhat arbitrarily). After all, as Barnett notes, most of the attacks have reverted to the Middle East after 9/11/2001 and the Iraq War.

If you really want to start getting into Barnett, you should probably start with the Esquire article that came out the month the war in Iraq began.
Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder.
He is not your standard neo-Con. In fact, he's voting Kerry.
Think about it: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are pure products of the Gap—in effect, its most violent feedback to the Core. They tell us how we are doing in exporting security to these lawless areas (not very well)
I especially like his strategy of 'Shrinking the Gap'. Barnett calls himself an 'economic determinist'. He wants to globalize these underdeveloped countries so they'll stop killing people. It's be nice if the EU would take on the Balkans (since it's right in their backyard. Heck, their frontyard...). Hopefully China and Japan (who is providing economic mentoring to the former) can vector North Korea into sanity.

But he doesn't want Foreign Aid to do it. He wants Direct Foreign Investment. Central Africa is his paradigm for disconnected futility and I don't disagree.

He calls Israel 'the toughest bully on the block'.

You might say his view is very Ameri-centric. It may be. But he is an American after all (and so am I).
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