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Tuesday
May112010

Preface for "Blueprint for Action"

PREFACE: A FUTURE WORTH CREATING

A grand strategy requires a grand vision, and that is what I sought to provide in my first book, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century. The response to that book within the U.S. defense community was, and continues to be, overwhelming, but likewise challenging. Long-range planners at various regional commands, as well as at the Pentagon, have embraced its global perspective and the strategic requirements for change that it portends, but they, like so many other readers, quickly cracked the code of the first book: the implied blueprint for action is simply so much larger than anything the Defense Department can manage.

That was the book’s great limitation: it explained the world’s fundamental dynamics—or the rule sets that govern globalization—as viewed from the military outward, and many nonmilitary readers were left wondering how they and their communities could join this larger effort to reshape the international security environment upon which all economic activity and political stability ultimately depend. Some readers, too, had difficulties with points regarding the use of force, believing that no discussion of peace can ever admit rationales for war. In reality, of course, security is necessary but never sufficient for lasting peace.

That first volume related how globalization has spread to encompass two-thirds of the world’s population, defined as the global economy’s Functioning Core, and how one-third of humanity remains trapped outside this peaceful sphere in regions that are weakly connected to the global economy, or what I call the Non-Integrating Gap. Since the end of the Cold War, all the wars and civil wars and genocide have occurred within the Gap, and so my vision of ending war “as we know it” begins with shrinking this Gap and ends with making globalization truly global and eradicating the disconnectedness that defines danger in the world today.

This vision propels a strategy for the United States, one that makes the audacious demand that America equate its national security with that of globalization’s continued survival and success. In so arguing, I reconnect America’s national security strategy to a global peace strategy, much as it had been during the Cold War, when our defense of the West against threats from the East spoke not just to our own nation’s survival but to that of freedom around the world as well.

America forgot that connection across the 1990s, enamored as we were with the notion that globalization’s unstoppable march around the planet would solve all security problems lying in its path. We learned differently on September 11, 2001. We learned that globalization, and all the freedom it fosters through connectivity, requires a bodyguard, because there are still numerous forces throughout the Gap and even inside the Core working against it.

The goals are universal inclusiveness and global peace. As fantastic as those goals might seem in the early years of a global war on terrorism, they speak to a future worth creating, and so I have made the enunciation of this strategy my life’s work. Readers throughout the U.S. defense establishment, as well as those serving in militaries the world over, made clear in their responses to the first book that they desired more than an accurate description of today’s security environment and a grand strategy for directing its ultimate improvement. They wanted a description of the journey. They wanted an enunciation of the crucial tasks ahead: the rule sets to be forged, the institutions to be built, the peace to be won.

This second volume delivers them.

I do not offer this blueprint lightly, because I am both sobered by the sacrifices already rendered in this conflict and deeply cognizant of those lying ahead. I have spent my adult life living among, and working with, the U.S. military, a force for global good that I believe has no equal, and I have watched loved ones depart our shores for service in war zones, knowing that their sacrifices made them not better Americans but true Americans—generous to both their fellow citizens and the world’s citizens.

I believe America finds itself in such generosity, such sacrifice, such love. There will always be enemies of connectedness and the freedom it engenders, but this book is about not just the defeat of such enemies but the victory of our ideals. Those ideals exist only to the extent that we make them real in our words, deeds, and legacy. This blueprint is not about them but us—what we stand for and what we believe in.

Since I wrote The Pentagon’s New Map, I have come to believe ever more deeply in America’s fundamental purpose as source code for this era’s successful and far-reaching brand of globalization. We have set in motion a powerful networking effect that encompasses economic and technological connectivity of the highest order yet seen. But we still have much to do. Yes, we must help the Gap join that existing connectivity. But we must likewise help the world as a whole—both Core and Gap—create networks of political and security connectivity commensurate with the mutually assured dependence that now exists among all states that are deeply integrated with the growing global economy.

The world needs to play catch-up, so to speak. We need to make sure our security rule sets match our growing network connectivity, and that our political rule sets keep pace with our economic transactions. We need balance, pure and simple, not moving ahead any faster than the slowest among us can manage, and not waging wars without waging peace—lest our victories prove illusory.

To state this great requirement and to achieve it are two vastly different things. But I don’t simply believe that America can make a difference; I know that America is the difference: between success and failure, between stability and strife, between creating a better future for our children and expecting them to restore what we’ve let come undone.

None of what this book advocates will be easy, but all is feasible if we stop treating other great powers as rivals and start treating them as equals in desire, if not capability. America has created many new rules since 9/11, but the only ones that matter in the end are those recognized by other nations and taken up as their own. Globalization comes with rules but not a ruler. We may propose but never impose, because the difference between the leader and the led is not merely their competing visions of power but the power of their competing visions.

America is up to this task. I don’t speak of possibilities here but inevitabilities. The work will eventually be done, if not by our leadership then by the leadership of others. I simply believe that if something is worth doing tomorrow, then it’s worth doing today, and that if we know America can do it, then Americans should do it.

Let us begin.

T.P.M.B.
4 July 2005

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