Thursday, November 11

Barnett deluge

Tom had 15 posts yesterday. Just getting through them...

Look like the guy who wrote 'Imperial Hubris' (which I posted on) anonymously was Michael Scheuer. I'd missed that revelation, but Tom noted it here in passing. Turns out he was forced to write anonymously. Apparently Scheuer headed the CIA's bin Laden unit from 96 to 99. You might note I have been moving in my Global War on Terror position since I wrote about IH. You could argue part of the vibe with Clarke and Scheuer is writing punitive books when policy hasn't gone their way.

Iraq
The trifurcation of Iraq is coming, and deals are to be made.
I don't think he can get very far in the Middle East without internationalizing that effort and creating local ownership of the solution set, which means America would need to find a way to work with Iran and make the Palestinian-Israeli situation calm down dramatically. Otherwise, expect his second term to be consumed with the Middle East.
But America is unlikely to get anywhere in Asia without showing a different face in the Middle East, so the two are intimately linked—not just in terms of Asia's rising strategic interests there but in terms of how the rest of the Core views the goals and strategies of the Bush administration.
Why do we let Pyongyang and Taipei run America's relationship with China?
North Korea will be a focus of the second Bush administration—bet on it. But the neocons need to get far more imaginative in their approach—not with North Korea but with China. Rather than having Beijing talk to us about what we need to do to placate that nutcase Kim Jong Il, we need to be talking to Beijing about what they need to okay his takedown—either by an "offer he can't refuse" or a coup engineered by those around him through the promise of golden parachutes or a quick-strike invasion designed to get the man himself, along with his WMD...

The relationship that needs to be built over Kim's grave is between America and China, with the end result being an East Asia NATO-like entity that locks-in a strategic relationship between us and China at today's relatively low prices...

We do the same thing with Taiwan: we cede control of the situation to that island and whatever leader it happens to elect. Because of our "defense guarantee" offered decades ago in an entirely different strategic environment, Taipei gets to drive U.S. national security policy toward China on this issue, which is just plain nuts...

In short, China wants only to prevent the sense that reunification is impossible, and if that's the price for locking the Chinese into a strategic relationship at today's prices, I say we pay it.

The reality is, when push comes to shove on Taiwan, the U.S. won't be willing to come through on that defense guarantee. We decide when we go to war with other countries. We don't leave that decision to some politician in Taiwan whose dream of national self-actualization could easily end up costing America a huge number of casualties. It just ain't going to happen, and when you slap that operational reality up against the long-term strategic background of our emerging partnership with China on a host of global issues, even entertaining that notion seems rather incredible.
Shrinking the Gap: Turkey and Pakistan
Though American troops are fighting and dying in Iraq, ultimately the Europeans, because of geography and their own demographic patterns, have more at stake in the stabilization of the region. And the surest way to advance that stabilization is to make Turkey part of Europe...

If I were Bush, I would twist some Europeans arms until they fell off on this issue. But I would make clear to Turkey the quid pro quo: we need them to accept some serious ownership for the Kurdish portion of Iraq. Turkey needs to be the protector and mentor for that territory and its people...

Over in Pakistan, all that special attention paid by the U.S. (bilateral free trade agreement, tons of military aid and cooperation, rescheduling of debt, quick flows of substantial economic aid) is paying off, as the economy there is booming at more than double the growth rate prior to 9/11. Its exports have doubled over the past six years and its reserves are up four-fold from before 9/11. With U.S. blessing, Pakistan is getting access to international credit in exchange for cracking down hard on the terrorist funding networks and the black markets they leached off of prior to 9/11...

If not for the strong military-to-military ties between Pakistan and the U.S., built over many years, there would have been an overwhelming argument to invade that country more than Iraq. After all, Pakistan is a major exporter of WMD, narcotics and terrorists, effectively checking all the major boxes of a rogue regime. But if the U.S. can continue to do it, we'd rather outsource the military intervention role to the Pakistani military itself, because it's easier and cheaper right now.
Incentives
Why does little old embattled Georgia decide to up its military contingent in Iraq from 159 to 850, making it one of the biggest per capita players in the U.S.-led coalition?...

The reason why Eastern Europe has taken off economically while the former Eastern Germany—pulled into the loving embrace of its rich sister state—has clearly not, is because those states were incentivized in a way the former GDR was not. Eastern Europe had to swim or sink. It had to change rule sets like crazy because it needed foreign investment like crazy. Meanwhile, Eastern Germany was sucked into the labor regulations of Western Germany and had high expectations of a intra-country bailout.
Questions for Tom:
  • When did you become an economic determinist and why? Was it while working with Cantor Fitzgerald?
  • What is your reposnse to all of the protectionists here in America? Given your passion for wide open globalism, what should the US labor market look like as it struggles with offshoring?
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