Receive "The World According to Tom Barnett" Brief
Where I Work
Search the Site
Buy Tom's Books
  • Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Emily V. Barnett
Monthly Archives
Powered by Squarespace
« 12-step recovery program for America from Great Powers | Main | Live by the SWORD »
2:06AM

The book first mistake found--by me.

Actually, I already discovered an odd discrepancy that isn't a mistake but rather just an inconsistency that preys on my tiny mind like a hobgoblin.

I'll reveal that in one of my future "director's commentaries."

This one is just a present-tense sentence WRT Bush-Cheney on page 14. I've tried several times to read it charitably as an arch construction but the grammatical mistake (okay, just in an historical sense since the book comes out officially on 5 Feb 09) is clear.

In effect, both Moscow and Beijing suspect the Bush administration is trying to erect close-in strategic missile defense capabilities against their own nuclear arsenals, raising the unholy specter of America trying to eliminate its vulnerability not just to terrorist strikes but to the very logic of mutually assured destruction itself, thus calling into question the entire stability of nuclear deterrence as a strategic bulwark against great-power war.

The next sentence begins badly in the same sense/tense, but I can fudge my guilt there because the sentence immediately shifts into past tense:

It is this kind of behavior that got us Russia threatening to target our missile defense sites and China staging a showy shoot-down of its own satellite--clear signaling that neither state will let America permanently tilt the correlation of strategic forces in its favor. Can we achieve such a permanent tilt in this manner? Not really.

I include those last two sentence for the pro-missile defense types who like to argue that our puny defense plans for Eastern Europe shouldn't scare the Russians: i.e., I acknowledge that, but that--as I continue in the next sentence--"only makes our behavior seem all the more provocative--as in, What else do the Americans have up their sleeves?"

I know, Neil, I know: in any book of this length, the mistakes inevitably emerge. But damn it! I caught and corrected the present-tense usages in the next para (on the Final Pass) and then cleverly did a universal search of the rest of the text--but only forward from that point!

ARRRRRRRRGH!

Still, the books reads great.

I will try not to spend a second longer on this nit--as much as they drive me nucking futs!

We pursue all such corrections in the paperback a year from now. Sean will set up a space for readers to send any other nits they discover.

Reader Comments (3)

Ouch.

But, yeah, don't beat yourself up.

The editing effort was solid and mostly effective.

No book is pristine.
January 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLexington Green
Deliverying an education of the big picture strategy is the goal. I get your point and don't see the past / present-future tense "problem" that you do. Don't sweat the small stuff.

The point, I think, is that every action has a corresponding reaction and we need to consider the other great power national interests, anticipating their next moves, like in a chess match. It reads fine enough, your point is clear.
January 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVoteWithTroops
Easy Tom, I’m betting that regardless of the level of education of your readers most of us won’t pick up on the small stuff until at least the third or forth read through. Me I’m planning on ripping through the first read so quick that I doubt if I’d pick up on the word fish typed thrice.
January 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Sutton

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>