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    Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
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    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
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    The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
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    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
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2:36PM

The Esquire/War College/Putnam blur

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 19 May 2004


Working for three masters is both good and great (let's be honest).


Esquire wants to promote the heck out of the article, and Putnam wants to promote the heck out of the book. Meanwhile, the War College public affairs people want to promote the heck out of the college, and right now, I'm one fast-moving target. So the synergy gets thick.


Today is a blur of emails, negotiations, phone calls, scheduling and interviews. I am struggling to stay ahead of the flow but don't want to disappoint anyone, leave any email unanswered, or miss any opportunity to push the vision. So today I blog the great Business Week review by Stan Crock, as well as the Associated Press profile by Matt Kelley. I speak at length with Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report about the book, which he's just finished. I schedule to appear on CNN next Tuesday with Wolf Blitzer via Esquire, and set up an interview with Rolling Stone via Putnam. Meanwhile, the College has me on radio in Dallas at the end of the work day, so everything's in a rush.


I amóin the words of my hometownómaking hay while the sun shines.


Very quickly, the catch of the day:


REFERENCES:


"Kurds Success Makes It Harder to Unify All Iraq: The North Is Seen as a Model For Rest of the NationóBut It Demands Autonomy: Fears of Radical Muslim State," by Hugh Pope and Bill Spindle, Wall Street Journal, 19 May, p. A1.


"Turks Warming to Idea of Iraqi Kurds' Autonomy: Turnabout Comes Amid Fear Of Theocracy Next Door, But Neighbors Remain Wary," by Hugh Pope and Bill Spindle, WSJ, 19 May, p. A17.


"For a 'New Imperialism,'" by Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post, 10 May, p. A25.


"Iraq: The West Mustn't Give Up Now," by Jeffrey E. Garten, Business Week, 17 May, p. 28.


"Nuts With Nukes," Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 19 May, p. A27.

"Old Reflexes Hurting 2 Asian Economic Giants," by Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 19 May, p. C1.

2:33PM

Reality of postwar Iraq emerges

"Kurds Success Makes It Harder to Unify All Iraq: The North Is Seen as a Model For Rest of the NationóBut It Demands Autonomy: Fears of Radical Muslim State," by Hugh Pope and Bill Spindle, Wall Street Journal, 19 May, p. A1.


"Turks Warming to Idea of Iraqi Kurds' Autonomy: Turnabout Comes Amid Fear Of Theocracy Next Door, But Neighbors Remain Wary," by Hugh Pope and Bill Spindle, Wall Street Journal, 19 May, p. A17.


There was never any question in my mind that we were always talking about some federated state in Iraq, meaning something not unitary. That was so obvious to me I didn't even think to mention it in my book (wishing I had now). Basically, you have three ethnic groups with rather clear separation and lotsa bad history among them. Plus the Kurds in the north have been semi-independent under the U.S.-supplied northern no-fly zone for more than a decade, and they had done quite well.


So the solution seems clear enough: you let the Kurds run themselves, you pick the right military strongman to run the Sunnis in the middle, and you let the Shiites in the south have some ruling council heavy with religious representation. Our bodyguard role for this trifurcated federal Iraq is at first focused on keeping them apart and letting them rule their own in safety. Over time, we build up from that and start helping them organize stronger federal institutions at a pace mandated by their collective security situation.


Turkey is already warming to this, it seems. Why? Beats the alternatives of chaos or a theocratic unitary state to its south. This way, Istanbul can play "big brother" and we get Turkey seriously committed to regional stability.


Think about itócause it's likely to happen.

2:29PM

The A-to-Z rule set on processing politically bankrupt regimes

"For a 'New Imperialism,'" by Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post, 10 May, p. A25.


"Iraq: The West Mustn't Give Up Now," by Jeffrey E. Garten, Business Week, 17 May, p. 28.


In my book, I cited Sebastian Mallaby's original enunciation (Washington Post, 21 Oct 02, "The Lesson In MacArthur") of the need for an IMF-like international organization to oversee the rehabilitation of politically-bankrupt states after the Leviathan force led by the U.S. engages in Core-sanctioned regime change in the Gap. Here he resurrects the idea with even more force. A worthy read.


Garten's piece highlights the reality that when Core consensus gets reached on efforts like Iraq, or any politically-bankrupt regime in the Gap, it's far more likely to occur within the G-8 (or better, the larger G-20 declared by Clinton a few years back) than in the UN.


When I think of the A-to-Z rule set, it looks like this:



  • UN as Grand Jury to indict

  • G-20 as Executive issuing warrant for arrest

  • Leviathan force led by U.S. military does the takedown<

  • Sys Admin force led by US but populated more by coalition partners sweeps in to
    start rehab

  • International Criminal Court tries the suspects now in custody



A to Zójust like that.

2:08PM

To isolate or connect Iran

"Nuts With Nukes," Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 19 May, p. A27.


Iran clearly playing with WMD fire and breaking rules, but US and world busy with Iraq in region, and many (including me) logically see Israel-Palestine up next. Then there's Kim in NE Asia to deal with very soon. So what to do with Iran?


I'm with Kristof: kill them with connectivity. The sullen majority is ready to blow; give them outlets. Make the mullahs irrelevant by engendering as much broadband economic and social connectivity between the masses and the outside as possible.


We are near the tipping point on Iran. That's why the mullahs are trying to act so scary.

2:05PM

Old habits die hard in New Core pillars (China, India)

"Old Reflexes Hurting 2 Asian Economic Giants," by Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 19 May, p. C1.


We will see plenty of backsliding now and then in China and India as they seek to integrate their economies ever deeper with the Core. We have to accept this pendulum will swing back and forth over time: go very fast, then slow down for a bit, then go very fast, then slow down a bit.


So long as it's two steps forward for every one step backward, we need to focus on the direction, and not the degree or speed of change, and let the world's markets guide policy choices in each country.


We saw the world's markets guide the political shift in India over the past several days. Thomas Friedman's "electronic herd" basically works.

9:29AM

Gene Roddenberry would be proudÖ

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 19 May 2004


The following article is what resulted from a 26 April interview with Associated Press Pentagon reporter Matt Kelley in Washington. No serious gripes on my part, although my Public Affairs Office was aghast to see the photo caption identify me as a professor at the Monterey CA Naval Postgraduate School and not the Naval War College in Newport RI. But the text gets it right, so not that bad.


No idea whether this story makes it into print newspapers around the country, so news of any sightings appreciated.


I guess the only thing I regret in it is the "sucking eggs" bit. Accurate both in content and in using the phrase, but it comes off as rather inelegant in a newspaper article.


I've had myself cast as "unlikely," "unconventional," etc. now so many times that I feel like one of those "rising" movie starlets who keeps rising, rising, rising and never seems to graduate. Yes, that's meóthe Naomi Watts of pol-mil analysts.


The point about optimistic futurists is a bit flubbed at the end. Not only does it not mean my predictions are wrong, it means I'm far more likely to be right than the doom-saying crowd. My point is that the great pessimists like Yevgeny Zamyatin ("We"), Aldous Huxley ("Brave New World"), and Goerge Orwell ("1984") always get it overwhelmingly wrong. Technology liberates individuals far more that it empowers authoritarian regimes. Look at the most high-tech societies: they tend to be the most free. Look at the most authoritarian: they tend to be the most technologically deprived. Technology kills dictatorships, it does not sustain them.


So it's the Ayn Rands, Gene Roddenberrys and the Carl Sagans who tend to get it rightódecade after decade. Go back and watch your Star Trek; I'll put Gene's record up against anybody's.


Here's the complete text of the Kelley article:

Unlikely Visionary Plots Pentagon Future


May 19, 5:19 AM (ET)


By MATT KELLEY



WASHINGTON (AP) - Jolted by the 2001 terror attacks that left a smoking hole in the Pentagon, Defense Department officials turned to a Harvard-trained, Star-Trek quoting Navy analyst to help make sense of America's new role in the world.


Thomas P.M. Barnett had worked to forecast new global threats in a project with Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading firm that lost 658 workers at its World Trade Center headquarters on Sept. 11.


Barnett's lexicon is laden with pop culture terms, not the acronyms common at the Pentagon. In his view of the world, the bad guys are in "the Gap," and the good guys belong to "the Core."


"The reason I never catch any flak is, it's a larger discussion of how the world works that corroborates what they're trying to do," Barnett said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.


"I don't think it's prescriptive, in terms of telling the Defense Department what to do. I'm not telling the Pentagon, as the military would say, how to suck eggs. But it expands the definition of eggs to be sucked."


At the Pentagon, Barnett laid out his view of the post-Cold War world: The biggest threats against the United States come from Third-World countries left behind by globalization - which he calls the Gap.


In the Gap, Barnett says, dictators like Saddam Hussein and terrorist groups like al-Qaida are trying to keep people disconnected from the rest of the world so they can be dominated and repressed. The Gap's villains strike at the United States and its globalizing partners - countries Barnett calls the Core - to try to enforce that separation, Barnett says.


"Look beyond globalization's frontier," Barnett writes in a new book called "The Pentagon's New Map," "and there you will find the failed states that command our attention, the rogue states that demand our vigilance, and the endemic conflicts that fuel the terror we now recognize as the dominant threat not just to America's future security but to globalization's continued advance."


The message for the military was one many in the Pentagon brass had struggled against for years. Instead of girding for a high-tech war with a competitor like China, Barnett says, the U.S. military must play the role of global enforcer, taking out terrorists and rogue regimes in the Gap and sticking around to help connect those countries to the global marketplace of goods, services, information and ideas.


That means a lot of smaller conflicts and long-term nation building of the sort Pentagon generals had worked to avoid and Bush administration officials derided in the years leading up to the 2001 terrorist attacks.


The post-attack Pentagon was much more receptive to his ideas, said Barnett, who spent two years as Assistant for Strategic Futures in the Office of Force Transformation before returning to the Naval War College last year. In fact, Barnett says, his Core-Gap ideas help explain what the Pentagon is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Echoes of Barnett's ideas can be heard when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says terrorists don't have armies, navies or air forces or when his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, says a democratic Iraq will serve as an example for the rest of the Middle East.


Barnett, in his early 40s, recently briefed a group of new one-star generals and has presented his ideas to younger U.S. officers, NATO allies and officials from countries in the Gap.


Barnett may seem an unusual fit with a Pentagon leadership of conservative Republicans. A lifelong Democrat who once taught a course on Marxism at Harvard, Barnett strongly supports the war in Iraq while criticizing the Bush administration for failing to clearly explain its goals.


"We need to develop a story that's compelling about how to make the world a better place. We don't just need drive-by regime change," Barnett said.

Making the world a better place is a main theme of Barnett's book, which argues for the use of American military might to get rid of repressive regimes in the Gap to pave the way for integration of those countries into the globalized marketplace.


To do that, Barnett says, the U.S. military needs to split into two forces: One traditional military force and another, larger corps of troops to help with reconstruction - what the Pentagon calls "civil affairs."


The United States has no military rival "in the same Zip code" but has nowhere near enough resources to stabilize and rebuild a country after winning combat, he says.


Still, Barnett is optimistic.


"I see a lot of great potential in the Defense Department," he said. "I truly believe it is an important force for good."


Barnett's book is filled with pop-culture references and sports analogies - like comparing Cold War studies to Star Trek. "Much as in the short-run TV show encompassing only 79 episodes, there were only so many 'stories' in the Cold War you needed to master in order to be considered professionally trained."

But he says his fondness for Star Trek's optimistic view of the future does not mean his predictions are wrong.


"The only futurists who are right are the optimists," Barnett declares.


---


On the Net:


Barnett's web log: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com

Must say, it was really nice of them to include the weblog URL.

3:16AM

Accidental Media TouróPart Deux

Dateline: Amtrak Acela Express from NYC to Boston, 18 May 2004


This day was definitely fun.


Started off by finishing yesterdayís blog from my hotel bed while eating room-service breakfast (thereís just something about eggs benedict in bedóespecially when my publisher is picking up the tab).


It was easy to pack up my gear, because I didnít have any. So I reconstituted my clothes from yesterday, ironing heavily, and caught my CNN-supplied car downstairs after I checked out of the Algonquin.


See ya later Dorothy . . ..


First up today is my appearance on ìDolans Unscriptedî with the couple who serve as hostsóKen and Daria Dolan. The blurb in my Putnam media schedule says their show reaches 30 million homes nationwide via CNNfn (my first time on this network). If true, Iíll be happy if just one out of every 300 homes watching today buys my book (you do the math).


Upon arriving, itís the usual preparation drill at CNN, but this time I tell make-up to go light on my neck as I donít need all that stuff on my collar again. A very nice production assistant then walks me into this huge, two-story-high room on the fifth floor of the Time Warner building. It is stunningly large and contains the desks of dozens of CNN media people all crammed together in irregular clumps. In the middle of the room is a studio set-up with standing walls that only go up about 8 feet, so itís sort of a fish-bowl effect.


I stand behind one studio wall, waiting to go on while Ken and Daria Dolan are taking calls on their show. I can see them on a giant screen on the far side of this cavernous room, along with separate screens for both CNN and Headline News. The volume is turned too low to hear, which is good, because I can hear them live over the fake wall. Whatís amazing is the time lag on the screen at the far end of the roomóalmost 2 seconds. Thatís how long it takes for their feed to go all the way down to Atlanta and then back to NY.


I am a bit nervous but pretty psyched as well. I am well rested and feeling much better for starting the Claritin. I am told the Dolans have the book and have read it, so that helps put me at ease. I had watched them a bit last night and knew Ken was the voluble one and Daria the calmer one, so I was ready for their approach.


During the commercial break they walk me into position and I sit across the table from both of them. Itís a bit spooky because the big camera just to the left of Ken has a monitor that I need to avoid looking at. So I just decide Iíll short-focus my eyes on Ken and Daria and tune out the rest of the entire scene. Not easy in general, but these two are so warm in person that I find it a snap.


Turns out Ken is former navy who did a stint at the college (actually, the Officers Candidate School) way back when (heís a Vietnam vet), so the three of us chat amiably before we go live. The copy of the book is right there on the high table we ring (weíre on bar stools), so I know the segment will focus on that and not just sarin gas or Nick Berg.


The difference between this segment and yesterdayís remote on Headline News is like night and day. I perform about as well as I ever have and know it real-time, so my ease is transmitted through the camera (impossible to fakeóat least for me). We cover a bunch of good stuff from the book, which Ken praises profusely and repeatedly, and then itís overólike all good onesóin a flash.


Right on the spot before I leave Ken asks me to come on their new radio show that broadcasts on Saturday mornings and I agree.


I then have the driver take me to Putnamís HQ on Hudson Street in lower Manhattan. There Steve Oppenheim (my PR director) gives me a vacant office for the afternoon. He orders me some lunch and then his assistant Liz brings me about 100 books to sign (most with personal references) to just about everyone at Putnam/Penguin in NY. Itís a neat perk for people who work there, and Iím more than happy to do it. But it takes a couple of hours to wind my way through the various lists of names, at one point managing to cut my thumb while opening a box with a pair of scissors that are incredibly sharp. Iím probably the first author to suffer a real bleeder while signing books, but I survive thanks to some band-aids and tape from Steve.


While in the office I also do a half-hour radio show in Oklahoma City OK via phone. Itís called ìYou Talkiní to Me?î and itís hosted by Brad Copeland and Mike Steely on SUPERTALK AM-930/WKY. They both have read the June Esquire article thatís out on stands almost everywhere now (ìMr. President, Hereís How to Make Sense of Our Iraq Strategyî) and praise it profusely. They ask good questions so the time flies. Near the end, I realize they havenít mentioned the book much, so I plug it hard at the end, plus this site, proving Iím getting savvier about my appearances.


Rest of the afternoon I catch up on email.


At one point, Liz comes into the office with a very odd question pursed on her lips: ìDo you think there are any situations where torture is justified when interrogating terrorist suspects?î


That one came out of the blue!


Turns out that if I answer ìyes,î I get to go on a major networkís news show tonight, but if I say no, then maybeójust maybeótheyíll have me on to discuss the book in the future.


Hmmmmmmmmmm.


A moral quandary?


Not really. Torture rarely works and higher-ups even more rarely trust the material produced by these methods, so the answer is no, and I resist my chance at an on-camera moment of Dukakis-like reasoning to a loaded question.


Around 5:15 I head out of Putnam, stopping by Steve Oppenheimís office for a last chat. Turns out Steveís just got an email from a major publication asking if Iíll participate in a group interview with a bunch of national security heavyweights regarding Iraq for an upcoming issue. We each will be interviewed separately by phone and then our answers compared in the magazine. Itís a non-traditional source for this sort of infoócloser to MTV than PBS. But itíll be impossible to resist, as young-minds-to-mold is always a worthy target of opportunity.


I canít wait to see how the Naval War College will react to my appearing in this magazine, which is a ways beyond the pale that stretches to include Esquire.


Downstairs to another car and driver and then back to CNNís new digs in the Time Warner building just built off of Columbus Circle. Iím through security for the third time in about 28 hours. This time I spy Jeanne Moost of Headline News (she of the humorous segments) walking by. Sheís almost six-feet-tall in heels, to my amazement.


Up to the 7th floor this time and a new make-up room just down the hall from CNNís main studio in NY. I get to share the green room with the former PM of Israel Ehud Barak. He and his handler donít acknowledge me at all (donít even glance at me) despite my being the only other person in the room. Chilly pair, although I will say one thing about Barak: the man loves pineapple. Guy ate the entire row on the fruit tray, often forking it into his mouth directly from the plate.


Iím up soon after Barak. My handler takes me into the studio area and I stand with the sound guy just behind the wall that Iím sure looks great on TV but is actually all 1x2ís and plywood from behind. I get set-up while commercials roll and then talk with Mr. Dobbs while Bill Schneider drones on from some ìswing state.î Dobbs puts on his reading glasses and glances over a xerox of the Esquire piece and something heís highlighted. I rack my brain to remember what appears right after the really big ìWî in the text. Beats the hell outta me.


The interview goes well. Iím very relaxed and handle two pointed questions from him with relative aplomb. He mentions the book prominently and I keep my answers short enough so that he never has to interrupt me. A good sign: itís over in a flash and Iím in the car heading to Penn Station within minutes. I catch the 7pm Acela instead of the 7:30 regional, managing to land a bad gyro, a tall-boy Bud, and two Krispe Kremes for my celebratory feast.


Itís been a good day and I end my Accidental Media Tour on a high note.


Hereís Today's Catch:


REFERENCES:


ìSuicide Bomber Kills President of Iraqi Council: Attack Near U.S. Offices: At Least 6 Civilians DieóUncertainty in Advance of Power Transfer,î by Ian Fisher, New York Times, 18 May, p. A1.


ìAs Violence Deepens, So Does Pessimism,î by Daniel Williams, Washington Post, 18 May, p. A1.


ìOld Iraq Army Could Provide A Leader, Jordanís King Says,î by Alan Cowell, NYT, 18 May, p. A8.


ìKerry Feels for Footing On Countryís Role in Iraq: Supporting the troops while keeping Nader sidelined,î by Jodi Wilgoren and David E. Rosenbaum, NYT, 18 May, p. A18.


[Advertisement] ìStaffers Live for the Party,î Discovery/Times Channel, USA Today, 18 May, p. E9.


ìIndiaís Stocks Shudder, With a Wide Impact: Emerging-Markets Indexes Fall to Year Lows on Election Results, Interest Rates and Middle East,î by Craig Karmin, Wall Street Journal, 18 May, p. C1.


ìGay Couples Marry in Massachusetts: Hundreds Tie Knot On Day One, but Questions Remain,î by Alan Cooperman and Jonathan Finer, WP, 18 May, p. A1.


ìHealth agency present global plan to fight obesity,î by Nanci Helimich, USA Today, 18 May, p. 4A.


ìU.N. Touts Biotech to Boost Global Food Supply,î by Justin Gillis, WP, 18 May, p. A2.

3:05AM

Iraqís moment of truth for all sidesóbutt one

ìSuicide Bomber Kills President of Iraqi Council: Attack Near U.S. Offices: At Least 6 Civilians DieóUncertainty in Advance of Power Transfer,î by Ian Fisher, New York Times, 18 May, p. A1.


ìAs Violence Deepens, So Does Pessimism,î by Daniel Williams, Washington Post, 18 May, p. A1.


ìOld Iraq Army Could Provide A Leader, Jordanís King Says,î by Alan Cowell, NYT, 18 May, p. A8.


ìIn Iraq, Americaís Shakeout Moment,î by David Brooks, NYT, 18 May, p. A23.


ìKerry Feels for Footing On Countryís Role in Iraq: Supporting the troops while keeping Nader sidelined,î by Jodi Wilgoren and David E. Rosenbaum, NYT, 18 May, p. A18.


[Advertisement] ìStaffers Live for the Party,î Discovery/Times Channel, USA Today, 18 May, p. E9.


The latest suicide bomber attack just outside the Green Zone claims another member of the Iraqi Governing Councilóits president no less. Another member of the council sums it up plainly: ìThe countdown is there, and then they are escalating. They donít want this political process to succeed. And they want just to have more deterioration of the security situation.î


The threats have become so direct in this war, as coldly calculating as the offers: Osama tells the Europeans heíll stop killing them if they leave the region in 90 days, while signs appear in Baghdad warning citizens that anyone who cooperates with U.S. forces will be killed without warning. Little wonder that Jordanís King Hussein says Iraq should have a military leader for at least a year after the transitionósomeone not afraid to ìhold Iraq together for the next year.î


The king sees the shakeout moment arriving, to borrow David Brooksí excellent phrase. As he puts it:

ìHope begets disappointment, and we are now in a moment of disappointment when it comes to Iraq. During these shakeout moments, the nay-sayers get to gloat while the rest of us despair, lacerate ourselves, second-guess those in charge and look at things anew. But this very process of self-criticism is the precondition for the second wind, the grubbier, less illusioned effort that often enough leads to some acceptable outcome.î
I couldnít have said it better. Iraq-the-occupation will transform not just defense transformation within the Pentagon, but Americaís entire foreign policy in a way that will dwarf what 9/11 did. The terrorist attacks on that day got us scared about living here at home, but the Iraq occupation will demand from us the will and staying power to do what is necessary over there.


Meanwhile, John Kerry needs to attach himself to this seriously pivoting moment in U.S. history. He needs to do more than just fend off Naderís call for an exit strategy (Ralph will apparently have us all waiting in our basements for the next big one). Kerry needs to enunciate his vision for moving us forward in this process of not just defending America, but connecting the Middle East to some better future andóby doing soówinning what we have mistakenly dubbed a Global War on Terrorism.


While John pondersóseemingly foreverówhat he needs to say about Iraq, carefully parsing out each word, a new, deeper insight into the guts of his campaign is offered to us by the Discovery/Times Channel. Yes, a profile of John Kerryís ìbutt boy.î Building off the New York Timeís page 1 story of a couple of weeks back (during my planned media tour), this is apparently the best the Kerry campaign can do to manage the media while President Bushís approval rating hits an all-time low.


A word of explanation: ìbutt boyî is a Washington term for the young staffer whoís always at the Great Manís right cheekóas in literally just a few inches behind his right buttock. This fellow hands the Great Man anything he may need, and takes from him anything he must dispose of. The butt boy goes by many names. In the military, for example, he is known as the Executive Aide to the Admiral/General, but that just means a butt boy in uniform. The butt boyís main requirement is that the Great Man has to be able to stand his presence pretty much all the time: the Great Man sneezes and butt boy whips out a Kleenex. You get the pictureóhell, heís always in the picture! You just never recognize him because you only see half of his face at best.


Anyway . . .


Over 130 U.S. troops died in Iraq in April, and John Kerryís got real-world experience on both sides of that aisle, having fought with honor in war and having protested with honor against war. So why doesnít the New York Times push the Discovery channel to do a hour show on Kerryís thoughts regarding war and peace in the twenty-first century? Or his thoughts on globalization? Global terrorism? Peace in the Middle East?


Instead, we get the butt boy, in a hard-wiping profile that delves deep inside Kerryís inner sanctums.


Ooh, this is crucial stuff to know: ìPart-time driver. Part-time caddie. Part-time advisor. Full-time staffer.î This is the man whoís always there when John needs a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich (yes, I read the New York Times front-page profile of the man, andólike most butt boy storiesóit rubbed me the wrong way). He knows Kerryís every mood, every twitch, every spicy meal that backfires.


So while we wait for Kerry to distinguish himself vis-‡-vis this close-mouthed, secretive White House that has committed this countryówith almost no serious debateóto a long-term strategy of transforming the Middle East, we get a serious profile of his butt boy (ìWith that be a five iron or the Charmin two-ply?î)


Not the guy who would have his hand on the button, just the staffer whoís always got his hand on the butt.


Hmmmm.

2:56AM

Sonia says sayonara to Indiaís PM post

ìIndiaís Stocks Shudder, With a Wide Impact: Emerging-Markets Indexes Fall to Year Lows on Election Results, Interest Rates and Middle East,î by Craig Karmin, Wall Street Journal, 18 May, p. C1.


This was the breaking news of the day, in large part because of what the worldís markets did yesterday to Indiaís credit ratings. This is Thomas Friedmanís ìelectronic herdî in action, saying in effect, ìIs this the best you can do, Congress Party?î


No offense, but this would be like asking Maria Shriver to be President because sheís the least offensive Kennedy relative we could get our hands on. The Congress Party has completely run out the string if sheís the best theyíve got. Geez! Even the U.S. has a law about not letting foreign-born politicians assume the highest office in the land (so you can forget about Governor Terminator too, but not President Mel Gibson).


So Sonia did the smart thing today and said she would not accept the post. Expect further twists and turns within the Congress Party, but in the end, I think this ìupsetî is going to prove rather hollow. The big question will be how quickly the BJP eats humble pie in order to come back into power with the same focus on the rural poor that Chinaís ìfourth generationî leadership has wisely displayed since assuming power in Beijing.


Simply put, you can only integrate yourself with the global economy so fast. Or in other words, the train engine canít really go any faster than the caboose can keep up.

2:51AM

The latest civil war in these United States

ìGay Couples Marry in Massachusetts: Hundreds Tie Knot On Day One, but Questions Remain,î by Alan Cooperman and Jonathan Finer, Washington Post, 18 May, p. A1.


Personally, I always vote for connectivity, because in that desire for connectivity I always recognize the desire for love, acceptance and belonging (conversely, involuntary disconnectedness is always about power, pain, anger, and suffering). To me, standing up against gay marriage is a classic, pissing-in-the-wind situation: the natural push for connectivity always wins out and, in the end, thatís okay because connectivity comes with codeóor more rules.


I cite this excellent Post story mostly because it reminds us that whenever thereís a serious rule-set clash in this union, itís fought on a state-by-state basisóreminding us that we remain, in many ways, ìtheseî united states and not merely ìthe United States.î


The historical chart on p. A4 demonstrates how this civil war has been waged for well over a decade now, winding its way through Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, and so on and so forth.


Expect shifting battle lines for years to come. Just donít be surprised when your socks get wet.

2:47AM

Globalization through thick and thin

ìHealth agency present global plan to fight obesity,î by Nanci Helimich, USA Today, 18 May, p. 4A.


ìU.N. Touts Biotech to Boost Global Food Supply,î by Justin Gillis, Washington Post, 18 May, p. A2.


UN is working both sides of the grocery aisle on food now: pushing biotech crops to feed the hungry and pushing diets and exercise to slim down the overweight.


How do I know globalization is spreading? Waistlines are spreading. The UN says 1.7 billion people in the world are overweight, or over 25 percent of the total population. If half of America is flabby, thatís only 150 millionótops. So that means thereís one and a half billion heavyweights outside our border. How much you want to bet that the vast majority of these scale-toppers live inside the Core?


Conversely, how much do you want to bet that the vast majority of the hungry are found inside the Gap?


I know, I know, everyone inside the Core has to accept a lower living standard if we made globalization truly global, right? Itíd be class war, with everyone fighting hand-to-hand combat over Soylent Green!


Then again, maybe weíd all just wrestle within our respective weight classes.

2:43PM

9/11 pushed this White House to feel the Gapís pain on AIDS

ìU.S. Speeding Up Approval Steps For AIDS Drugs: Cheaper and Better Care: Move to Provide Generic and Combined Therapy to Poorer Countries,î by Lawrence K. Altman, New York Times, p. A1.


One of the weirdest stories I tell in the book is how 9/11 plus the anthrax scare actually helps launch the Doha Development Round of negotiations at the WTO by forcing the U.S. to give into Gap demands for patent relief on key AIDS drugs. Itís an amazing little story that I pieced together using the Economist, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The basic upshot is that this administration was forced to rethink its previous stance because once America starts going around the Gap asking for security cooperation in a Global War on Terrorism, it has to start giving in on key security-related demands from Gap statesóof which AIDS is logically considered one.


This article just describes how far this administration has come in terms of forcing U.S. drug companies to accept the inevitable, and that is a very good thing.

2:43PM

Deadwood, Macedonia

ìA Fake Macedonia Terror Take That Led to Deaths,î by Nicholas Wood, New York Times, 17 May, p. A3.


In one of the first episodes of HBOís dark Western series, ìDeadwood,î a would-be city father of this beyond-the-US-border town engineers the murder of a settler family in order to blame local Indians for the atrocities. Why? He wants to keep the town scared about the world outside and thus submit to his implied rule, plus heís trying to attract the attention of the great Leviathan from beyondóthe U.S. Governmentóso that the territory will be properly integrated into the country out of security concerns.


Itís a very nasty story that speaks to the sort of schemes one sees from those trapped on the outside, hoping to get in.


This story describes something very similar from some very misguided political leaders in Macedonia, who apparently hoped to impress the United States with their vigorous response to the threat of global terror. But in the end, their ruse was discovered, and now the horror sets in that real people were casually murdered to simulate a fake terror tale.


Macedonia, like the rest of the former republic of Yugoslavia, wants desperately to belong to the Core. This sad story was nothing more than a frontier town trying to get itself some more security by crying wolf.

2:43PM

The system cries out for an administrator!

ìSome Iraqis Held Outside Control of U.S. Command: 100 ëHigh Valueí Detainees: Red Cross Has Said Way Prisoners Were Treated Violated Standards,î by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, 17 May, p. A1.


ìDivided Mission In Iraq Tempers Views of G.I.ís: Soldiers See Confusion Over Combat and Aid,î by Edward Wong, NYT, 17 May, p. A1.


ìThe Transfer Date, June 30, Is Crystal Clear, but Hardly Anything Else Is,î by Steven R. Weisman, NYT, 17 May, p. A11.


ìPentagon Weighs Transferring 4,000 G.I.ís in Korea to Iraq,î by Thom Shanker, NYT, 17 May, p. A11.


The news out of Iraq speaks volumes to the need for the Sys Admin forceófor the force that is optimized to wage peace and is perceived by friends and foes alike as separate and different from our warfighting Leviathan force.


The first story simply describes the overlapping roles of too many bureaucratic players operating in Iraq at the same time. Is it any great surprise that you get a prisoner abuse scandal when you have military police, military intelligence, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, a slew of on-site military commanders and the Pentagon itself all having a say in how prisoners are treated and interrogated? One of the key aspects of the unified peacekeeping/policing force is that command and control is clarified, with the SWAT-like Leviathan forces coming and going as required by enemy activities. But what we have now is a single military (and all its ancillary organizations) switching back and forth between the police work and the combatóand itís hard on the people.


The second article speaks to how hard that dual role is. Hereís a great quote:

ìëOur mission is to rebuild this country, but the things is, the bad guys wonít let us do it,í said Specialist Jennifer Marie Bencze, 30, of Santa Rosa, Calif. ëAt the same time weíve got engineers rebuilding schools, fixing roads, doing all the humanitarian projects, weíve got infantry fighting the bad guys. So the mission is really confused.íî
All Iím really talking about here is letting our people keep their specialties in tact when they deploy. I know the Marines have this three-block war concept where theyíre handing out food in block one, peacekeeping in block two, and killing bad guys in block three. But doesnít it make more sense to let the road builders build roads and have the bad-ass Marines focus on being the Sys Admin forceís bodyguards and general enforcers? That way we could put together a rebuilding plan (to include the handover of power) and hopefully stick to it better. Check this quote out:
ìëI think we should have clarified it and told people we had a definite concrete plan, something like, Look, this is whatís going to happen,í [Capt. Charles Fowler] said. ë[Iraqis] are really just waiting to see whatís going to happen. They ask me whatís going to happen,í the captain added. ëHell, I donít even know. It makes it very difficult right now. It makes it very difficult for me. One things I canít do is make promises that we canít keep.íî
The third article about the transfer date speaks to this lack of clarity and certainty, and whatís sad about this process to date is thatóin many waysówe are wasting the opportunity to set a huge, positive precedent for the successful processing of a politically bankrupt regime. To the extent we get this process down right this time, we set the standard for future experience. But to the extent we muddle this effort, we turn the world off as a whole from wanting to repeat this effort any time soon. We need that A-to-Z rule set on processing politically bankrupt regimes if we are going to systematically shrink the Gap.


The final article on troop movements is yet another example of how the Iraq experience is going to transform defense transformation in ways that no one in the Pentagon anticipated. Thatís a key point I make in my book, and itís looking more and more true by the day.

2:43PM

The accidental media tourist

Dateline: the Algonquin Hotel, Manhattan, 17 May


I wish I could say I was sitting at the actual ìround table,î but alas Iím up in my room watching ìThe Ringî on HBO while typing up my day. I donít carry the equipment to log on via a phone line (something I gave up once I tasted cable at home) because I canít handle the wait and that scratchy sound(!), so this post will have to wait until my return home Tuesday night. Meanwhile, I had my webmaster post something tonight about my surprise media schedule in case some of you wanted to catch me on TV on Tuesday.


The day went something like this: Got up and left early (after posting about the Esquire article making the Early Bird) for the Providence train station to catch the Acela heading south to Manhattan. Arriving at 11am, I went straight to Fox Newsí studio for my 12:30 appearance only to get a call just as I arrived from my deputy Public Affairs Officer back at the college, Lt. David Ausiello, saying Fox had cancelled late last night and ever since heíd been calling my old War College cell number I no longer carry with me (I used to carry one cell for the Pentagon and one for personal use, but now I just do all my government calls on my personal cell).


So here I was in Manhattan for nothing, Fox having backed out on me for the third time in the last month (lowering my batting average with them to .500).


Then the better news: Ausiello managed to score me another appearance on CNNís Headline News at 1:15pm, so I had an hour to get to their new Time Warner building at Columbus Circle and get all set there for a remote with Atlanta. So I scoot over, clearing security with Rev. Al Sharpton, and then I hang out in the 5th floor lobby (while the Rev. does Wolf Blitzer) trying to get information via Ausiello about what Iím expected to talk about on the show.


As expected, Atlanta wants to discuss the latest news first: the discovery of the sarin gas residue on the shell used in the roadside bombing. So I wrack my allergies-addled brain trying to tie some big-picture meaning to this real-time event, but Iím having troubling concentrating, frankly, due to the allergies. So I just tell myself Iíll figure it out live when the anchor (Rene San Miguel) asks me the question.


He comes on in my ear-piece during the commercial break and says heíll start specific with the sarin stuff and then ask broadly about the book. I must admit, I think my performance is pretty vague and weak, but then again, I always feel that way. Thereís something just so fake about hearing yourself pontificate in some empty room staring at a large camera while youíre hearing this live TV show going on in your ear-piece. Itís almost like listening to someone singing to a song coming through their walkman ear-phone while you canít hear the musicóit almost instinctively sounds bad when itís taken out of context.


And thatís what doing remotes feels like: it feels like youíre completely out of context. When you see yourself later on the tape, and you see all the graphics, and that you look good in your suit and make-up, and theyíre running all these scripts under your head shot and then overlaying most of what you say with stock footage of this or that, THEN you comprehend the magic of it all and almost completely tune out what you were saying anyway (which I guess is the real magic of TV).


Anyway, this time I especially felt like I did a blandly crappy job. So I called my wife as soon as I got out of the studio, but she was busy with my youngest and didnít see it (plus she taped CNN proper as that was all David told her, leaving out the Headline News part). Eventually I got ahold of my boss at the college, who had seen it live, and he confirmed my worst fearsóI really have no sense of whether or not I do a good job on TV.


My boss, Lawrence, said I did fine. He said I was coherent and kept it at a level that was easily understandable for a general audience, and that I handled the very specific opening question on sarin with my usually swift reach for the big-picture tie-in. He told me to stop worrying about. He had seen it from stem to stern, and it looked just like everything else heíd ever seen on Headline News, meaning my fears of sticking out like some incompetent thumb were imagined.


Doesnít mean I did a great job; it just means I can hold my own on even a bad day.


Still, I left the studio feeling pretty crapping, like I had run out the string and this was my warning sign that the tank was empty. What in Godís name was I doing in Manhattan! Give it a rest man and get back to normal life!


Anyway, Iím already getting interesting offers from film people (documentaries, of course) and from some serious military operators in the field (yes, Baghdad), so I know I wonít feel bored or out of it in coming months. Everything is really going as well with the book as I could have hoped foróin terms of changing minds and moving the pile within my community. And damnit! Changing the Department of Defense is awfully close to changing the world because what the Pentagon decides it can do often ultimately becomes something huge downstream in terms of world history (like the Internet, GPS, UAVs, etc.). So getting the response Iím getting from the U.S. military (and even more so from foreign militaries) about the Sys Admin force concept is very exciting stuff.


So why give a crap one way or the other about this media stuff? In general itís just such a bizarre world, which only detracts from the coherence of your career. The real thrill is making it happen behind the closed doors, having earned the right to be in the room.


But the sense of commitment to both Putnam and the goal of spreading the vision weighs heavily. I want to feel like Iíve given it my all, that Iíve moved units, that Iíve started something a lot bigger than myselfóthat Iíve generated a true legacy. Itís that sort of desired impact that really got me going on this book. Itís how my agent talked me into writing the proposal in the first place: this stuff needs to be said and people need to hear it. I guess thatís why the emails that validate that hope really mean a lot to me.


So that was that and I felt the need to move on. Catching a subway to Penn, I decide to catch the 2:30 regional back to Providence. Ausiello said all his other efforts to line me up with the local CBS affiliate and the CBS Evening News fell through. Time to go home.


So I head over to the Krispe Kreme stand at Penn, figuring Iíd buy some sugar for the ride home. Then I get check my voicemails and itís Steve Oppenheim, PR director for Putnam, saying to call him right away. So I do.


Steve asks if I can stay the night in NYC and then do two shows live in studio tomorrow: the CNNfn show ìDolans Unscriptedî at 10:30 in the morning and then CNNís ìLou Dobbs Tonightî at 6pm.


Hmmm. Never heard of the Dolans show, but if it shows up in 30 million homes each day, I guess thereís a first time for everything. As for Lou Dobbs, I must confess I got excited watching him go out for a smoke while I was working my way through security.


So yeah, I say, I think I can stay another day. Putnam pays for the hotel and the college moves my train ride home to late Tuesday night.


Bit of a trick, though, since I hadnít planned on staying the night, so I make a pit stop at Duane Readeís for toiletries (finally getting some Claritin for the allergies), pick up another DC phone charger for my cell phone (always needed one for the road anyway), and end up doing a bit of laundry in the hotel room sink (good practice for our upcoming China trip to pick up baby) and voila! Presto change-o and the Accidental Media Tourist is born in the house Dorothy Parker built with her slicing tongue.


Hello room service and good-bye diet!


=====


Today's catch. . .


REFERENCES:


ìSome Iraqis Held Outside Control of U.S. Command: 100 ëHigh Valueí Detainees: Red Cross Has Said Way Prisoners Were Treated Violated Standards,î by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, 17 May, p. A1.


ìDivided Mission In Iraq Tempers Views of G.I.ís: Soldiers See Confusion Over Combat and Aid,î by Edward Wong, NYT, 17 May, p. A1.


ìThe Transfer Date, June 30, Is Crystal Clear, but Hardly ANew York Timeshing Else Is,î by Steven R. Weisman, NYT, 17 May, p. A11.


ìPentagon Weighs Transferring 4,000 G.I.ís in Korea to Iraq,î by Thom Shanker, NYT, 17 May, p. A11.


ìA Fake Macedonia Terror Take That Led to Deaths,î by Nicholas Wood, NYT, 17 may, p A3.


ìU.S. Speeding Up Approval Steps For AIDS Drugs: Cheaper and Better Care: Move to Provide Generic and Combined Therapy to Poorer Countries,î by Lawrence K. Altman, NYT, p. A1.


ìImmigrants Spend Earnings in U.S.: Latin American Workers Send Most Money Home? Not According to Study,î by Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal, 17 May, p. A8.


ìGandhi to Seek Support From Left: Likely Allies Are Against Economic Changes Pursued By Outgoing Government,î by Jay Solomon and Eric Bellman, WSJ, 17 May, p. A19


ìAs Investors Rush Into China, Cautionary Tales Start to Pile Up: China Life Says Itís ëGold Mineí But Fails to Mention Probe By Government Auditors: Scandals as Signs of Progress,î by Peter Wonacott, WSJ, 17 May, p. A1.


ìChina Warns Taiwan to Drop Independence Move,î by staff, NYT, 17 May, p. A6.

2:42PM

CSPAN Scheduling Update

Dateline: HQ of G.P. Putnamís Sons, Manhattan, 18 May 2004


===========


Updated May 27, 2004 1030am


"Tom's Book Notes appearance with Brian Lamb on CSPAN airs 8pm & 11pm (EST) on 30 May"


"Tom's brief in Washington on 2 June airs on CSPAN live on 2 June at 8:30 am (EST)"


===========


Hereís an update for those of you whoíve asked about this.


The latest word from CSPAN is that the Book Notes show I taped with Brian Lamb on 27 April will be aired during the Memorial Day weekend. As I just checked the site right now (http://www.booknotes.org/home/index.asp) I did indeed see it listed for next Sunday, May 30.


That means you can catch the one-hour interview at either 8pm EST or the rerun at 11pm EST that Sunday night.


BTW, CSPAN says it will tape my briefing at the Industrial College of the Armed Forcesí conference in Washington DC on 2 June. It will be in front of a fairly large military audience and will run three hours in total, with breaks and Q&Aóso the max version I rarely give. ICAF is located on the campus of the National Defense University at Fort Leslie McNair, so access is somewhat limited to defense community people, unless you clear it beforehand. Prof. Paul Davis at ICAF is running the show. Paul is a big supporter of my work, and his blurb appears first on the back jacket cover.


CSPAN indicates itíll air the tape in late June or early July, hopefully in prime time. I may appear following the tape for live Q&A, but thatís not yet decided.

2:42PM

Todayís yin and yang from China

ìAs Investors Rush Into China, Cautionary Tales Start to Pile Up: China Life Says Itís ëGold Mineí But Fails to Mention Probe By Government Auditors: Scandals as Signs of Progress,î by Peter Wonacott, Wall Street Journal, 17 May, p. A1.


ìChina Warns Taiwan to Drop Independence Move,î by staff, New York Times, 17 May, p. A6.


When China Life held its IPO last year, it was one of the biggest offerings in the world. Why? Who doesnít want a slice of selling life insurance to a billion Chinese?


Well, all that foreign money brings scrutiny, so when word gets out that the Chinese government is checking out China Life for some regulatory irregularities, guess what happens? People take their money back. What does that make China Life do? Itís forced to start cleaning up its act. As the sub-title says, these scandals are signs of progress. Show me a country that never has any, and Iíll show you a dictator who steals from the people so effectively that heís never caught. Scandals are never a bad sign so long as the national political system responds relatively quickly with new economic rule sets to prevent future abuse.


If thatís the good, then Chinaís recent threats to Taiwan must be the bad, right? Yes and no. China routinely threatens Taiwan with all sorts of harsh words. Whatís interesting about this time is that the economic integration between the two sides is so deep that Beijing is beginning to show some real confidence in this relationshipóin effect offering some serious ìcarrotsî for the first time.


Have no doubt: China intends to rule Taiwan again and someday it will. It will because eventually China and Taiwan will become so intertwined economically that political union will become palatable to the Taiwanese. Obviously, it shouldnít go any faster than it needs to go, but there is no logical scenario that sees the two states moving farther apart politically or economically.


Yes, America can plan for the illogic of China trying something militarily with Taiwan (hopefully deterring it ad infinitum), but ask yourself how a U.S. president is going to explain those thousands of casualties to an American public. Such an outcome would be a huge failure of U.S. national security strategy, and while the Pentagon needs to worst-case such things, a scenario such as this cannot be the driving warfighting paradigm that informs much of our long-range force structure planningóas it does today.


I know I have a lot of China-focused colleagues who will declare the ìlossî of Taiwan to be a huge blow to the future of the world (a judgment I consider to be way overblown), but I make the opposite argument: steering both China and Taiwan down economic pathways of integration leading to political union means we not only solve the last great security scenario involving a nuclear power other than us, butóhaving done soóweíve successfully integrated China deep inside the Core.

2:42PM

India on the slow track to where?

ìGandhi to Seek Support From Left: Likely Allies Are Against Economic Changes Pursued By Outgoing Government,î by Jay Solomon and Eric Bellman, Wall Street Journal, 17 May, p. A19.


Not good news from India. As Sonia (ciao!) Gandhi makes her bid to become the first foreign-born leader of India, her Congress Party will likely make deals with leftist and communist parties to achieve the biggest number of seats in a parliamentary alliance. What do the leftists want?

ìIn particular, the leftists said they would seek to block the privatization of profitable state-owned companies, and would oppose any proposals to allow more foreign investment in Indiaís insurance, banking and retail sectors. They also said they would aim to have the government more aggressively tax Indian corporations and to keep providing subsidized energy to Indiaís largely rural population.î
Yes, keep out that nasty foreign direct investment. God knows that itís not necessary to upgrade Indianís ancient and fraying electrical distribution grid. No, Indiaís notorious clean government will do a far better job of developing that than private investors from overseas. I mean, who let the energy infrastructure get so screwed up in the first place?


Ooops! That would be the Gandhis and their precious Hindu rate of growth.


The third way is the slow way. India knows better, but doesnít have an alternative right now to the pro-growth BJP that doesnít reflexively dip into that socialist past that so long hindered Indiaís economic growth. Meanwhile, China continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and prefer to use that growth to try and fund development for the poorer interior regions rather than retreating into some socialist past. India should know better, and inevitably will know better sometime in the near future.

2:42PM

Latinos: they come, they earn, they spend

ìImmigrants Spend Earnings in U.S.: Latin American Workers Send Most Money Home? Not According to Study,î by Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal, 17 May, p. A8.


This is a great article that debunks a key criticism of immigrant labor. A point a lot of peopleóincluding me in my bookólike to make about immigrants is that the money they remit (or send) to relatives back in the home country is actually a very important flow of resources that helps shrink the Gap. For example, Latin American ex-pats send home in remittances roughly five times as much money as the Core gives that regionís poorer states in terms of foreign aid.


Some anti-immigrant types will flip that argument on its heads and say, ìAha, so theyíre taking money out of America!î What this article describes is research that says over 90% of the money earned by immigrants stays in this country. Last year almost 17m Latinos working in the U.S. earned almost a half a trillion dollars (if you can believe it!), and 93% of that $450b was spent here. Meanwhile, Latinos working in the top six states (CA, NY, TX, FL, IL and NJ) sent home more than $1b last year from each state.


Thatís the equivalent of saying that each state send over $1B in foreign aid to Latin America last year, or more than the U.S. sent the entire Gap last year. That is an amazingly important flow of resources that does a tremendous amount of good in the Gap. And it basically occurs with no effort or significant cost on our side. Meanwhile, we get the cheap immigrant labor in the bargain.


This is why I worry about news suggesting that Latinos expected to immigrate to this country arenít doing so in the numbers projected since 9/11 because of new border-control and immigration restrictions. In effect, this is America cutting off its nose to spite its face in this Global War on Terrorism.

2:41PM

100 Good Wishes Quilt: A request

Dateline: HQ of G.P. Putnamís Sons, Manhattan, 18 May 2004


Hanging out at my publisherís between media appearances, because theyíre nice enough to give me an office and Internet connection.


Hereís a personal request from my wife Vonne and I regarding our soon-to-be adopted baby girl from China (to go along with our oldest daughter and two younger sons): we are trying to collect material and ìwishesî for a ì100 Good Wishesî quilt that weíll have made for our daughter as part of our welcoming her to our family. Hereís a basic description of what weíre talking about:

The purpose of the 100 Good wishes quilt is to create a quilt with each of the quilting squares associated with a specific person/wish. This type of quilt is fairly common in China and has become popular in the Chinese adoption community. The person sending the piece of fabric also sends a wish on a piece of paper for a scrapbook for the person who will eventually receive the quilt. The wish can be for good health or some other positive life outcome. The piece of fabric should be 100% cotton prewashed and ironed. The square should be at least 8x8 inches if it is cut by scissors and 7x7 inches if it is cut with a quilting rotary cutter. If you just want to send a 10x10 piece of fabric we can cut it correctly. It is ideal if you place a small piece of the fabric on the paper containing the wish so that we can associate the wish with the fabric and the person who sent the fabric.
As you can imagine, itís not easy to find 100 friends to do this, because thatís quite a large number to tap! So, in addition to sending out emails to people we know, I wanted to post this on my weblog to see if any of you who come across it would be willing to help us out. I know itís not a simple thing to ask (getting the material, etc.), but I figured that perhaps weíd simply bump into a few people who either were quilters, or had adopted from China, or who are just given over to these sorts of things.


If you find it in your heart and busy schedule to help us out, youíd be giving us and our baby girl Vonne Mei just a little bit of connectivity with the world outside that weíd otherwise maybe never appreciate. So my spouse Vonne and I would be very grateful.


If you can, please mail it to me at my office address:


Thomas Barnett, Naval War College, Code 39, 686 Cushing Road, Newport RI 02841


Thanks for reading this unusual post and considering this request.