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
« This may be the Droid you're looking for | Main | Iraq's rule-sets need to be rationalized »
6:40AM

The Next Berlin Wall Moment SPECIAL FEATURE OF WPR

From the World Politics Review front page:


Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, WPR asked six prominent commentators what feature of today's geopolitical landscape might not be as durable as we imagine. Thomas P.M. Barnett, Ian Bremmer and Alexander Kliment, Nikolas Gvosdev, Walter Russell Mead, and Jacqueline Newmyer examine The Next "Berlin Wall Moment."

 

 

alamo1.png

Tom's piece is entitled the The Austin Accords of March, 2031

Historic treaty ushers in long-anticipated era of U.S. southward expansion.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Meeting in the New Texas statehouse on the 195th anniversary of Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico, official representatives from the Tejas Confederation, the Northern Alliance of Mexican States, and the United States government signed a comprehensive treaty that will immediately "re-admit" the Tejas states of El Norte and Gulfland to the American union, and submit to Congress formal pleas for new statehood on behalf of all five Northern Alliance members -- Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Continue reading today's special column at WPR.

Tom's comment about the piece:

Previous to being offered this job, I had run a bit of scenario work past Judah Grunstein at WPR, so when he asked me to pen something and told me what the others were already working on, my mind was already leaning toward just a straight-forward future-headline approach to the problem, vice a piece stuffed with conditional language and a list of causal factors that supported the hypothesis. So I ended up with a piece that is a total zebra among these well-built horses. Of the group, I find myself most easily attracted to the Bremmer/Kliment piece on state capitalism and the CCP-loses-legitimacy bit from Newmyer (especially the line: "As a primary matter, we should recall that China's Communist Party elites are the heirs of a dynastic system famously characterized by cycles, in which the legitimacy of a ruling house could vanish in the space of a generation.").

Again, I just felt it would be easier for the reader to grasp what we were fishing at by presenting him or her with a fait accompli, and since all the current talk about gangs, drug lords, Mexico-as-a-failed-state, etc., seemed to me to provide more than enough imaginative momentum to a downstream scenario that broke a lot of china--from today's perspective, so why not simply describe that journey and let the reader judge the plausibility?

As for describing an Hispanic president: I figured from the Berlin Wall moment perspective, we saw four elections and then an African-American won, so projecting ahead another four (Obama reelected, then Petraeus for 1-2 and an unnamed third president following him for 1-2) meant I could do the same sleight of hand regarding an Hispanic. The "soft border" concept comes, naturally, from the whole Af-Pak-India cluster (Pashtun to the north, Kashmir to the south), and then I toss in the Cuba scenario from past Esquire use, and run with the scenarios of state division so favored by many thinkers. In short, I wanted to respect the forcing function suggested by Robb's global guerrillas while showing the adaptability of nation-states.

I wrote the piece over two days: Day one got me the news story and the outline of the phases (imagined as a box inset alongside the piece), and day two saw me fill in the phases, which required a lot of recalibration for the storyline to hold enough water.

Overall, a very fun piece to write and hopefully a fun one to consider as a reader.

Reader Comments (4)

Anything is possible but more likely is TEXAS SUCCESSION movement succeeding now that TEXANS realize NO MORE US PRESIDENTS from that STATE.
November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam R. Cumming
Interesting. What about Cuba? Once Fidel is gone and his generation of old hard liners with him we might see an effort to request stronger political ties to the U.S. A few generations down the road or even sooner it might happen. US investiment will come first...hotels and casinos...then fast food and...goodbye Coobah.

So Tom, if our southern border were lowered to include those Mexican states...would they come in as Democrats or Republicans? The immigrtion issue would no longer be a factor for them.
November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor
Ted,

Read the piece.
November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Barnett
Fascinating approach to write American History IN THE FUTURE. Most entertaining. Makes one think "out of the box". I remember a year or so how intigued you were that we seemed to be stuck at 50 states. Interesting to imagine surging to 62 primarily as a means to peacefully solve major problems both within & with our neighbors.
November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElmer Humes

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>