Thomas P.M. Barnett

Page Contents

War on Terror

Globalization "rule sets"

Grand Strategy

Military Strategy


Tactics for War on Terror

FUTURECASTS online magazine
Vol. 7, No. 6, 6/1/05.


Principles for strategic planning:

  There is much that is right with this book - and much that is wrong.

Barnett provides strategic concepts for winning individual battles and advancing towards a victorious conclusion against current security threats.

 In "The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century," Thomas P. M. Barnett - an analyst with extensive experience in the Defense Department and pertinent think tanks - presents a clear strategic concept to guide the United States in what is likely to be a long drawn out War on Terrorism. He provides "a new ordering principle for U.S. national security."
  Barnett brings the hope of victory back into strategic planning - an outlook that has been missing since WW-II. Containment strategy during the Cold War was an exercise in avoiding the horrific occurrences of Soviet expansion or major power conventional or nuclear war. For much of the time, victory was simply not attainable. Here, Barnett provides strategic concepts for winning individual battles and advancing towards a victorious conclusion against current security threats. He also provides "a compelling vision of a future worth creating."
  The U.S. has to dedicate military resources for the "small war" engagements that will typify the War on Terrorism. He argues convincingly that it cannot continue to just prepare for a big war and dedicate the military assets thus created as needed for small war purposes. These small war engagements are the essence of the War on Terror, and cannot be dealt with as an afterthought - the "lesser includeds" - in military preparedness and strategy.

  However, a reasonable professional opinion is elevated to dogmatic certainty by the author to justify a substantial switch of military resources from big war preparedness to small war needs. He argues that China - the most likely big war opponent sometime in the next few decades - is now so enmeshed in - so globally connected to - international commerce - that there is no longer any likelihood that it will pose a military threat for the foreseeable future. There are thus NO potential big war opponents for the U.S. to prepare for.
  Barnett needs all these resources, because his strategic vision is nothing if not ambitious. He wants the United States to take responsibility for reducing and ultimately eliminating the vast geographic region - the geographic "Gap" - that consists of third world nations that are not integrated into the globally connected world. It is among these third world nations in the geographic Gap that instability breeds chaos and provides the sources of world terrorism.
  His strategy envisions aggressive efforts to reduce and eliminate the Gap by bringing all third world nations into the prosperous modern world - to create "a future worth creating" - where wars and warfare have been short circuited, and the U.S. is so militarily dominant that no peer can arise to challenge it.

   The U.S. has the "unique capacity to export security around the world," and thus should undertake this vast project, he passionately asserts.

  Barnett's long term vision is precisely the same as that of FUTURECASTS. See, 21st Century Futurecast. Over the course of the 21st century - whatever setbacks and tragedies the century may bring - globalization, democracy and modernity will make major further advances across the globe. The U.S. has essential roles to play in that achievement. Indeed, the U.S. remains the single essential ingredient.
  So, what can be wrong with Barnett's vision?
  The author does mention the limits to U.S. financial and military power - but only briefly and almost as an afterthought. These laudable acknowledgments of reality are more than a little inconsistent with the ambitious policies advocated throughout the book. Just as the wars and welfare obligations of the 20th century led to the financial exhaustion of Great Britain, the wars and welfare obligations of the 21st century can lead to the financial exhaustion of the U.S. (See, Kotlikoff & Burns, "The Coming Generational Storm,")
  The U.S. does not even now have a military reach that is dominant throughout the Gap segment of the globe. Whether by supporting insurgencies as in the Vietnam War, or by committing its conventional forces as during the Korean War, China is already powerful enough to exclude the U.S. from any military takeover of the small Gap nations across China's land borders. North Korea is thus secure against U.S. military and economic pressure unless and until China decides to cooperate in efforts to force a change in the conduct of the North Korean regime.
  U.S. military activities in Central Asia become impractical without Russian acquiescence. As FUTURECASTS has previously pointed out, U.S. technological advantages are greatly diminished in jungle battlefields or in those densely populated cities where a major segment of the population would not be predisposed to be welcoming - as we are finding out in Baghdad.
  And this is just the beginning of the problems with Barnett's ambitious version of his strategic concept, as is pointed out at various points below. This game must be played for the long term. Reserves - financial and military - must not be recklessly committed.

The "Gap" and the "Core:"



  Barnett divides the globe into two vast regions. The "Functioning Core" region includes all the established advanced nations actively engaged in the systems of globalization, plus the newly connected major developing nations of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. The "Gap" encompasses the "non-integrating" third world undeveloped and newly developing nations.

  The Gap stretches across the middle of the globe to include the Muslim nations, and down into black Africa to the borders of South Africa. It encompasses the nations of the Caribbean and all of the smaller nations of Central and Latin America except Chile. Outside this deceptively contiguous region but inside the category of Gap states is North Korea. These are the states where instability is common and international terrorism draws its support.

  This "Non-Integrating Gap" happens to take in Asian tiger developing states like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia that are in fact striving to integrate into the global economy, even if some of them are as yet none too effective in how they are doing it.
  Inside the Gap region but clearly not Gap nations are Singapore and Costa Rica. In the Core region but hardly free from instability and the substantial possibility of conflict are Northern Ireland  and Taiwan.
  Although thus obviously not perfect, the concept of a vast contiguous "Gap" region stretching generally across the midsection of the globe in which almost all military security problems currently exist or will arise is still clearly a useful concept for strategic planning.

  Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, the U.S. has in fact been repositioning its military resources closer to and within this Gap segment of the globe, and has been reconfiguring its military and civil resources to better deal with the problems arising therein.

For the present, it is the autocratic and unstable undeveloped and recently developing nations within the Gap that will provide employment for the U.S. military and its military planners.

  A growing China or resurgent Russia might in the future cause big-power trouble, Barnett initially concedes. However, that eventuality is at least a decade away. For the present, it is the autocratic and unstable undeveloped and recently developing nations within the Gap that will provide employment for the U.S. military and its military planners.
  The U.S. must engage with these Gap nations diplomatically, economically and when necessary militarily to bring them into the globalizing modern prosperous world. The reward for success in this massive endeavor, Barnett tells us, is nothing less than "the end of war as we know it." This is "the future worth creating."

  Post-Cold War U.S. military strategy has been incoherent, Barnett explains.

  "Amazingly, the U.S. military engaged in more crisis-response activity around the world in the 1990s than in any previous decade of the Cold War, yet no national vision arose to explain our expanding role. Globalization seemed to be remaking the world, but meanwhile the U.S. military seemed to be doing nothing more than babysitting chronic security situations on the margin. Inside the Pentagon, these crisis responses were exclusively filed under the new rubric "military operations other than war," as if to signify their lack of strategic meaning. - - - We were not trying to make the world safe for anything; we just worked to keep these nasty little blazes under control. America was hurtling forward without looking forward."

  Mere "crisis response" is not enough. It is not a strategy, Barnett cogently points out. It is a lack - or failure to develop - coherent strategy.
  However, Barnett noticed a pattern in this apparent incoherence.

  "Simply put, if a country was losing out to globalization or rejecting much of its cultural content flows, there was a far greater chance that the United States would end up sending troops there at some point across the 1990s. But because the Pentagon viewed all these situations as 'lesser includeds,' there was virtually no rebalancing of the U.S. military to reflect the increased load. We knew we needed a greater capacity within the ranks for nation building, peacekeeping, and the like, but instead of beefing up those assets to improve our capacity for managing the world as we found it, the Pentagon spent the nineties buying a far different military -- one best suited for a high-tech war against a large, very sophisticated military opponent. In short, our military strategists dreamed of an opponent that would not arise for a war that no longer existed."

The "rule sets" of Globalization:

  Globalization - involving amongst other things technological change and expansion of international trade, generational demographics, and environmental stresses - is the driving force behind this new strategic picture.

  While the precise nature of future physical and intelligence threats is unpredictable, realization of the connection between these threats and the states that remain outside the connections of globalization provides the basis for a strategic concept for reducing and ultimately eliminating these threats. Barnett explains the scope of his strategic vision.

  "[Our] strategic vision for national security needs to focus on growing the community of states that recognize a stable set of rules regarding war and peace, as in 'These are the conditions under which it is reasonable to wage war against identifiable enemies to our collective order.' Growing that community of like-minded states is simply a matter of identifying the difference between 'good' and 'bad' regimes, and rallying the former to work collectively to encourage the latter to change their ways, applying military power when diplomacy alone does not do the trick."

  Broadly acceptable definitions of what makes a Gap state "bad" are essential for this purpose. The harboring of international terrorists or the seeking of weapons of mass destruction are obvious components of such a definition. Employing the phrase "rule set," the author explains the process of establishing the methods applicable to the War on Terror.

  "Enunciating that rule set is the most immediate task in this global war on terrorism, and promoting the global spread of that security rule set through our use of military force overseas - e.g., preemptive war against regimes that openly transgress the rule set - is our most important long-term goal in this struggle."

  The line between the "good" and potentially "bad" states is the line between those that are actively integrating their national economies into the global economy - globalization's "Functioning Core" - and those that are failing - the "Non-Integrating Gap."

  This line is not that clear. Not only are there innumerable shades of gray at this border - as in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines - but also uncertainty as to direction within the Core - as in Russia. See also, "China," below.

The current security threat is determined by those who resist the rules of the globalization game. Such states are thus a potentially constantly diminishing segment of the world.

  Globalization's "emerging security rule set" governs "why, and under what conditions, war makes sense." Those who accept these "rules" are more likely to resolve problems peacefully. Thus, the threat is not determined by the spread of technology. It is not thus doomed to indefinite expansion  with the advances of technology. It is determined by those who resist the rules of the globalization game. Such states are thus a potentially constantly diminishing segment of the world.

  "Up to now, the U.S. Government has tended to identify globalization primarily as an economic rule set, but thanks to 9/11, we now understand that it likewise demands the clear enunciation and enforcement of a security rule set as well."

The U.S. cannot dictate the world's rule sets. Success requires widespread acceptance among Core nations. This is a process that the U.S. can lead but cannot itself determine.

  Rule sets are not fixed. They are constantly evolving. For example, since 9/11/01, the rule sets of domestic "homeland" security have been undergoing rapid and extensive change. A somewhat less dramatic example is the need to deal with modern identity theft problems.
  It is now obvious that market forces alone are not enough to spread the blessings of globalization worldwide, Barnett asserts. There are those that resist globalization for a variety of reasons, and some of them pose real threats that must generate a military response. This task is great, Barnett emphasizes, and will extend over several generations.
  The old Cold War rule sets are now seriously out-of-date and misaligned with the realities of the modern world. It is important that the U.S. get the new rule-sets right. It is important that the responses to current security needs don't wind up making matters worse. Barnett  correctly views the trade war responses of the 1930s as a prime example of governments reacting in a way that made the Depression much worse and let the military situation spin out of control.
  The attack on 9/11 was the proverbial two-by-four that got our attention. It was thus like Pearl Harbor or the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia. Hopefully, it, too, will get the U.S. moving in the right direction.
  However, the U.S. cannot dictate the world's rule sets. Success requires widespread acceptance among Core nations. This is a process that the U.S. can lead but cannot itself determine.

  "The global rule set's reach is not defined by this superpower's ability to project military power, but by the progressive reduction of those global trouble spots to which U.S. military power must consistently deploy."

  Global rule sets are currently changing rapidly.

  "The only questions that remain are: Which rule sets will find the widest acceptance? And how far will America go -- or change -- to make sure its preferred rule sets prevail?"

  Barnett provides a review of Cold War history from the perspective of the development and ultimate widespread acceptance of the strategic rule sets of engagement. These strategic terms of engagement restricted that conflict to third world proxy wars and the gaining and arming of client states. The evolution of the current War on Terrorism actually began during the Cold War - about 1973 - but was largely overshadowed by the Cold War's dramatic final years. At present, the conflict is between those - led by the U.S. - that want to integrate the disconnected states of the Middle East into the prosperous, liberal, modernizing world, and those who wish to drive the Middle East out of the world community - some by means of "sacred terror."

  The major Core states today are nowhere near as dependent on the U.S. for their defense in the War on Terror as they were for their defense during the Cold War. Thus, the leadership capabilities of the U.S. are much diminished, and the analogy with U.S. leadership during the Cold War is not as strong as Barnett portrays it. Many Core states consider their influence and commercial advantage with Gap regimes more important than any strategic interests in forcing reform of those regimes.

  Muslim terrorist were originally sponsored by the Soviet Union. (In Afghanistan, they turned against the Soviet Union and received considerable help and encouragement from the U.S.) With the demise of the Evil Empire, terrorism nose-dived while the terrorists regrouped. Since the mid-1990s, Muslim terrorist activity has been on a steep rise, now driven by militant Islamist ideology. The U.S. is now busy trying to create the rules for dealing with this threat.
  There have been several times when the U.S. has engaged in this reconfiguration of the courses of conduct considered acceptable for dealing with its world. Sometimes history "calls upon this nation to create new rules." Barnett points to 1776, 1861, 1945, 1962, and 2001 as years when substantial changes in rule sets were adopted. We are now standing "at the creation" of the rules - the methods - with which this new threat will be dealt with.

  "You might think that the global war on terrorism is nothing more than the twisted creation of a warmongering Bush Administration, but you would be wrong. The global conflict between the forces of connectedness and disconnectedness is here and it is not going away anytime soon. Either America steps up to the challenge of defining this new global security rule set, or we will see those rules established by people who dream of a very different tomorrow."

The threat of "disconnectedness:"



  The attacks on 9/11/01 "marked the front lines in a struggle of historic proportions," the author emphasizes. It highlighted more than just "a frontier separating the connected from the unconnected." It revealed the impact of globalizations "uneven spread around the planet." It thus revealed the true strategic adversary in this struggle.

The real strategic adversary is "a condition -- disconnectedness."

  It is not hostile despotisms in the Middle East, or fundamentalist Muslims, or even the terrorist organizations themselves that are the strategic targets. These pose at most tactical problems. The real strategic adversary is "a condition -- disconnectedness."

  "To be disconnected in this world is to be kept isolated, deprived, repressed, and uneducated. For young women, it means being kept -- quite literally in many instances -- barefoot and pregnant. For young men, it means being kept ignorant and bored and malleable. For the masses, being disconnected means a lack of choice and scarce access to ideas, capital, travel, entertainment, and loved ones overseas. For the elite, maintaining disconnectedness means control and the ability to hoard wealth, especially that generated by the exportation of valued raw materials."

  Promoting connectedness and opposing those who seek to maintain disconnectedness is the great strategic objective of this conflict. However, connectedness alone is not enough. A high moral purpose is required to justify the sacrifices of the conflict. Connectedness to globalization must be promoted "in a manner that promotes justice as much as order."
  Barnett points out that the future of this conflict will be determined by how big "the Non-Integrating Gap" will be at any given time. It will be determined by who will be "in" and who will be "out" of globalization's "Functioning Core."
  As a practical matter, it will be determined by the ability of the leading nations of the Functioning Core to develop an appropriate set of rules for - to develop acceptable methods of dealing with - the operation and extension of the processes of globalization. Globalization must feel like a secure process - not "a runaway train that must eventually jump the track, as its previous version did in the tumultuous 1930s."

  The author here reveals the limits of his understanding of economics. It was not globalization that went awry in the 1930s. It was protectionist policies - the rejection of globalization - beginning even before WW-I - that went awry. This rejection was massively accelerated - to trade war proportions - in the 1920s - with the U.S. as the primary villain. The damage to world order was caused by this trade war - in conjunction with the financial and economic aftereffects of WW-I. These brought on the Great Depression and WW-II. See, the "Great Depression Chronology" articles beginning with The Crash of '29.

Europe still believes in relying on a defensive deterrent posture, while the U.S. - having absorbed a significant low technology blow - no longer considers that adequate.

  The methods - the rule sets - generally approved to promote the spread of the connectivity of globalization must be acceptable to all the major nations in the Functioning Core or they will divide the Core nations rather than unite them in the effort. Right now, Europe and the U.S. have important disagreements on methodology - particularly with respect to preemption in a world of proliferating nuclear weaponry. Europe still believes in relying on a defensive deterrent posture, while the U.S. - having absorbed a significant low technology blow - no longer considers that adequate.
  Clearly, preemptive military strikes are not enough. The object has to be more than just tactical victories against dangerous despots. The ultimate goal has to be to spread the benefits of modernity enjoyed in the Functioning Core - to spread connectivity and the benefits of globalization so that all are willing to accept the same rule sets - the same methods - for functioning in the world.
  The author warns that, as long as globalization is not truly global, the world will not be working under uniformly acceptable rule sets. Conflicts will continue between systems - conflicts that can turn violent.

  "If globalization is permanently hampered by rule sets being out of whack, the Core will remain seriously vulnerable to damaging 'shocks to the system' like 9/11, outbreaks of contagious diseases, future 'electronic Pearl Harbors,' or rapidly emerging environmental catastrophes of global proportions. Worse still, the progressive division of the world economy into cultural or regional camps diminishes the overall potential for international cooperation -- meaning, in effect, that no one is minding the store on such big issues as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global warming, and the spread of AIDS."

  As in the first part of the 20th century, globalization itself will be "invariably reversed by economic nationalism, arms races, and - eventually - conflict among great powers."

  New divisions are currently forming, Barnett warns, as "New Core" states headed by China, India and Brazil band together for world trade talks. This is "the so-called Group of 20 plus."

To keep the Core growing and the Gap shrinking, the new rule sets must become broadly accepted within the Core. Economic, political and security rule sets must become a central concern of diplomatic efforts.

  Other flash points are easy to envision in all the divisive issues hindering world trade negotiations - issues involving environmental controls and intellectual property and agricultural policy - as well as the obvious potential flashpoints between China and the U.S.

  "To reiterate, the only global future truly worth creating involves nothing less than eliminating the Gap altogether. America can only increase its security when it extends connectivity or expands globalization's reach, and by doing so, progressively reduces those trouble spots or off-grid locations where security problems and instability tend to concentrate."

  To keep the Core growing and the Gap shrinking, the new rule sets must become broadly accepted within the Core. Economic, political and security rule sets must become a central concern of diplomatic efforts. The Doha Round world trade negotiations are a vital part of this effort,  and the approaches for responding to technological and security matters must also be addressed.
  The U.S. clearly cannot do this by itself. It will take time. It took more than a decade after WW-II for formation and general acceptance of the methods used to deal with Cold War problems. Inevitably, the gaining of wide acceptance will require significant compromises.

  "No matter how logical or necessary our new rule sets may appear to us, if we cannot sell them to a large chunk of the planet, we lose our credibility as a competent superpower, and our rules will invariably be dismissed by other cultures as reflecting American bias, not universal truths."

  "The future worth creating" must thus appear attractive broadly - to peoples in developed, developing, and undeveloped nations alike. In Barnett's terminology, it must be attractive to Old Core, New Core, and Gap peoples alike.

  Unfortunately, there are major nations within the Core that are not all that amenable to being led by the U.S. in this fashion. There is remarkable cooperation among intelligence and police services in combating the international terrorism that threatens everyone, but there is no consensus for pressuring third world regimes to reform their ways. Diplomacy, appeasement and sweet reason are as yet having no discernible impact on the conduct of Iran or North Korea.

Grand strategy:

  The misconfiguration of U.S. military capabilities for dealing with post-Cold War threats is explained in some detail by Barnett.

  It took 9/11 to break the post-Cold War mindset that continued to favor conventional war preparations and disparaged small war and nation-building capabilities. Yet, the latter are precisely the skills and capabilities that will be most often required in the War on Terror. These are the military capabilities required for "managing the strategic security environment that is globalization's Gap."
  The competing view was based on the likelihood that Russia would eventually revive as a serious threat - as Germany had after WW-I - or that China would eventually emerge as a serious threat. Barnett's view is that Russia is "kaput" as a major military threat and that China is moving too firmly into the integrated Core to become a threat.

  Barnett is clearly correct about a still declining Russia - currently buoyed only by the high prices for its oil and gas exports. Of course, Russia is still a major regional power, with considerable influence in the small nations of central Asia and is a continuing concern to the other small nations on its borders.
  However, as stated, Barnett assumes facts not in evidence concerning China. As China's strength increases, there will be great temptations to use that strength with respect to Taiwan or the offshore resources in the South China Sea - or even across its northern border as the Russian presence recedes in eastern Siberia and Chinese and North Korean migrants move in to take their place. It is clearly unknowable how future still-despotic Chinese regimes - capable of using nationalist fervor to assure public support - will react to these situations.
  Hopefully, China will be satisfied with the accommodations of its interests that can be achieved through negotiations and commercial arrangements.

    The Pentagon must be weaned off China and refocused "on those parts of the world being left behind by globalization," Barnett asserts. He agrees with those - including especially the U.S. Marines and Naval surface fleet officers traditionally involved in "small war" engagements - who believe that if the small engagements within the Gap are managed well, big power confrontations may not arise. Using the military phrases "lesser includeds" and "Big One," he explains the notion: "Master the lesser includeds to preclude the appearance of the Big One."
  Barnett provides insights into how the Navy and Marines went about determining post-Cold War grand strategy. Careers were at stake, as big war capabilities were challenged or defended, and conversion to small war capabilities were advocated or derided.
  For example, there is no need for a fleet of nuclear submarines for small war engagements. Today, the only use for these expensive vehicles is as cruise missile launchers - a role that can be performed far more efficiently by surface vessels.

  China continues to expand and modernize its still small fleet of modern submarines. The only potential reason for the existence of these vessels is to restrict U.S. naval access to the Taiwan strait.  However, Barnett dismisses the threat in the Taiwan strait as a "chimera."

 "The world has effectively surrendered the seas to the U.S. Navy, and it has done so out of immense trust that America will not abuse that unprecedented power."

  The U.S. Navy is today the only "blue water" navy in the world, and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. In a testimonial to the nonthreatening nature of U.S. hegemony for nonbelligerent states, "the world has effectively surrendered the seas to the U.S. Navy, and it has done so out of immense trust that America will not abuse that unprecedented power." The task for the Navy is to determine how it will use its power for "influencing events ashore" and to support projections of air and ground power and maintain the freedom of the seas.
  Thus, the Army, Air Force and Naval Carrier forces still have real threats to plan for.

The "national interest:"

  The military must prepare to protect and promote the "national interest" - whatever that might mean in a post-Cold War world that contains no military rival.

"With the growing connectivity around the planet, we see the rising need for political and security rule sets that define fair play among nations, firms, and even individuals, not just in trade but in terms of war, - - -."

  Barnett suggests a clear definition:

  "To put it most simply, America's national interest in the era of globalization lies primarily in the extension of global economic connectivity. Global connectivity benefits America economically by increasing our access to the world's goods and services while promoting our exports of the same. With the growing connectivity around the planet, we see the rising need for political and security rule sets that define fair play among nations, firms, and even individuals, not just in trade but in terms of war, - - -."

    The most important peace dividend as a result of the end of the Cold War was broad acceptance of a "global system of security rules" that have allowed globalization to spread and flourish and that have thus "effectively killed" any prospect for resumptions of the great power wars that have proven so devastating to mankind. Extending acceptance of established rule sets into the Gap "leads ultimately to less violence in the system" - something clearly in America's national interest.

There are a few - "rogue regimes" - that "display a firm willfulness to play outside the rules." They must maintain the "disconnectedness" of their populations to maintain their authoritarian grip on their peoples.

  There are regimes that as yet do not accept the political and economic and security rule sets of globalization. For many, the practices of globalization threaten them with loss of control over their own populations. There are a few - "rogue regimes" - that "display a firm willfulness to play outside the rules." They must maintain the "disconnectedness" of their populations to maintain their authoritarian grip on their peoples. U.S. policy is to either change their behavior or at least to constrain their ability to "engage in rule-breaking behavior."
  There are groups of individuals that wish to take control of and dominate disconnected states. They, too, have an obvious need to oppose globalization. These "nonstate actors" are "committed to hijacking their societies from globalization's creeping embrace." They are becoming the primary security threat to the globalization Core.

  As a result of globalization, the competition between the advanced nations has been focused within the international economic system "where increasingly international organizations become the dominant venue of coordination and negotiation." However, the sources of mass violence that dominate the national security challenge "have migrated downward, or from the state to the individual."
  Today, traditional threats of  military conflicts between states are practically non-existent. U.S. coalitions  have toppled two rogue regimes. However, this has not been for national benefit, but to remove threats to the global system and provide an opportunity for subject peoples to move into modern global peaceful systems. Today, Barnett asserts, threats of violence are all within states or involve "those lesser-includeds" that the Pentagon doesn't want to get involved with.
  How can the threat be attacked?

Eliminate the rogue states and failed states and you eliminate the sanctuaries that allow terrorist organizations to flourish. You also thus eliminate their potential objectives.

  The terrorists find shelter in states within the Gap that are run by rogue regimes or warlords, Barnett points out. However, to succeed, they first have to get the U.S. out of the way. Eliminate the Gap - eliminate the rogue states and failed states - and you eliminate the sanctuaries that allow terrorist organizations to flourish. You also thus eliminate their potential objectives. It is the most disconnected states within the Gap - such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan - that the Islamic militants believe they can succeed in taking over.

  "On 9/11 America got a real dose of what asymmetrical warfare is going to be in the twenty-first century. It isn't going to come from rising near-peers like China, who are rapidly integrating into the global economy, nor is it going to come from rogue regimes, whose fixed position we can surround at our leisure and attack at will. The real asymmetrical challenge we will face will come from globalization's disenfranchised, or the losers largely left behind in the states most disconnected from globalization's advance. The main thrust of this challenge will be led by educated elites, like an Osama bin Laden, who dream of disconnecting societies from globalization's grasp and -- by extension - from America's 'empire.' Like the intellectual Lenin and his Bolsheviks a century before, these transnational terrorists will use every dirty trick in the book against the powers that be, and they will grow more perverse in their violence over time because they know, deep down, that time is not on their side. Over time, globalization's advance will rob the al Qaedas of the world of the opportunity to seize control of societies and turn back the clock."

  Barnett reminds us that it was not capitalist England or Germany that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks grabbed, but pre-capitalist Russia whose population was still largely disconnected from capitalist economic development and the integrated Core nations of a century ago.

Military strategy:



  The attack on al Qaeda proceeds on three levels. The U.S. leads a global network system war to disrupt terrorist finances, communications and logistics. It leads a coalition of states against belligerent rogue regimes. It conducts "special operations" to capture or kill terrorist leaders and personnel.

It is the State Department that plays the strategic roles - nation building in states where rogue regimes have been toppled, tending to relationships and alliances inside both the Core and the Gap, and encouraging the spread of connectivity.

  Thus, the Defense Department is in many ways not the strategic arm in this conflict. Neither is it the only tactical arm. The Treasury Department and the Justice Department are also tactically heavily engaged.
  However, it is the State Department that plays the strategic roles - nation building in states where rogue regimes have been toppled, tending to relationships and alliances inside both the Core and the Gap, and encouraging the spread of connectivity.

  "In short, the Pentagon can no longer plan for war solely within the context of war but increasingly must plan for prosecuting such wars within the context of everything else."

  The State Department has throughout the 20th century played both tactical and strategic roles in the nation's military engagements - in big wars and small wars alike. See, Boot, "The Savage Wars of Peace," segment on the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual. Also, given the standoff of both nuclear and conventional forces, it was ultimately the almighty dollar that was the determining strategic weapon in the Cold War. See, Military Futurecast, segment on "The mighty dollar."
  Once again, neither nuclear weapons nor conventional forces are capable of achieving victory. Once again, it is the dollar that is the determinative strategic weapon. It is the dollar that is most influential in the maintenance and expansion of globalization. Fortunately, the euro, pound and yen also assist in this role, since Bush (II) economic policies - runaway welfare entitlements - and the vastly expanded burdens of military and homeland defense are severely weakening the dollar.

  The Pentagon continued to prepare for big war engagements throughout the 1990s. This meant more expensive but fewer high tech weapons platforms. However, it was small war engagements that it was increasingly called to deal with. These did not require the highest technological sophistication, but did require deployment of numerous military units and their weapons platforms. A severe mismatch of needs and resources was developing. As a result, military personnel - especially the National Guard and Reserves - suffered from unexpectedly frequent deployments.

  "These long overseas deployments represented a fundamental renegotiation of the Pentagon's contract with its own personnel -- in effect, a greater workload for the same pay."

  Moreover, the small war deployments were starving a budget-constrained post-Cold War Pentagon for funds and undermining its expensive big war preparations. Barnett explains the inter-service rivalries that this generated. There was growing apprehension of a future "train wreck" as "future requirements" competed with "current operational realities" for declining peacetime defense funding.

  The 9/11 attack changed that. Suddenly, small war operations were an immediate, undeniable strategic imperative. The Pentagon budget ballooned.
  However, even with the additional funding, Barnett emphasizes that there is still not enough for both small war operations - now greatly expanded - and big war preparations. He reemphasizes his conviction that a globally connected China is not a real future threat, and that there is thus no big war opponent for the Pentagon anywhere in the world. With a federal budget now deeply in debt, the country cannot afford to continue these useless big war preparations. It must concentrate its efforts on the small war efforts - and the "military operations other than war" needed in the effort to expand the connectedness of modern globalization for "a future worth creating."
  Yet, the looming but fictitious threat of a growing China continues to be used to justify big war preparations. The author emphasizes three particular weaknesses in this persistent bias - this "vertical thinking" - for big war preparations.

  • "First, it shortchanges the role of the military in crisis management, or the avoidance of war."
  • "Second, it short-circuits planning on what comes after the war -- a lesson we learned yet again in post-Saddam Iraq."
  • "But most important, it absurdly isolates the warfighting scenarios, leading to war planning that focuses on the war and little else."

  Barnett reviews the apparent incoherence in U.S. post-Cold War military engagements. The U.S. was involved militarily in containing Saddam Hussein, but rejected engagement against Serbia only to change its mind and engage. It engaged in Somalia for reasons that kept changing only to depart after taking some casualties. It refused to intervene against a holocaust in Central Africa. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason in these events, and no strategic objective to achieve.
  However, relating them to globalization and connectivity can bring order out of this incoherence.

  "Actually, it was the spread of globalization itself that was the dominant horizontal scenario of the 1990s. Where it extended and connectivity grew between any national economy and the global economy, security rule sets seemed to likewise expand. But where globalization did not effectively take root, there the security rule sets seemed thinner and -- in some cases like Central Africa -- completely absent."

  The connection between the Gap in globalization and this apparent chaos escaped the notice of the Pentagon strategists. They thus did not recognize that the expansion of globalization in the 1990s reduced the area of the Gap and the extent of the chaos that occasionally threatened the interests of the U.S. and its allies and friends.
  "America's role in securing global peace," Barnett declares, can only be successfully understood and played by thinking "horizontally," to take in the apparently non-military process of globalization, its expansion and the continued scope of the unconnected Gap.



The outer limits of globalization "defines the U.S. military's expeditionary theater."

  Globalization is a "process" - a "pathway" - Barnett explains. The multiple connections of globalization are implemented over time by nations that actively encourage them or passively permit them. However, knowing where globalization has taken firm root and where it hasn't is vital. It "defines the U.S. military's expeditionary theater."

  "It tells us where we will go and why. It tells us what we will find when we get there, and what we must do to achieve victory in warfare."

  Failed states, rogue states, and states suffering endemic conflicts are all found in the theater beyond globalization's frontier, Barnett points out. He explains the stresses that recently globalizing nations face - the natural inclinations of many to oppose it - and the importance of nevertheless encouraging it. He describes its impacts and the connection to increases in freedom and prosperity and security for both new Core members and old Core members.

  "[Either] we use our tremendous power as a nation to make globalization truly global, or we condemn some portion of humanity to an outsider status that will naturally morph -- through pain and time -- into a definition of the enemy."

  Where there is an enemy, inevitably there is the death and destruction of war.

  "[However, as] entire populations are liberated from the debilitating inefficiencies that kept them largely disconnected from the integrating whole, not only does their freedom increase but ours does as well. For each time we expand globalization's Functioning Core, we expand for all those living within it freedom of choice, movement, and expression."

  Barnett provides extensive explanations of the process of globalization, and its impacts, benefits and those who oppose it, and how various nations have responded to it. He especially covers the status of Russia and China as those two nations take different paths towards connectivity with globalization. He explains the many reasons why many nations reject connectivity or just fail to achieve it.
  Globalization's frontiers are thus far from fixed. Moreover, "peace and stability are essential for such connectivity to flow from the Core to the Gap."

  "That means the fundamental measure of effectiveness for any U.S. military intervention inside the Gap must be: Did we end up improving local security sufficiently to trigger an influx of global connectivity? Not whether we created an instant democracy or a loyal military ally -- or even defeated an enemy in record time. Increasingly, our military interventions will be judged by the connectivity they leave behind, not the smoking holes."

  The U.S. must emphasize its small war capabilities, Barnett emphasizes.

    "The Pentagon must first and foremost reshape the U.S. military to facilitate its crisis-response capabilities, and all the Military Operations Other Than War skill sets and resources that go with it, while simultaneously downgrading the Defense Department's long-term preparation for the Big One with some future near peer. - - - Such a reordering is crucial for two reasons: First, America cannot afford to fund both the respond-all-over-the-Gap force and the hedge-against-the-Big-One force in equal measure; the former's share of the budget must grow dramatically as the latter's decreases dramatically. Second, by deemphasizing the Big One force, America sends strong signals to fellow Core powers, but especially to China, that our sense of common cause in this global war on terrorism extends far beyond overlapping hit lists. If America tries to have it both ways, it will not only fiscally bankrupt the government, it will end up destroying the Core's long-term unity, and possibly even globalization itself."

    If the U.S. continues to build its big war dominance, Barnett frets that it will "fracture the Core into competing rule sets: one dominated by the United States, another dominated by the European Union plus Russia, and a third dominated by China plus Japan."

  The unreality of the utopian aspects of Barnett's vision is here starkly revealed. He invokes loaded terminology like "fellow" Core powers and their long-term "unity." However, in the absence of a unifying threat like the WW-II Axis powers or the Soviet Union during the Cold War, sovereign nations will not so readily be herded together either for or against U.S. objectives. The "unity" of the Core is an ephemeral thing.
  The proposition that the U.S. and other major Core states can establish the long-term "unity" that they enjoyed when faced by a uniform Soviet threat that only the U.S. could counter is ridiculous. There will definitely be opposition by particular nations or groups of nations to particular aspects of U.S. policy. However, the idea that China and Japan or the European Union nations as a group can have a unity of interest in broad opposition to the current United States policy is ludicrous - as long as U.S. policy remains nonthreatening to nonbelligerent nations.




  In order to free up sufficient resources for the ambitious expansion of small war capabilities that he advocates, the author elevates his views of a benign China from reasonable possibility to established dogma.

  It is a wasteful blunder to spend massive resources preparing for a possible future confrontation with China, he asserts.

  "If joining the Core and acknowledging its security rule sets does not even get a country off the Pentagon's long-range list of potential enemies, then America has little hope of shrinking the Gap through the war on terrorism. Instead, it will probably fracture the Core into competing security rule sets."

  Well, there it is. If China in fact moves belligerently against Taiwan, it will all be the fault of the U.S. for daring to try to restrain it. Repeatedly, the author employs the stark all-or-nothing alternatives of the "scenario" propaganda ploy. The world will go to hell in a hand basket under scenario one - but if the policies advocated for scenario two are adopted, utopia is in reach. Intermediate realities are ignored.
  The obvious problem with this dubious logic is that economic globalization is actually limited to narrow economic rule sets. There is not even an implication of agreement on "security" rule sets or "political" rule sets - except for a desire that the U.S. bear all the heavy burdens of any heavy military lifting that may be required.
  Barnett may well be right about China's benign future development. FUTURECASTS joins in this prediction, at least for sometime in the longer term future - extending perhaps to sometime towards the end of the century. It may well happen even faster, but it is reckless in the extreme to base military preparedness for the next few decades on that expectation.
  America's frequent experience in the 20th century was that weakness and lack of preparedness invited attack - by the Axis powers, by North Korea, and by bin Laden as well. China has repeatedly challenged U.S. resolve in the Taiwan strait.
  The reality is that China is intent on regaining sovereignty over Taiwan - is consistently accelerating its military buildup - and has yet to take step one on the road to a democratic political transformation that might make a peaceful reunification possible. The U.S. has learned to its sorrow not to ignore the express military ambitions of despotic governments. The nationalist fervor of the Chinese people with respect to Taiwan and China's jurisdictional disputes over offshore resources are not phenomena that can be ignored. Rather than  coalescing over mutual interests, Japan is viewed by China as a natural competitor for influence in Southeast Asia.
  China's economic and financial needs - particularly its need for foreign direct investment - has forced it to change its commercial and financial rule sets. Indeed, the ongoing changes in business and legal customs is already truly staggering - like those of Japan before it.
  However, China has yet to demonstrate any desire to restrain the nuclear ambitions of its client state, North Korea. Until it undertakes to play a forceful role with respect to North Korea, it is ridiculous to speak of China as being in any way "unified" in the Core. Outside the economic sphere, it is ridiculous to speak of China as associating its interests with those of the Core.
  China has already achieved world power status commercially, and shows a clear predilection to establish friendly and supportive relationships with such rogue regimes as those in Iran, Sudan and Venezuela. China may join in efforts to suppress the Islamist terrorists, but it shows no indication whatsoever of a willingness to assist in "shrinking the Gap." Indeed, it is obvious that it will frequently view its interests in opposition to such efforts.  

  If some major Core nation, like Russia or China, is lost to the Core, it will all be the fault of U.S. policy, the author insists. He further insists:

  "China isn't the problem, it is the prize. That's why none of the Pentagon's vertical scenarios about China make any sense. China wants the good life too much to succumb to its worst impulses."

  That's true for the vast majority in China. However, as Barnett notes, nationalism is strong in newly globalizing states like China. If military adventure begins to look too easy, the Chinese leadership will have no trouble in bringing its public along for the ride - and all the world will be anxious to get on with business as usual with China. Only the U.S. can deter such adventurism.
    In short, China's actions leave tracks in the sands. Only the tracks of its economic actions are heading in the right direction. Barnett's attractive theory with respect to China is reduced to dogma when he ignores the direction in which those other tracks - military and diplomatic - are heading.

  For the period prior to any emergent Chinese challenge, however, Barnett is clearly correct. The Non-Integrating Gap area is the theater of conflict for the War on Terror. This is the expeditionary theater for the U.S. military during these first years of the 21st century. Expansion of globalization reduces that theater. Tactical victories that reduce the Gap can lead to strategic victory.

The Core-Gap strategy thesis:

  Barnett offers a "Shrink-the-Gap" strategy, with the U.S. playing the role of "Gap Leviathan."

  He views globalization as "great power unity." All the U.S. has to do is lead the way in defining the security rule sets "that would cement that unity and direct it toward common purposes."
  Barnett easily and correctly dismisses objections from the political extremes - both conservative isolationists who think the world is hopeless, and guilt-ridden left wingers who ridiculously think the world would be better off without U.S. participation. The more reasoned conservative objection, according to the author, concentrates on the shear size of the undertaking as a basis for avoiding it.

  More logical is the reasoned conservative view that accepts the spread of the connectivity of globalization as a process that the U.S. can and should encourage but warns that the U.S. will have great difficulty forcing that process, and could easily - disastrously - financially and militarily overextend itself in the effort.

  The author explains the "shrink-the-Gap" strategy reasonably as use of "all means possible - including the use of force in the worst situations." It is immoral  to do nothing. As a pragmatic approach, this is clearly correct.

  The devil is in the details as to the "means" that are believed to be "possible," the tradeoffs required to free-up those means, and the willingness of the major Core nations to reach agreements on those means. One of the most powerful means for increasing connectivity and prosperity within the Gap would be some sharp revisions of Core nation protectionist agricultural policies. Good Luck! The U.S. can't even bestir itself to import sugar from the Gap states in its Caribbean back yard.

  Barnett appeals to public sympathy with a vivid description of the conditions under which one-third of humanity exists in Gap nations. In Hobbes' words, life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." The U.S. and its allies must "help states trapped in the Gap begin their rule-driven migration into the Core" by encouraging their adoption of appropriate "rule sets."
  That the task will take decades - occupying both Republican and Democratic administrations - just like the Cold War - is a realistic view. The Bush (II) administration has moved in the right direction, but has fallen short in several important ways. Making the right security moves is not enough. The administration must explain those moves in a way that gains widespread approval.

  "Where the Bush Administration has failed to date is (1) in not correctly identifying the Gap in all its splendid disconnectedness, and instead letting the problem be narrowly -- and wrongly -- described by the Pentagon as an 'arc of instability' that many of the Administration's critics rightfully interpret as code for Middle Eastern oil producers; (2) in not being explicit with both the American people and our allies about the need for different security rule sets for the Core and the Gap; and (3) in not providing the public and our allies with a vision -- or a story with a happy ending -- that puts all these security rule-set changes into a larger context."

  This is an explicit form of the general - and accurate - criticism that the U.S. has been remiss in its "soft power" strategy. See, Nye, "Paradox of American Power," and "Soft Power." It is no longer quite true, however.
  By placing U.S. policy squarely behind the spread and success of democratic systems, the U.S. has provided exactly the kind of "story" Barnett recommends - albeit considerably less ambitious in scope. Pictures of massive turnouts - of both men and women - for elections in Afghanistan and Iraq - despite terrorist threats - send a powerful message  in support of this policy. While economic protectionism can be a dangerous problem even for democracies, it is inconceivable that a nation with a democratic system will not naturally expand its connectivity with the world.

Global cop - unilateralist if necessary - preemptive where appropriate - all apply only in the Gap.

  All the disturbing recommended changes in security rule sets will happen only "in the Gap," Barnett emphasizes. Global cop - unilateralist if necessary - preemptive where appropriate - all apply only in the Gap.
  In the Core, the U.S. maintains its established nonthreatening approaches - the established rule sets that have served so well. The security rule sets of multilateralism, deterrence and collective security remain in tact for Core security relationships. It is a "rock-solid security rule set" in the Core, Barnett asserts. (It is not that "rock solid" in the new Core major states as yet.)

  Preemption is to be used when all else fails - as it clearly has with respect to North Korea - and especially if North Korea really does have nuclear weapons - Barnett asserts.

  This is frighteningly simplistic. In any event, any attack designed to occupy North Korea - preemptive or otherwise -  would absolutely require Chinese acquiescence - an acquiescence the U.S. is highly unlikely to get from this "fellow" Core member that Barnett has such faith in.
  There is a predominantly left wing objection that the preemption policy "forces" rogue states like Iran and North Korea to go nuclear. This is correct. However, during the decades before 9/11/01, these states were already doing everything possible to gain nuclear weapons capabilities..

  It is not enough for the U.S. to simply explain the need for military action. The U.S. must also do a good job explaining the "promise of peace," Barnett insists.

  The author assumes success for these efforts, but that is not so certain. Even after a war is won, peace is not assured. The U.S. has limited capacity to assure a good outcome to an occupation.
  There is a standard method for military suppression of a determined insurgency. It has been used successfully many times by many nations - including by the U.S. throughout the 19th century and during the Philippine insurrection a century ago. It involves a direct attack against the population that supports the insurrection - or the confining of that population to reservations - or the destruction of its economic assets.
  These harsh tactics, however, are inconsistent with the strategic goal of bringing adversary nations and peoples into the modern, globally connected community of nations. They are also currently politically unacceptable  for the U.S. Without such tactics, however, the U.S. has NO military means for the successful suppression of any determined insurgency if the insurgency enjoys significant popular support. 
  Tied down in Iraq, the U.S. has neither the military capacity nor public support to convincingly threaten Iran or even Syria. Those regimes could be easily toppled, but the subsequent situation would be beyond the ability of the U.S. to control. If these states - or groups within these states - keep stirring the pot in Iraq - the terrorism and Sunni insurrection in Iraq will remain difficult to handle. These difficulties exist even though the region's predominantly open desert is favorable terrain for U.S. technological capabilities. There thus remains a substantial possibility - as Barnett notes - that the Iraq conflict will degenerate into a bloody civil war.
  The desire of the vast majority of the Iraqi people to live free is the ultimate strategic weapon relied upon to defeat the insurgency and the terrorists. The power of freedom as an ideology is being tested in Iraq.

  As Barnett emphasizes, the U.S. is NOT engaged in empire building - except in the fevered brains of leftist propagandists.

  Barnett has a glorified view of American and Western capabilities. As an example, he asserts that, after WW-I, Russia was "lost" to the forces of disconnectedness because the Western powers didn't do enough to prevent the Bolshevik takeover. (This is a disconcerting display of ignorance about the military, financial and political realities existing after the horrendous carnage of WW-I.) Now, the U.S. must not only be GloboCop, but must do it in a manner that satisfies all the major players - including France, Russia and China. If those nations do not see their interests as coterminous with U.S. efforts, Barnett believes that it must again be the U.S. that bears the blame.
  Barnett points to "the slow internationalization of the postwar Iraq occupation" as a prime example of U.S. insensitivity for Core multilateralism.

  Internationalization? With whom? What other major Core powers want to risk their commercial interests with the Muslim states? Who else wants to spend the domestic political capital? Who else wants to bear the human and financial risks and costs of defeating the Baathist insurgency and al Qaeda attacks?
  Only the U.S. - with England and a few others - and that's it!
  As this book was being written, Barnett viewed the U.S. as the ONLY Core nation with major responsibilities for encouraging globalization. Barnett nowhere indicates expectation that France, Germany, Russia and/or China should be expected to take some initiative in this effort. The U.S. alone must undertake the tasks - hobbled in any way needed to accommodate the sensitivities and contrary interests of the major onlookers on the sidelines - with only whatever assistance the U.S. can occasionally induce others to provide and the normal commercial inducements to invest in and do business with globalizing Gap nations.

  Barnett elsewhere briefly concedes that globalization and cooperation in some security areas does not stop major Core nations from competing for international influence and seeking commercial advantage - from viewing U.S. difficulties as their relative gain. Other Core nations may have strong national and commercial interests in hobbling various U.S. efforts.

  That's why the U.S. has to be careful in "internationalizing" its nation building efforts. Such efforts can easily be sabotaged. To repeat, the "unity" of globalization is both tenuous and restricted to narrow economic and commercial "rule sets."

"We are never leaving the Gap and we are never 'bringing our boys home.'"

  The author candidly levels with the American people.

  "We are never leaving the Gap and we are never 'bringing our boys home.' There is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking the Gap, and if there is no exiting the Gap, then we'd better stop kidding ourselves about 'exit strategies.' No exit means no exit strategy."

  The new U.S. military bases in Central Asia and the Balkans will be there for decades - like their larger predecessors in Europe and Northeast Asia during the Cold War. (In this, Barnett is indubitably correct.)

The "Arc of Instability" concept:

  By omitting sub-Saharan Africa and the Andes states in the Gap, the concept of an "Arc of Instability" stretching from the Caribbean rim across the Middle East through Southeast Asia and up to North Korea provides a more narrowly focused (but still vast) view of the current "theater of military engagement."

The need to facilitate the extension of "connectivity" must be emphasized as essential to bring Gap nations into a secure, prosperous, peaceful world.

  The author is adamantly opposed to this competing concept and emphasizes several of its weaknesses.

  • It apparently focuses on just a tactical concern for oil resources. It appears limited to the provision of military security for the third world despotisms that provide oil.
  • It tends to obscure the strategic need to narrow the Gap - to extend the blessings of connectivity, freedom and prosperity as the ultimate means to win the War on Terror. The U.S. cannot concentrate on just the bad to be prevented. The "good to be generated" must also be a vital part of the strategy, or the conflict will be endless.

  "No amount of U.S. military presence in the Gap is ever going to make it stable in any lasting sense. - - - Ultimately, any Gap country is made stable by being economically integrated into the Core and having the resulting economic development find expression in increased liberty over time, because liberty plus economic development will get you a stable democracy in the end. So all we do when we export security into any region is get the ball rolling, nothing more."

  • It focuses too narrowly on U.S. military activity. It obscures the essential roles that have to be played by U.S. agencies other than the Pentagon - such as the State Department and the Treasury Department. It obscures the roles that must be played by the other Core nations and by the private sector in expanding connectivity into the Gap and facilitating movement of Gap states into the Core. It obscures the fact that ultimate victory involves a better life for the peoples of the Gap nations - a "future worth creating."
  • It concentrates on Muslim instability and threats. It looks "anti-Islamic." (There are no Muslims in North Korea, and no Muslim nations in the Caribbean.)
  • It omits Africa - as "a bridge too far."

  Barnett is well aware that the making of choices is the essence of tactics and strategy. He is well aware that Africa is the low man on the totem pole of security concerns even under his strategic concept. However, he has a primary concern that Africa not be completely omitted, and that the ultimate "victory" in the War on Terror not be defined in such a way as to leave sub-Saharan Africa still subject to poverty, instability and chaos.

Al Qaeda exploits the porous conditions in the Gap and Seam states to obtain weapons, create training camps, disperse finances, and funnel men and funds into Core state targets.

  The frontline states in the War on Terror are at the "seams" of the Core-Gap divide, the author emphasizes. U.S. bilateral security relations are increasing with such states as Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines that ring the entire Gap area. They are essential, since al Qaeda exploits the porous conditions in the Gap and Seam states to obtain weapons, create training camps, disperse finances, and funnel men and funds into Core state targets.
  However, Barnett rejects even an expanded "Arc of Instability" concept. "Shrinking the Gap can never be allowed to devolve into a static us-versus-them strategy."
  Barnett explains how globalization - how connectivity and resource flows and markets - enhance security which enhances connectivity.

  "Where security enables the steady rise of connectivity between any national economy and the outside world, markets logically emerge to manage the marginal risks that remain, and where markets can effectively manage risk, investments invariably flow toward desired resources, such as relatively inexpensive but dependable labor. Over time, these essential transactions engender further connectivity among nations and regions, reflected in the rise of more complex and suitably entangling rule sets that moderate the behavior of not just nation-states but likewise firms and individuals. The desired security end state of this integration process is a community of states within which rule-set transgressions find certain -- if not immediate -- resolution through universally agreed-upon legal means. In other words, the military never has to get involved."

  By providing security and helping to facilitate globalization, the military reduces the need for its services. It achieves true victories.
  The author provides a reasonably good analysis of some of the intricate interrelationships of globalization. (Those with some economic background will find some dubious elements in the author's explanation but, for the purposes of this book, that is a mere quibble.) Important assertions are that security lapses result in a flight of capital - that a Chinese military effort to take Taiwan would result in a crippling flight of capital - and that a globally connected world requires security services that today only the U.S. can provide.

  Unfortunately, there are real costs - and thus real limits - to how much security "services" the U.S. can provide. The benefits are divided globally, but only the U.S. bears the costs of "exporting" security. There is no rush of other major Core states competing to "export" such "services." Although they are of infinite value, nobody deigns to pay the U.S. for the security "services" it extends into the Gap.
  Barnett advocates that the U.S. assume the security "Leviathan" role "across the Gap" - wherein one third of the world's population lives. Unfortunately, the U.S. is a Leviathan of very limited means and capabilities. Aside from a need to shift resources from big war to small war preparations, Barnett displays little understanding of these limits. Becoming enmeshed in just Afghanistan and Iraq - with ongoing commitments such as that on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere - has pretty much absorbed all the discretionary military and civil nation building resources available.
  These are thankless tasks, with little help from most other major Core states other than England. Even England is unlikely to accompany the U.S. into another major undertaking such as that in Iraq. NATO is having difficulty providing even 10,000 men for peacekeeping in Afghanistan.

  As long as it remains under authoritarian rule, Barnett acknowledges, China remains the most troublesome power in the Core. Taiwan and nationalist fervor distract the populace from China's authoritarian rulers. However, China will not step over the brink, he confidently asserts. The "fallout from a United States-China conflict over Taiwan would be enormous for globalization, effectively barring Beijing from stable Core membership for the foreseeable future."

  If by about 2025, a technologically advanced Chinese military faces an unready or financially exhausted U.S. and a relatively weak Taiwan across the strait, the military effort to take the Island might not be difficult enough to scare capital away from mainland China. Indeed, just the threat might be enough to scare capital away from Taiwan. The risk to China of substantial military retaliation on most of mainland China may be negligible.
  After all, the U.S. did not suffer capital flight during its widely unpopular invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Everyone still wants to do business with the U.S. Everyone will still want to do business with China even in the event of a localized military effort in the Taiwan strait. Taiwan will be gravely disappointed if it depends on the "Integrated Core" and established Core "security rule sets"  for its protection. Taiwan could easily become the "Czechoslovakia" of the 21st century.
  Of course, China is likely to have financial and economic problems of its own during these next two decades. There are potential problems that require continued attention by China to its still far from adequately completed agenda for economic reform.

Connectivity between the Gap and the Core:

  Osama bin Laden has declared war on the connectivity of globalization. He wins if he can break globalization down, if he can force it out of the Middle East, and if he can thus take power over the people left behind. He is beaten each time a Muslim nation graduates from the Gap into the Core. (Protectionists - of both the left and right - are his most effective allies.)
  Worker-migrants and their remittances are a vital form of connectivity between Gap and Core states. Barnett properly emphasizes that the remittances give Gap states an important economic boost - and the workers help Core nations maintain their productivity and growth. Restrictions on these massive immigration flows is vastly harmful to both Gap and Core nations - and greatly undermines the War on Terrorism.
  The importance of Middle East oil is readily acknowledged by the author. He properly views these flows as unavoidable worldwide - for Gap and Core energy importers alike. The oil wealth (as FUTURECASTS has repeatedly pointed out) is a curse for the peoples of the Middle East and several other OPEC states. Easy wealth from oil and other valuable minerals provides great wealth for ruling elites while freeing them from having to concern themselves with facilitation of the people's commerce - while freeing them from having to facilitate the economic connectivity that might make it harder for the elites to control their peoples.
  Because of the superior flexibility of U.S. markets, disruptions in oil flows would hurt Asian nations far more - and would be a body blow to Gap nation development prospects. When the U.S. fights or is otherwise engaged in assuring Middle East stability, its efforts are of benefit worldwide.
  The terrorists are the "forces of disconnectedness." They know they are in a race and are increasingly desperate to take over nations in the Middle East before the populations gain and begin to enjoy connectedness. The way to defeat them is to encourage connectedness in the Middle East.

  In fact, even if Muslim extremists took over Saudi Arabia, it would not deprive the world of oil. After all, they can't eat their oil, and they can't produce anything else. Even the Ayatollahs in Iran and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela remain anxious to export their oil.
  Remember how anxious a communist controlled Chile was to increase its copper exports - even while market prices were tumbling? Remember, also, that the Soviet Union was an extraordinarily reliable provider of the titanium on which the West depended to maintain its essential superiority in conventional air power? Like the Muslim states, the Communists couldn't produce anything else, and were thus dependent on their exports of natural resources. They willingly sold the capitalist West the rope with which they were hung.
  The interest of the U.S. and the West in the Middle East is clearly for much more than "just oil." Saddam Hussein, after all, promised to supply all the oil the market needed - a promise his impoverished and unproductive economy would have forced him to keep. However, the control of such wealth by rogue regimes does greatly increase their ability to cause trouble.

The "export" of security:





  The United States exports security.  Through military aid, training of foreign officers, positioning of ships and materials, and the widespread offer of diplomatic good offices to mediate disputes, the U.S. "exports" this immensely valuable "service."

  "It consists of America giving the world something we have in abundance: a belief in the future. It is a wonderful gift, and frankly, only the United States has either the wherewithal or the generosity to actually provide it. It is one of the best things we provide the planet, and it has changed the course of human history for the better."

  As a good example of U.S. diplomatic peace keeping, Barnett refers to the intense negotiations that kept India and Pakistan from engaging in a possibly nuclear war over Kashmir after a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in December of 2001.
  The U.S. security "product" is a know product, the author explains (again invoking loaded terminology). Indeed, everywhere a crisis or chaotic situation exists, local people ask repeatedly: "Why doesn't America come in and do something about this?" Sooner or later, this question is heard everywhere in the Gap.
  With the demise of the Soviet Union, the Gap nations have become increasingly crisis and chaos prone, and the U.S. has greatly increased its military responses. However, the increase has not been nearly enough, and many violent situations in less strategic areas have had to be left without U.S. attention. Where the U.S. has made long term commitments - Japan, South Korea, East Asia - nations have responded with often spectacular rates of economic development, and some have even joined the Core.

  "That's the fundamental goal of U.S. security exports: filling both a physical and fiscal space in the region. We are the cop on the beat, making sure nobody feels too threatened by anyone else, and so their government budgets are put to better use than arms races." (Sometimes yes - sometimes no!)

  The reward for the U.S. is the development of those nations and the great broadening of Core globally open markets. Where the U.S. hasn't intervened, there you will find most of the violence in the Gap.
  And, violence prevents development.
Where the risks of violence are added on to ordinary business risks, there will be sharp reductions in industrial and commercial investment. Increasingly, private corporations operating in Gap undeveloped and developing nations include the costs of security services in their costs of doing business. If the Gap is to be reduced, the U.S. must provide a suitable security environment.

  The United Nations does provide very useful peacekeeping services around the globe - in places where there is a peace to be kept. Also, the major states of Western Europe - through NATO and individually - do provide some security services in minor trouble spots. However, they are today more than wealthy enough to do much more. Barnett lets them off much too lightly. He writes as if they are entitled to their free ride. He writes as if it is proper for the U.S. to be left holding the bag.

  Barnett is critical of the Patriot Act because it hinders the vital human flows of globalization - immigration, temporary work and education visas, tourism. He (more than a little inconsistently) criticizes the Bush (II) preemption policy as "attempting to export too much security to the Gap too fast." He asserts that it was ridiculous to believe that Iraq - the "Yugoslavia of the Middle East" - would be anything but a difficult, expensive, decades-long project. U.S. responses to 9/11 are "out of balance" with the real strategic needs of the War on Terrorism.

  Barnett states categorically that the regimes in both Iran or North Korea must "go." Does he think their overthrow poses lesser difficulties than those in Iraq - or does he just recognize such difficulties when 20/20 hindsight becomes available? At least in Iraq, approximately 80% of the population could be identified as in opposition to the Saddam regime.

  War throws everything out of balance. A serious conflict requires careful strategic choices, the author somewhat inconsistently acknowledges. Priorities are essential lest the conflict prove exhausting.

  "All must be reordered, rebalanced, and redefined, - - -. We can bankrupt our nation fiscally and morally if we are not careful in the battles we choose and the connectivity we sacrifice. Amid the avalanche of new rules we rush to apply, we can easily leave globalization permanently divided -- Core against Gap, Old Core against New Core, America against the world. We need a new ordering principle for U.S. national security, one that assures our friends as much as it deters our collective enemies."

  Barnett sums up.

   "Either the forces of connectivity prevail or the dictators of disconnectedness thrive. The cancer either spreads or we exterminate it. There is no exiting the Gap; there is only shrinking the Gap. Achieving the latter means all the bin Ladens must be defeated, no matter their ideologies, their hatreds, or their threats. For if we fail in this struggle, globalization will never become truly global, and thus will remain painfully out of balance - - -."

  Yet again, the "scenario" propaganda ploy is invoked. This stark all-or-nothing argument is obvious hogwash. Globalization is not so unified that it cannot have conflicts - and it is not so fragile that the continued existence of disconnected non-participants must constitute a mortal failure.

System perturbations:




  That a new strategic approach - a "new ordering principle" - was needed was demonstrated by the 9/11/01 attack. The old strategy based on great power conflicts is no longer appropriate.

  "To truly transform the U.S. military, we will need a system-level definition of crisis and instability in the age of globalization. My phrase for such a new ordering principle is "System Perturbations."

One traveler from China to Toronto Canada carrying the SARS disease was enough to generate travel warnings that had a serious impact on the economy of Toronto.

  Barnett confidently predicts other major terrorist attacks - other 9/11s - that will so threaten and disrupt the interconnections of the globally connected Core world as to force the government and the Pentagon to totally shift its strategic focus.

  "The Department of Homeland Security is not enough. The new Northern Command is not enough. The frightening USA Patriot Act is not enough."

  The attacks on 9/11 demonstrated that in the Gap, deterrence is not enough. Deterrence is sufficient only in the Core, where nations abide by the peaceful rule sets of globalization. In the Gap, there are people so determined to maintain disconnectedness that they will use all means available - including weapons of mass destruction. They can't be deterred. To force withdrawal of connectivity from the Gap, they will attack the connecting systems. In Barnett's words, they will seek to generate "System Perturbations."
  He outlines many of the impacts successfully caused by bin Laden in the 9/11 attack. Connectivity in the Core was materially reduced not only immediately by the attack, but more profoundly by the defensive responses.
  Terrorist attacks are not the only sources of System Perturbation in an interconnected world. One traveler from China to Toronto Canada carrying the SARS disease was enough to generate travel warnings that had a serious impact on the economy of Toronto. China was ultimately forced to change its rule sets - its methods of response - for epidemic diseases. In this way, too, the peoples of the Gap become "the most consistent source of international instability and major crisis."

Within the Defense Department, the definition of war "must go beyond warfare."

  The preemptive invasion of Iraq was a System Perturbation within the Core as well as within the Gap. Most affected were the security arrangements within Europe and the operations of the UN Security Council. The rule set changes in these arenas are still in process of working out. Many will remain unchanged, but some significant changes are likely.
  For U.S. national security, the "new ordering principle" has expanded vastly. A host of agencies within and even outside the government are now actively involved in the conflict. Within the Defense Department, the definition of war "must go beyond warfare."
  Make no mistake about it. Despite his criticism of current U.S. policy, Barnett recognizes the tremendous success of the U.S. military and the vital role played by the U.S. around the world.

  "[Not] only is the United States Government the greatest force for good the world has ever known, but the U.S. military is the single greatest instrument of that good as well. Show me a part of the world that is secure in its peace and I will show you strong or growing ties between local militaries and the U.S. military. Show me regions where major war is inconceivable and I will show you permanent U.S. military bases and long-term alliances. Show me the two strongest investment relationships in the global economy and I will show you the two postwar military occupations that remade Europe and Japan following World War II."

  Only the U.S. - "playing Leviathan throughout the Gap" - can make globalization truly global, and "a future worth creating."

  However, now the military must gear up for small war purposes. Instead of fewer more lethal weapons platforms, it needs small but more numerous weapons platforms. It needs smaller, faster ships in larger numbers - smaller, better unmanned aerial vehicles - more non-lethal technologies - stabilization forces trained and organized to put "the right boots on the ground." And, it must do this as a part of an in depth strategy taking into account not only military and peacekeeping actions abroad but also perimeter homeland defense and first responder defense within the nation.

Bush (II) strategy:



  Before 9/11/01, U.S. military strategy excluded any substantial activity in the Gap. Staying well ahead of a growing but still puny  Chinese military capability was the center of U.S. strategic focus. Iraq was just an annoying distraction, and nation building was to be avoided like the proverbial plague. Peace in the Middle East was considered undoable.

  The Bush (II) administration really had no interest in "empire" of any sort. Their "future worth creating" concerned only the Core.
  Thus, conspiracy theories about 9/11/01 are pure nonsense, Barnett affirms. Those attacks really did destroy existing Bush (II) strategic plans and propel them along previously shunned paths. The attacks provided a radically different rationale for defense transformation, and thus radically changed the defense transformation being pursued.
  Barnett gives the Bush (II) administration credit for its rapid recognition of the importance of conditions in the Gap. So far, however, that is limited to the Middle East - but that is the logical place to begin. Barnett worries, however, lest the effort be confined to the Middle East.

  This is not precisely true, as Barnett undoubtedly knows. In numerous ways, U.S. regular and special forces units and intelligence personnel are operating all over the Gap - gaining intelligence, shoring up friends and confounding adversaries - in traditional small wars fashion. In fact, they were thus busily engaged even well before 9/11/01 - the effort has simply intensified.

  In the Middle East, the author asserts, the U.S. military is being forced to adjust in many ways that will facilitate its "Leviathan" role elsewhere in the Gap.

Shrinking the Gap:



The Defense Department now understands the connection between globalization and prosperity and worldwide security.

  The Iraq war is viewed by Barnett not as an isolated event, but as an initial step in the essential effort to expand the connectivity of globalization into the Gap. The Defense Department now understands the connection between globalization and prosperity and worldwide security.

  "Where this all leads to is extending our security rule sets around the planet, shrinking the Gap by integrating it with the Core, thus making globalization truly global. The main struggle of our age is over how best to achieve connectivity that is just and ordered, and the main threats we face are those forces determined to pursue disconnectedness as a means for power and control."

The disconnectedness makes economic development impossible and leaves the populace in hopeless despair - a perfect reservoir for militant Islamist recruitment.

  The effort begins with the Middle East, where endemic deficits of freedom, economic development and security hinder connectivity and block globalization. The security deficit especially hinders the progress of connectivity with the rest of the world. In turn, the disconnectedness makes economic development impossible and leaves the populace in hopeless despair - a perfect reservoir for militant Islamist recruitment.
  Bin Laden attempted to chase the West out of the Middle East by creating a System Perturbation in the Core - by threatening Core connectivity. The U.S. has appropriately struck back by creating a System Perturbation within the Middle East - sending "all the region's rule sets into flux." The U.S. must destroy disconnectedness in the Middle East, to extend globalization and freedom and hope for improved personal lives to the people.

A "future worth creating" must be demonstrated in the Middle East.


There are plenty of forces within the Core who favor disconnectedness over connectedness, and we will face as many battles with them in coming years as we will face with the bin Ladens of the Gap.

  Thus, "Iraq becomes the great battlefield for the soul of the whole region," Barnett points out. Security within the U.S. was in fact reduced by the Iraq war, but that was temporary. The follow-on effort to extend globalization and its connectivity throughout the region is what will increase security throughout the Core. Indeed, Barnett insists, that is the only way it can be done.
  The task in Iraq will be difficult. Bin Laden and neighboring autocratic states will be stirring the pot, seeking to disrupt progress. The U.S. will need broad-based help from Core states for the redevelopment effort. A "future worth creating" must be demonstrated in the Middle East.
  Barnett raises the fear of chaos in the region as the Core nations develop alternative energy systems that reduce demand for oil. There is a race to develop the diverse, connected economic systems essential to prevent the region from descending to the levels of sub-Saharan Africa.

  Here, the author demonstrates a disconcerting ignorance of market mechanisms. The price of oil will certainly continue to have its downs as well as its ups - and some of the downs may be severe - especially during some severe worldwide recession. Over time, alternatives will become increasingly prominent - and will put a cap on how high oil prices can go on a sustained basis.
  However, there is no likelihood that alternative energy systems will render hydrocarbon energy sources obsolete anytime in the foreseeable future. Indeed, price declines during recessions will prove more challenging for alternatives than for oil. A utopia of abundant alternative forms of energy is not yet in sight.

  "What is so amazingly courageous about what the Bush Administration has done in trying to generate a Big Bang throughout the Middle East is that it has committed our nation to shrinking a major portion of the Gap in one fell swoop."

  To achieve its own security, the U.S. knows that it must create "a future worth living for a billion Muslims" that could just as easily have been "consigned to the past." As Barnett points out - correctly - the Bush (II) administration has rolled the dice in Iraq - and the stakes are HUGE - for Iraq, for the Middle East, and for the entire world. He notes that the adverse forces ranged against this effort come from the Core as well as from the Gap.

  "I know my Core-Gap division often makes the world seem too neat, because, in reality, there are plenty of forces within the Core who favor disconnectedness over connectedness, and we will face as many battles with them in coming years as we will face with the bin Ladens of the Gap. That is because many governments in the Core still view the world system as a balance of powers, and so any rise in U.S. influence or presence in the Middle East is seen as a loss of their influence or presence there. Too many of these 'great powers' are led by small minds who prefer America's failures to the Core's expansion, because they see their national interests enhanced by the former and diminished by the latter. They prefer the Gap's continuing suffering to their own loss of prestige, and they should be ashamed for their selfishness."

  This perceptive paragraph is more than just a little inconsistent with Barnett's views in the rest of the book concerning the "unity" of "fellow" Core members.

  For the first time, there are significant voices in the Middle East saying "Why not?" to the question of modernity, freedom, prosperity and hope. Barnett does not minimize the risks of failure. The U.S. could get sucked into an interminable "intifada" that would scare away international support and drain public support in the U.S. The outcome is uncertain, Barnett concedes, but success is possible.

  It is a mistake of colossal proportions to underestimate the desires of peoples to live free. Military occupation is always at best a wasting asset for the U.S. The U.S. must do what it can in the limited time available and then turn over control to indigenous forces. Lacking the most effective tactics for military suppression of insurgencies, it is this desire of peoples to live free that the U.S. must depend on for successful outcomes for its military occupations.

All this effort is likely to fail if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved.

  However, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the nub of the matter. All this effort is likely to fail if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved. The much-maligned Israeli wall actually offers the best chance for peace, Barnett correctly notes. The West should step in to provide security along the wall for Israel and significant economic aid to get the Palestinian economy going.
  This has to be a long-term commitment - like those of the Cold War. Two or three decades of intensive effort will be required.

  "[The] Core will need to pour aid into the West Bank and Gaza for two or three decades, or long enough to wait out all the hatred that currently suffocates peace there. By that time, the extremists in the West Bank will be gone or buried, and Palestinians will finally raise a generation untouched by war. It will not be too much money, nor will it take too long."

  Here, again, the author is much too optimistic. In thirty years, it will be the children who fought the intifada who will be in control in Palestine. Eighty years is thus a more realistic estimate - and even that may prove insufficient. Palestinian children are indoctrinated with hatred based on the establishment of Israel. Indeed, the wall may become a primary grievance, and Western peacekeepers themselves may become targets. The wall is just one of an abundance of potential grievances available to sustain the suffocating hatreds.

  Military victory in Iraq by itself is strategically insignificant, Barnett points out. It is only the "everything else" that can make it worth winning. The "everything else" is what brings globalization to Iraq and connects its people with the globally connected Core. It is this broader need and strategic objective that alone justifies the military effort. This must be understood, acknowledged and explained to the American people and the peoples of the world.

The "Leviathan" of the Gap:

  The U.S. must serve as "globalization's bodyguard" wherever needed throughout the Gap, Barnett asserts. It should play "Leviathan across the Gap and 'system administrator' to the Core's ever-deepening security community."

  Only the U.S. can do this. If the U.S. doesn't choose to act, nobody else will lift a finger.
  It is still important for the U.S. military to retain its overwhelming conventional war superiority, Barnett acknowledges (yet again being a bit inconsistent). However, it must now greatly expand its small war, nation building and peace keeping capabilities. At least for the last two functions, it should expect significant help from other Core nations.
  The logic of the War on Terror is driving this transformation process. The change is actually a return to the kind of military the U.S. has traditionally had - with the Navy and marines engaging in numerous small war activities while the Army prepared for more serious business. See, Boot, "The Savage Wars of Peace."

  Barnett sums up his vision for U.S. grand strategy:

  "In sum, shrinking the Gap gets us the final piece to the puzzle that is global peace. The end of the Cold War solved the threat of global conflict, and America's continued willingness to play Leviathan has effectively ended state-on-state war. What stands between us and the goal of making globalization truly global is the threats posed by the forces of disconnectedness -- the bad individual actors that plague the Gap. Defeat them by denying them the Gap as their own and the Core wins this war on terrorism, plain and simple."

"Remove America's export of security from that global equation and you will witness arms races cropping up all over the world, defense spending skyrocketing all over the Core, and mass violence erupting all over the Gap."


It has been the U.S. security presence in numerous trouble spots across the Gap that has sufficiently dampened chaos to permit the prosperity of the 1990s and the unceasing globalizing integration between Old Core and New Core states.

  This conflict will be won primarily by the Core private sector - advancing by investments as permitted to bring globalization's connectivity and economic development into the Gap. However, this advance requires security. War zones, failed states and terrorist havens will deter economic development.

  States that do not facilitate the people's commerce are actually the primary obstacles. The trade barriers between Gap states are actually much higher than the barriers they face from Core nations. Core nation obstacles to the exports of impoverished Gap nations are unconscionable, but Gap nations have no one to blame for their poverty but their own obstructive governance.

  Barnett offers a rogues gallery of oppressive despots who should "go" so their peoples may prosper. These include Kim Jong Il, Chavez, Mugabe, Castro, Qaddafi, and Columbia's drug lords. They not only repress their own peoples, they also reduce the economic prospects in neighboring states.
  The author presents a glowing appreciation of the benefits to the U.S. and the world of U.S. security efforts since WW-II. The result at the end of the 20th century was a quarter century of the greatest most widespread peace and prosperity the world has ever known. That is the justifiable objective of U.S. international security policy, and its just reward for the security efforts involved. The U.S. has been and remains the essential nation for peace, prosperity and progress in world affairs.

  "Remove America's export of security from that global equation and you will witness arms races cropping up all over the world, defense spending skyrocketing all over the Core, and mass violence erupting all over the Gap. That will not just depress our wonderful standard of living, it will cost the lives of millions upon millions. We can decide that America's 'national security' is all about keeping Americans alive and to hell with the rest of the world, but that pathway will yield a hell across much of the world. Simply put, we can pay up front or get billed later, but globalization's advance will not wait for America to remuster a will once lost. By the time America were to reengage such a dysfunctional world, globalization would be lost."

  This is what happened in the "Roaring Twenties," with the result that the world fell apart economically, politically, and then militarily before the U.S. became reengaged. Today, the alternative to U.S. engagement, as Barnett presents it, is increasing chaos in the Gap - spreading to the Core through existing requirements for Gap natural resources.

  Again, the stark all-or-nothing choices of the "scenario" propaganda ploy! This is great for propaganda, but is of little help for real analysis.
  An isolationist U.S. retreat from the world as in the 1920s would of course be disastrous. However, as stated above, the real question is not whether the U.S. should remain engaged, but what the level of its efforts should be - or can be - at particular times in different regions and situations - a much more nuanced analytical question.

  It has been the U.S. security presence in numerous trouble spots across the Gap, Barnett correctly points out, that has sufficiently dampened chaos to permit the prosperity of the 1990s and the unceasing globalizing integration between Old Core and New Core states.

The "security product:"

  The quality and importance of the "security product" provided by the U.S. is repeatedly emphasized by Barnett. It is an "export"  that is the "crucial ingredient to extending globalization."

  The Pentagon is the Leviathan "that will eventually outlaw all mass violence in the Gap." It is the System Administrator that "must make right every security deficit it seeks to fill."

  This is a breathtakingly ambitious strategic objective.

  Barnett accurately points out the improvements occurring in the Balkans. These improvements have been widespread - not only in Bosnia and Kosovo, where security and nation-building have been undertaken, but also in all the neighboring states. The political and commercial environment has improved immensely with the removal of the regional disruptions. He predicts similar improvements in Central Asia now that there is an American military presence in the region.

  "The Persian Gulf of tomorrow will scarcely resemble today's if America successfully generates security and connectivity in an Iraq where, for an entire generation, there was nothing but isolation and war."

  Realistically, Barnett recognizes that the other Core nations must lend substantial assistance in the integration process. The U.S. can't do it alone. The entire Core benefits immensely from the reduction of turmoil worldwide and the expansion of markets into the Gap.

  "Yes, we can wage war without asking anyone's permission or help, but the idea that we can somehow wage war isolated from the web of economic and political transactions we are continuously conducting with the outside world is simply ludicrous. In the era of globalization, there is only war within the context of everything else, and the idiots who sometimes wage war as though it were an end unto itself."

  Humanitarian assistance, crisis response to contain problems, military deterrence of aggressive local despots, and military presence are all part of the "security services" required to damp down the chaos, secure the connectivity that exists, and encourage further positive developments.
  If the U.S. clearly explains its broader purposes of reducing chaos and spreading the benefits of globalization in the Gap - if it demonstrates its commitment by building a military capable of providing long-term nation-building as well as war fighting capabilities - Barnett is confident that other Core nations will willingly join in the peacekeeping and nation-building phases to lighten the load. It will be in their interest to do so. He asserts:

  "Build it and they will come, - - -."

  Businesses from the major Core states will, of course, be attracted to commercial opportunities after reasonable levels of security are established and risk-reward ratios are improved. Peacekeeping where there is a peace to be kept will continue to attract broad support. However, Core governments simply will not commit substantial resources to such a broad-scale effort.

The "small war" military:



  An entirely different mind-set is required for the military apparatus that deals with short small wars and long complicated crises. This military apparatus must be prepared to act as "System Administrator" to suppress insurgents and coordinate the myriad tasks of nation-building. Only with successful post-conflict administrative efforts can military efforts bring some real lasting advantage, Barnett points out.

  The Pentagon is now in reality divided into a "Department of War" and a "Department of Everything Else." The former is determinedly unilateralist. The latter understands the need for understanding and support from society, allies, and the UN. The latter is desperately aware of its need for a host of skills and capabilities that were not available when they marched into Baghdad.

  "War must yield to peace, disconnectedness to connectivity, Gap to Core. If the Pentagon is not on board with this vision, then it will be forced to change."

  Where the big war military concentrates on rapid offense, the small war System Administrator will concentrate on defense of essential facilities against insurgent attacks and the endurance needed for nation building. It will focus on "civilian partnerships to be maintained, allied forces to be integrated, and political victories to be won. It will serve as hub to the many spokes involved in post conflict security generation, humanitarian relief, and national reconstruction."
  It will secure and facilitate U.S. international, allied and indigenous agencies and a host of non-governmental organizations active in the nation-building effort. This force "will not be in a hurry to leave, and will remain until the locals are ready to assume control or the UN mission is up and running."

  "All broken windows will be fixed before this force departs, and the American public will come to understand that these are the troops that remain after we 'bring the boys home.'"

  These two forces will eventually divide in many ways. The small war force will be older, with more women and more civilian and policing skills. It will be available for homeland emergencies and, Barnett believes, it will be more likely to be subject to civilian law - even eventually to the International Criminal Court.

  Nothing would strengthen isolationists in the U.S. as much as any effort by international critics to bring U.S. service or occupation personnel to account in an international court.

  Many of its personnel will rotate in-and-out of civilian careers based on the skills they bring to the military. Since it will work with allied and international agencies, it will enjoy financial support from Core nations. (Good Luck!) It will train and employ Gap personnel to perform security duties.
  Barnett assumes that the big war U.S. military will remain so superior and precise that it will be able to destroy its targets without extensive collateral damage.

  But nuclear deterrence still depends on a credible threat of mass slaughter - and potential opponents are already busily enmeshing military assets within highly populated areas. This notion that the U.S. is obliged to avoid civilian casualties is likely to cause some future conflict to result in substantially greater civilian casualties. The adversaries of the U.S. - rogue regimes and terrorists - care not about civilian casualties.

  He goes on at some length speculating on how the various military assets will be shared or divided between the two roles. "In essence, our success in shrinking the Gap will be reflected by the diminution of the Leviathan's budget, and the expansion of the Sys Admin's funding."

  "[The war objective that is proper and just is to] leave societies more connected than we found them, with the potential for self-driven connectivity either restored or left intact. We cannot demand democracy or free markets or adherence to some 'imperial order' from vanquished foes, but merely transparency and the preservation of individual choice regarding connectivity with the outside world."
  "The American way of war needs that moral edge. We need to be liberators, not mere protectors of the status quo. Our wars need to expand the good, not simply check the evil. We spent the Cold War trying to put so much fear out of our minds that we lost track of America's revolutionary story line, which sees us remaking the world in our own image, connectivity, and the rule of law."

  Barnett provides a long, passionate justification for the aggressive pursuit of his vision. He attempts to provide some of the details of what this means in terms of strategy and tactics - military and political. He offers a list of the causes for war that the U.S. will respond to. Realistically, he recognizes that the "connectivity" that must be protected includes the flows of oil and other essential natural resources - and that Africa is of lesser strategic importance and must not distract the U.S. from its efforts in the Persian Gulf.

  Omitted from this impressive and well reasoned segment is acknowledgement of the difficulties that can arise from conflict in jungles or along borders that offer refuge for opponents and protected lines of supply. Also, there are some "bad actors" that generate significant popular support due to religious, ethnic or ideological factors. In Iraq, there is an intransigent Sunni population that grieves for its loss of privileged status under Saddam Hussein. The author simply assumes that eventually such opposition can be overcome - something that may or may not be the case - especially since the U.S. no longer targets or confines such supportive civilian populations or strips them of economic assets.
  Omitted is the continued strategic requirement that the U.S. continue to get along with - and even act in cooperation with - nonbelligerent despots. This strategy has been essential for the success of U.S. military efforts throughout the 20th century. Among the many despots with whom the U.S. has found common cause are Saddam Hussein and good old Uncle Joe Stalin himself. Because of its very real limitations, it remains essential for the U.S. to maintain a nonthreatening posture towards all nonbelligerent states. The blunt fact is that the U.S. cannot afford to multiply its enemies, and must use allies wherever it can find them.
  To repeat, the author assumes that the U.S. will not eventually get into a draining arms race with China - an assumption of a fact truly not in evidence. Like the British Navy before WW-I, the U.S. has worldwide responsibilities, while its most likely adversary does not. China has the great advantage of being able to concentrate primarily on a potential major conflict in the Taiwan strait.

What is needed now is a clear explanation to the world that the U.S. has identified its national interest with the expansion of the benefits of globalization throughout the Gap, and its continued development within the Core.


The professional negativity in the State Department has to end, because their role is vital for successful efforts to peacefully remove obstacles to the connectivity of globalization.

  Some of the adjustments needed in the Defense Department and other U.S. government agencies to implement the "shrink the Gap" strategy are explained by the author. He is especially emphatic that the professional negativity in the State Department has to end. Their role is vital for successful efforts to peacefully remove obstacles to the connectivity of globalization.

  With commendable candor, Barnett acknowledges a youthful flirtation with utopian leftist concepts. While his attraction to Marx has long since been abandoned, this book reveals that his utopian mind-set remains. He still demonstrates the Marxian predilection for playing semantics games with loaded terminology for propaganda purposes. Military security activities suddenly become a "product" or "services" for "export" rather than a burden for the nation to bear.
  He assumes that all the obstacles that bedevil internationalist concepts can be swept away. He does not discuss the pressures that will arise during periodic downturns in the business cycle. He totally omits any mention of the financial weakness rushing upon the U.S. as a result of even its current level of security effort and its explosively increasing welfare state burdens. Major Core states like the U.S. can either play a robust security role or maintain welfare states. They cannot financially do both.
  The U.S. is a modern welfare state democracy increasingly characterized by single son and single child families. Nation building is a difficult task of long duration and dubious prospects. Indeed, it can take decades - until new generations have matured - and may in certain third world states at this time not be a feasible objective.
  The current conflict in Iraq exposes how easily the U.S. can become overstretched in its long term commitments. The power of the U.S. has definite limits. This means that it is still vital to keep priorities in mind, and to carefully husband financial and military reserves.
  Convenient targets of opportunity should, of course, be taken advantage of. Democracy movements should be encouraged wherever they arise. Diplomatic good offices should be extended liberally to help resolve ongoing conflicts in which the U.S. has too little strategic interest to justify the costs of military intervention - as currently in Darfur.
  It is of course too much to expect that France or Germany will risk their commercial interests in the Middle East by taking the lead in such instances, or that the Arab League - with U.S. logistical support - will deign to act so as to make Western intervention in their region unnecessary. For reasons such as this, it is obviously still the United States that is the last best hope for mankind. In any significant conflict, when the world dials 911 - the emergency number in the U.S. - if the U.S. doesn't respond, the odds are that nobody will.
  That basic dictum of strategy remains true today for the United States: "He who attacks everything everywhere risks gaining nothing anywhere."

Post-Cold War myths: 

 Three widespread national security myths are debunked by Barnett at the end of this book.

The U.S. must engage intelligently in the soft-power propaganda contest.

  • Global chaos and unending war: The demise of the Soviet Union is believed to have loosed a deluge of ethnic and separatist strife that threatens to destabilize the world.

  However, the overarching fact is that the post-Cold War conflicts have never reached disruptive proportions.

  1. The global economy grew approximately 30%, global poverty rates declined about 20%, and trade and investment flows have expanded significantly as a percent of GDP. There is nothing in this economic picture that reflects disruption - much less chaos.
  2. The magnitude of global warfare has declined by about 50% since peaking in the 1980s.
  3. World military spending has declined about 16% - and would be much less if not for the recent spending increases of the U.S. and China.
  4. U.S. military crisis responses have risen somewhat - but the vast bulk of them involve just four locations - Somalia, Haiti, the former Yugoslavia, and Iraq. While incidents involving actual combat have doubled, about 80% of these crises still don't involve combat.
  5. Separatist conflicts did increase - especially within the old Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. However, since the mid 1990s, they have declined to the lowest number since 1960 as many reached political settlement. (Many of these settlements, however, remain more than a little shaky.)
  • America as GloboCop: Worldwide chaos is forcing the U.S. to overextend itself dealing with myriad crises.

  However, U.S. military intervention currently involves only 10 significant situations - all within the Gap. This involves only about 5% of the approximately 200 states in the world. There are three times as many conflicts that the U.S. has not become involved in.

  Diplomatic, financial assistance, and military advisory involvement are far more widespread.

  • The "American Empire:" This is an oxymoronic perversion of the term "empire" useful only for anti-American propaganda.

  However, to the extent that it reflects glorified views of U.S. dominance, it is dangerous. The U.S. must engage intelligently in the soft-power propaganda contest, Barnett warns. Macho statements like "Who's next?" and "Bring it on!" or "World War" play into the hands of opponents, frighten friends, and fail to convey the real thrust of U.S. efforts.
  The U.S. has to make clear that its objectives are to secure the myriad freedoms and connectivity of globalization, remove threats to the existence of globalization and obstacles to its spread, and ultimately to encourage the spread of the blessings of the connectivity of globalization worldwide. As long as they are not broadly disruptive, where individual peoples and states choose to go with that freedom is up to them.

  "[Offering] connectivity is not the same as mandating content; the former involves enforcing minimal rule sets, the latter maximal rule sets. America seeks global adherence to protocols, nothing more.

  In removing Saddam Hussein, all the U.S. accomplished was to give the Iraqi people a chance to establish connections to the outside world - and a chance to demonstrate to the Arab world the prosperity and freedom that they can come to enjoy.

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  Copyright 2005 Dan Blatt