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« Reviewing the Reviews (Bay Area Political Review) | Main | Catching up on some old "Sound and Fury" in Esquire »
6:14PM

Reviewing the Reviews (Charlotte Observer)

Here's the full text, followed by my commentary:

 


Posted on Mon, Aug. 15, 2005

`Map' makes sense of disturbing events in a shaky world


CHASE SAUNDERS


Special to the Observer


THE PENTAGON'S NEW WAR MAP: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Thomas P.M. Barnett. Berkley Trade. 448 pages. $16.



The collapse of the Soviet Union. The role of the United States military. 9-11. American foreign policy. The global economy. The invasion of Iraq. The Madrid bombing. The London bombing. Is there anyone who can make sense of these events? Are they connected, and what can we do about them?


Thomas P.M. Barnett provides some answers. He is a Harvard-educated Naval War College professor with security clearances who studies and briefs the Pentagon on strategic planning.


His "The Pentagon's New War Map" provides a timely and profound analysis of the role in which the United States finds itself as the world's dominant power. Barnett's thesis is that the 20th century convinced the great nation-states that world wars and even wars between large nations were no longer viable. That lesson was learned over a century in two major world wars, regional proxy wars, a long Cold War and the interruption of global commerce begun in the late 19th century.


As the 20th century ended with the fall of the Soviet Union, we were left with a world engaging in increasingly interconnected transactions with commercial, financial and Internet-based connectivity. All the major global powers were becoming players in a new globalized, connected world. This produced an integrated core which moved toward shared values as a result of interaction. Barnett emphasizes that this core is evolving from an old model featuring the United States and Europe to a new one in which India and China are increasingly important.


Barnett sees the United States as the ideological parent of this new globally connected world. That ideology features a vision of a world moving toward freedom of choice, of movement, of expression, of life, of liberty, and of a chance to pursue happiness. "We are connectivity personified," he writes, but our vision is not universally shared. It has enemies that threaten connectivity and civilization.


As 9-11 taught us, there is a hostile world of those who fear connectivity and the freedoms we represent. Its leaders seek to enslave their populations and prohibit their participation in globalization. Those individuals, not nations, seek to destroy lines of communication and commerce in order to ensure their hegemony through tyranny. Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe and the like fall into that category. They are in mortal conflict with the world of connectivity. They are disconnected from the rest of the world. His new Pentagon map identifies those countries as the sources where most military and humanitarian resources are being spent.


Barnett's perceives a world "in which wars have become obsolete, where dictators fear for their lives more than democratically elected leaders, and where the world's great armies no longer plan great wars but instead focus on stopping bad individuals from doing bad things." To deal with those threats the military must be re-configured to provide not just a fighting machine, but also a machine that rebuilds countries, as in the case of the Marshall Plan, so that they can be reconnected to the world.


Chase Saunders of Charlotte is a former Superior Court judge.

 

COMMENTARY: Funny thing is, this review really isn't that different than the Bay Area Political Review one: both say, serious thinker with serious ideas. BAPR just finds me a fright, while this former judge finds me a comfort.

 

Find the original at: < href="http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/opinion/12385606.htm">http://www.charlotte.com

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