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

Everything is spinning

Dateline: US Airways flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix, Sunday 28 March

I got home Friday night from my Premeditated Media Tour feeling awfully positive about my life and my future. There was this strong sense of everything falling into place.

But the Irish in me immediately suspected that I would be made to pay for all this good fortune. A call from my Mom confirmed what I had suspected in my brotherís stream of emails over the week: my Dadís condition following his very risky-but-unavoidable heart surgery was coming undone. We needed everything to go right and God had not granted us this wish.

But the following morning a difficult decision had been made and my Dad was goneójust like that. My siblings keeping watch at the hospital packed up the gear and departed, and the inexorable family motion toward a funeral began.

We had won some key battles, mostly through my Dadís indomitable will, but the war had been lost.

Naturally, you are crushed by such moments in life, but you struggle through your day with a sense of duty. Mine was to shepherd four boys plus my son Kevin through his birthday celebration at Providence Place Mall. We did Dave & Busterís arcade, Ben & Jerryís ice cream, and the NASCAR 3-D film at the IMAX. We told Kevin about his Grandfather, following the party.

That night when all the kids were in bed, Vonne opened the FedEx package that came earlier in the day. She knew it cost extra to send a FedEx on Saturday and did not recognize the name of the sender. It turned out to be a bottle of expensive 18-year-old scotch whiskey (Macallan) from Steve Oppenheim and Marilyn Ducksworth of Putnam, the director and executive director, respectively, of PR. It was a thank-you for my effort over the previous three days.

The next morning I work up with a horrible case of vertigo. Knowing I hadnít drunk enough to warrant that outcome, I suspected the onset of tree pollen was working its usual spring magic, yielding inner-ear congestion. But I couldnít help but explore the alternative, metaphysical explanation: my Fatherís death had staggered me, sent my world spinning. In more ways than one, it was hard to get my bearings.

Then I thought of what my Dad did for my family over all those yearsódecades, really. Despite all his allergies, sinus troubles, and other small but debilitating ailments, the man always got out of bed and made whatever needed to happen to make sure his seven kids were clothed, fed, schooled, treated, and so on. He did not make excuses, never offered a word of serious complaint (although he was an inveterate kidder), but simply made it happenówhatever it was, whatever it took, whatever the cost.

I thought of what my Dad would have said to me at this moment and knew immediately the words I would have heard: ìDonít let any of this get you down. Just stay focused on taking care of your family. Thatís the important thing.î

And so, despite my bumping into walls and staggering around like a drunken sailor, I made my way up to the room above the garage, flicked on the PC, and banged out 1,500 words for the 4 April issue of the Washington Postís Outlook section. Then I and my kids cleaned up the house a bit and headed to see ìScooby-Doo 2.î My wife Vonne met us afterwards at McDonaldís (she was out shopping for clothes for the kids to wear at the wake and funeralólikewise doing what needed to get done), where I peeled off and flew to Phoenix, arriving around midnight.


Firing on all pistons

Dateline: the US Airways flight back from Phoenix to Providence, 30 March

Rushing back to make a client meeting in Providence. As soon as I touch down I will rush to the headquarters of the United Way of Rhode Island to lead a workshop of their senior leaders. Barnett Consulting is vetting its final report on the philanthropic communityís response to the Station Nightclub Fire disaster of February 2003. I will brief the group on our findings from a series of lengthy focus groups with key participants over the past several weeks. My partner (sub-contractor Bradd Hayes) and I will likewise lead the group through a series of rank-ordering exercises that explore our recommendations for future actionóor how the United Way helps prepare the philanthropic and service provider communities for the ìnext oneî (whatever that turns out to be).

The effort at doing a ìlessons learnedî has been fascinating, allowing me to resurrect many of the concepts and models we developed for disaster planning regarding Y2K. Everything old is new again.

Other things on my plate:

  • Editing the Esquire article with Mark Warren. We are approaching deadline. I gave Mark 4k and he wanted 2.5, so heís slimming it down. Then there is the question of an illustration they want to run with the piece: Thomas Nast-like, Mark assures me. Mark also wants me to write a new intro. One I have is something a lot of people could have written, he says, knowing how that criticism always burns my ass to no end. I will accept this challenge and look forward to Markís edit, which is always brilliant. I may be the only writer in history who loves his editors so.

  • Editing the Washington Post Outlook piece with assistant editor Zofia Smardz. She calls yesterday to say she has the piece and thinks itís great. Iím told not to expect too much in changes, and expect little creative struggle with her because she basically ordered up the piece from a list of topics we sent her in advance, and I feel like I basically delivered what she asked for, doing it hopefully in such a way as to both promote my book and my ideas while simultaneously giving the reader something valuable and timely in and of itself.

  • Then thereís the most important writing and editing assignment of the week: Iíve been asked by my Mom to deliver the eulogy at my Dadís funeral. In addition to the usual sermon by the priest, she wants me to speak on behalf of our collective family. I am deeply honored by this request, and immediately ping both her and my eldest siblings for lists of what ground I need to cover. To say I am nervous about this ìpresentationî is a gross understatement. It will be one of the hardest speeches I will ever deliver. Five minutes at Immaculate Conception, but a lifetime of love and sacrifice to capture.

Despite all this, I canít help being my Fatherís son and spending most of the flights back reading a slew of newspapers from the past two days (USA Today, NYT, WSJ). Here are the stories I canít help but blog.


"It's simply what he does best."

My Brett Favre Monday Night game

Dateline Scottsdale Arizona, around midnight on Monday 29 March.

Iím bunking at Scottsdaleís very upscale Phoenician resort, a place I could hardly afford but would love to make a habit of. By local accounts, this hotel was to become Charles Keatingsí pyramid to himselfóuntil the S&L scandal hit. It is a beautiful place, and itís where Lockheed Martin is having its annual senior executive conference.

I head into the conference to hear the Chairmanís opening pitch. I know Vance Coffman is stepping down soon, so I had my book sent to both him and his replacement, whoís also here. I wanted to hear Coffmanís take on what LM was looking to get out of the conference so I could do my best to shape my usual brief in such a way as to speak most directly to the future strategic choices LM faces as the Pentagonís largest contractor.

I also scope the room: itís a double-wide ballroom with a very wide stage full of the requisite plants. There are two large screens on either side embedded in a ìwallî made up of flowing curtains. These are for the PowerPoint presentations. Above the stage is another big screen upon which the speakerís image is displayed. There are several hundred execs in the room, all arrayed behind long tables facing the stage.

Having scoped out the room and set-up, I retreat to the speakersí room to put the brief together, selecting the slides I want to use from my array of about 100 in all. Once thatís set I generate a copy and give it to the techies running the show behind the stage as a backup. This takes a while because Iím using floppies (my Sony stick just died), and so I listen to Charles Krauthammer, Gary Hart, and Brent Scowcroft perform on their all-star panel. Meanwhile Secret Service are scoping out the backstage area because the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Defense is speaking right before me following lunch.

I spend lunch setting up my laptop at the podium and testing the sound and picture. Then I do the hob-nob with my immediate host, the head of strategic planning for LM, who introduces me to Coffman and others. While Deputy Secretary Loy gives his speech, I coffee up and locate some Perrier to take with me on stage.

Then the moment comes: Coffman gives his intro and Iím on. Still suffering the vertigo somewhat, Iím likewise feeling a bit blitzed and not just a little bit nervous, which always happens when I havenít given the brief in a while. Itís been several weeks and my pitch is memorized, so either the RAM is working or itís not.

I think of Brett Farveís masterful dismantling of the Oakland Raidersí defense on Monday Night Football the day after his dad died, and immediately realize why his concentration could be so strong at that moment: itís simply what he does best. When you hit such profoundly depressing moments as losing a parent, everything gets stripped away except for that which remains. Brettís core skill set is dismantling defenses, and mine is giving captivating presentations to large audiences.

Once inside the moment (I always start somewhat slow), I enter the usual zone. Sixty minutes later Iím taking questions following a strong round of applause, and two hours later Iím hearing from my hosts that my presentation made the day. ìYou pushed a lot of minds in new directions,î I was told, ìand that is exactly what we brought you here to do.î

As I walk back to my hotel room to change for dinner, I realize my vertigo is gone. Iíve remembered who I am: husband to wife, father to children, provider to family. I donít need any reminders about my Dad. I became him years ago.


The Man I Hope Someday to Be

Dateline Portsmouth RI but really Madison WI,

late in the evening of 26 March

My Dad is going to leave in the next few hours, and I am going to miss him very much.

He raised and supported seven children into adulthood, losing two in their very early years.

He was an enormously patient man, full of humility.

He always went out of his way to help others, and never sought credit for himself.

He was terribly shy in his personality, but somehow endeavored all his years to befriend others and to engage in the sort of small talk that left those around him always feeling better about themselves.

He taught me many things along the way: how to catch a football, how to think ahead, and how to get through difficult moments with faith.

I feel very fortunate to have known this man for 41 years. I would have taken more, but this was more than most receive, and for that I thank both him and God.

He will always remain to me the man I hope someday to be.


Globalization isn't easy

Can I Get a ìDuuuuh!î on Insourcing?

Dateline Southwest Flight 860 from BWI to PVD, 26 March

My head feels immediately better upon lift-off. The capital is awash in blooming trees, which is like garlic to this vampire. Good news is, most of such blooms will be gone upon my return in late April.

Great story from Wednesdayís Wall Street Journal (24 March) entitled, ìEver Heard of Insourcing?î Itís by Walter Wriston, former CEO of Citicorp/Citibank. I have been waiting years to read this article and let me tell you why.

My NewRuleSets.Project work with Cantor Fitzgerald taught me plenty about the investment flows that really involve shifting the means of production/service from one country to another. Itís not commercial bank loans and itís not flows into and out of stock markets per se that really drives this process. Rather, itís foreign direct investment (FDI) that involves equity ownership of real assets, real companies, and real factories. FDI is one of the ìfour flowsî that populate my bookís elegant/reductionist model of how globalization advances.

Quick quiz: who is biggest single source of FDI in the world? Who invests most in other countries economies? That would be the U.S., meaning no one sends as much equity-controlling capital around the world as we do, thus no one exports jobs (a.k.a. outsourcing) as much as we do. We do this to gain access to cheaper inputs (raw materials, people, technology, etc.). If your economy and its companies do not constantly seek such cheaper inputs, the goods and services your economy produces will cost more than those from competing nations, meaning youíll lose markets and ultimately your companies will fail, depriving your workforce of the jobs they generate.

So duh! Outsourcing by sending FDI around the planet in search of better opportunities is good, despite the nonsense you hear from unions whose sole purpose in life seems to be making sure their members never have to switch jobs, towns, or careers in their lifetimesóa pointless and ultimately self-defeating goal.

As for politicians ranting on about ìBenedict Arnold CEOs,î this is economic stupidity personified. The problem is not sending jobs abroad, but retraining workers here at home within an economic and social environment that encourages lifetime learning and constant updating and broadening of skill sets.

Second quiz: whoís the biggest target of FDI from around the world? That would be us again, the United States. No one attracts FDI like we do, meaning no one attracts capital and the means of production/service like we do. When Japan invests in a new Toyota factory in the U.S. or when Novartis moves its central R&D facility from Switzerland to Massachusetts, those countries are outsourcing jobs to the U.S., whichóin effectómeans weíre insourcing those same jobs.

All this succinct op-ed points out is that the U.S. economy consistently insources more jobs each year than we outsource. Take that for a blinding glimpse of the obvious! Of course, that churn on jobs means any individualís dream of a single-career life lived in one spot is most likely a chimera, or completely unattainable without significant opportunity and monetary cost. So yeah, globalization isnít easy.

But over time this flow of jobs into the U.S. provides ever-increasing opportunity to improve ourselves, our skill sets, and our overall economy. According to the Organization for International Investment, the U.S. insourced 4.9 million jobs in 1991, with that figure rising to 6.4 million in 2001. Moreover, roughly one-third of those insourced jobs came in the manufacturing sector. Such foreign investment in our productive capacity currently yields just over 1/5th of this countryís annual exports. If this isnít win-win, as the author claims, then what is?


Dateline, on the road again

Tuesday, 23 March

Turns out the guy who measured me for my tux on Saturday was convinced I was a 46L, which is kinda amazing since all my suits say 42L. I mention this reality to him when I pick up my rental Monday, but he says tuxedos can measure out differently than suits. Hmmm, I reply.

Then he slips the jacket on me and the cuffs come down to the middle knuckle on my thumbs. My Esquirephile fitter assures me it looks quite stylish, but I feel like a 10-year-old wearing his older brother's sports jacket and complain. He disappears in the backroom and comes out with a "fix." It seems roughly the right length and I'm already 45 minutes late for an interview with some British naval officers who are waiting outside my office door back on base, so I stuff the jacket in the bag and run out.

I could almost hear the editors at Esquire clucking their disapproval at my mistake.

Later last night when I try it all on for my wife, Vonne, she suppresses a laugh and I know the jig is up. The tux guy had simply rolled up the sleeves and sewn a quick seam inside the arms. I was still wearing this oversized jacket, like some black-tie version of David Byrne in Stop Making Sense. So today is a bit of a scramble in terms of getting a replacement tux from another shop (where I sold the owner on the book) and a refund from the other dude, before I catch my flight to DC, where Putnam has a car waiting for me and a room in the Renaissance, an establishment I have managed to miss on all my previous government per diem trips to the capital.

Good thing I got a tux that fits, cause I'm moving on up!

So today let me offer one shameless plug for my book by commenting on a very "four flows"-like article in the Wall Street Journal and then tax your patience one last time with the last of my mega-posts in the Back Story of The Pentagon's New Map series (this one dealing with the process of writing the book).


The Military-Market Nexus

The bath water called al Queda

by Thomas "I'm a reductionist, and damn proud of it!" P.M. Barnett

I spend a chapter (#4, The Core and the Gap) in my book presenting what I know is a rather simplistic and clearly reductionist model of globalization as four key flows worth preserving and keeping in balance. My basic notion is that the U.S. and other great powers must do whatever it takes to allow these resources to continue flowing from those regions where they exist in abundance to those regions where they are scarce. My four flows, detailed first in my article with Hank Gaffney entitled "The Global Transaction Strategy" are as follows:

  1. People have to flow from the Gap to the Core, as the latter ages demographically.
  2. Energy has to flow from the Gap to the New Core especially (specifically, Developing Asia), where energy use will double in the next two decades.
  3. Foreign direct investment needs to flow from the Old Core (U.S., Europe, Japan) to the New Core (especially China, Russia, and India) in order to enable their further integration into the Core.
  4. Finally, security has to flow from the Old Core (especially from the system Leviathan known as the U.S.) to the Gap, with a special emphasis in the near- and mid-term on the Middle East due to its central role as breeding ground for transnational terrorism and as the major source of energy for Developing Asia.

Those are the four flows: security, money, energy, and people. Keep 'em in balance and globalization will continue to progress. Screw any one of them with this Global War on Terrorism and we can end up killing globalization just like we did back in the 1930s.

Here is the story from the Wall Street Journal (28 March): "Geopolitical Fears Hurt Stocks." It's about stock markets falling over much of the world as a result of recent events.

Here's the quote I like. It's the first paragraph in the article:

"When investors focus more on world instability than on business fundamentals, stocks tend to fall. That is what happened yesterday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up almost 122 points amid worries about terrorism, Asian stability and the price of oil."

When I go on and on in my book about the need to get off thinking about war solely within the context of war and instead start thinking about war within the context of everything else, this is exactly the sort of every-day linkage I'm talking about. I once described this linkage from A to Z in a Decalogue ("Asia: The Military-Market Link") that I update and expand to describe all of globalization at the start of Chapter 4 in the book.

Here are the "Ten Commandments" as I define them:

1. Look for resources and ye shall find, but Ö

2. No stability, no markets

3. No growth, no stability

4. No resources, no growth

5. No infrastructure, no resources

6. No money, no infrastructure

7. No rules, no money

8. No security, no rules

9. No Leviathan, no security

10. No will, no Leviathan.

That's what I call the Military-Market Nexus.

You get terror in the Middle East, and that spooks the oil markets. The rising oil prices destabilize economic and thus political stability in Asia, so markets respond and investment flows are curtailed. If America pulls out of Iraq, what do you think happens then? Less terror? More stability? Cheaper oil? A faster growing Asia? A better global economy? Globalization's progressive advance to those regions currently on the outside, noses pressed to the glass?

Why does it all matter to the average American? Because most of us have our retirement savings at work on Wall Street, and that money is a crucial fuel to globalization's advance. So, in effect, globalization's success is our collective future either unfolding as planned or disappearing down a rat hole, and the Pentagon and its changing role in national security since 9/11 is part and parcel of this entire process. It's not just something that kicks end when diplomacy fails or when markets are shut down. This is a very iterative and interactive feedback loop, where everything affects everything else.

For example, who do you think buys all that public debt we float to pay for the war in Iraq? That would be our Asian friends primarily, and China and Japan in particular. Guess what happens when they have to pay more for oil, have to hedge more against regional instability, and put up more firewalls due to terrorism fears? They become less willing to pay for our "exporting of security" in this global war on terrorism.

My point: there is no such thing as a "war president" or "unilateral war" or any of that other nonsense about America doing whatever it pleases and to hell with the rest of the world. It all comes back to haunt us on some level, whether we realize it or not. In this war, we fight a networked opponent whose operating domain encompasses all the complexity that is globalization. Either we fight this war with such complexity in mind or we do more damage than good to globalization's future. That's the baby we don't want to throw out with the bath water called al Qaeda.

And yes, you'll feel the pulses of this "distant war" in your market portfolio on a daily basis. That's nothing new. We're just becoming more aware of such connectivity after 9/11.


Dateline, home above the garage

Tuesday, 22 March, late evening

I feel the need to speed ahead and get done my Back Story of The Pentagonís New Map series of posts, because tomorrow night I head down to DC on Putnamís dime to start interfacing with media people who are checking me out in advance of my publisherís serious media tour in late April that coincides with the release of the book. So Iíll call this trip the Pre-Meditated Media Tour (Kirkus was right, I do like capitalizing conceptsóitís so very Pentagon).

But before I push ahead with the third post in that series (about selling the book proposal), I cannot help but offer some commentary on Richard Clarkeís ìstunning revelationsî regarding the Bush Administrationís deaf ear to the intell communityís ìstaunch warningsî on the imminent 9/11 attacks.


Intell 9/11: Good news, bad news

There ainít no such thing as an intell failure on 9/11

Let me be upfront with my conclusion: I knew all along that there was no such thing as an intelligence community failure on 9/11. But I will also say there certainly wasnít any success either. Let me explain what I mean.

First off, you have to understand that the intell communityówhen all the agencies are consideredóis huge. There is basically an intell analyst for every possible threat and/or scenario out there, and these guys areóby and largeótalented and devoted people. They are also quite certain, down to the very last one of them, that the ìthreatî theyíre working on is basically the most important one out thereóand simultaneously the most ignored by higher-ups.

As soon as 9/11 happened, I predicted this ìstunning revelationî: within weeks investigators would uncover several ìsmoking memosî that warned about the very attack that was unleashed on 9/11. In fact, let me go on record as guaranteeing this outcome for every ìunforeseeable attackî this country ever suffers in this global war on terrorism. The real question isnít whether or not some analyst in the vast universe of the intell community saw this one coming, because they always do. Itís what the national security establishment does in terms of prioritizing such analytic flows over time.

The reality of the defense community is that they spent the 1990s basically ignoring the terrorist threat. They did so because they saw nothing in such threat analysis that got it what it really wanted: giant, very expensive and very lethal platforms (ships, aircraft, tanks, etc.) for its preferred mode of war, otherwise known as great power war. Our system of national security planning was set up to counter the Soviet threat, and it has changed very little since that threatís demise. Instead of adapting to the changed strategic security environment, we ginned up a hollow replacementóthe near-peer competitor concept, or the threat to-be-determined.

Now, if you know anything about all the ìsecretî wargames we plan and play, thereís no mystery about who the preferred candidate for the near-peer has long beenóChina. China is basically the Pentagonís desired replacement for the Soviets. So weíve reoriented much of our threat analysis and the intell collection that supports it to that new target. We prefer that new target in the Pentagon because it matches our definition of preferred war: against a large opponent with vast resources and high technology. This is what we know, this is what we want.

The reason why I say there was no intell failure on 9/11 is because we continue to focus our long-range force structure planning and all the threat analysis that goes with it on the fabled near-peer, not on those pesky ìlesser includeds,î a category to which terrorism has long been assignedóand frankly still is. The intell system worked just fine on 9/11 in terms of collection and reporting, by and large. What was wrong was a national security strategy and long-range threat/force planning bias against processing and prioritizing such warnings. Simply put, all the memos and warnings in the world would not have made us ready or able to prevent 9/11. They simply did not compute in our existing strategic mindset.

That mind-set was everyoneís fault in the national security business: the White House (both Clinton and Bush), the Congress, the intell community and the military community. We all asked for and got from the intell community a strategic threat analysis that emphasized what we wanted emphasized: a ìrisingî China. In short, we spent the entire post-Cold War period planning for an enemy who will not rise and a war that no longer exists. To pretend we can point fingers ex post facto on 9/11 is self-serving and meaningless, although it certainly makes Richard Clarke feel better about his career.

The real question is how much our strategic mindset has changed since 9/11.

Out in the field, I would say much change has occurred. And I would say that the Office of Secretary of Defense has definitely undergone a serious transformation, seen in their new thinking on how to wage wars, where weíll wage them, how weíll plan for them, and what forces weíll need for them. Where I do not see the change yet is in the long-range force structure planning, or the system by which we plan and buy the platforms that define our force-in-being over time. There the bias toward the ìfew and the very expensiveî continues to dominate the needed movement toward the ìmany and the cheap.î Greg Jaffeís recent WSJ article on the armored Humvee shortage in Iraq is a good example.

My bottom line is this: until we break up and reconfigure the antiquated, Cold War-style long-range force structure planning system, all our strategic analysis inside the Pentagon will remain a slave to this process, thus preventing any serious reordering of our intelligence structure, its collection methods, and the processing and prioritization of analysis. The end product in this vast Pentagon planning pipeline remains a high-end, great power war-oriented force, and so the system continues to feed a view of the world that fits that desired end product. Check out the current threat analysis that justifies the Pentagonís long range acquisition plans, and you will see China looming behind every ìbig betî analysis. Al Qaeda and the GWOT are really nowhere to be found in this vision of the future, because they do not justify the preferred force structure.

Until the Pentagon and the political administrations that rule over it change our definition of real wars worth waging today as well as potential threats worth hedging against tomorrow, it will not matter one whit how much we reform the intelligence community, for it will continue to speak to an audience predisposed to ignore its analysis.


The Beekeeper Gets a Tux

Dateline, Portsmouth RI

Yesterday, after the YMCA team that I coach won their last game of the season in a defensive gem (my boy Kevin playing the role of Ultimate Disruptor!), I got fitted for a tux. The rental shop was very male, and gave off this Esquire vibe of modern manliness. No surprise, their coffee table was full of back issues. So I bragged to the guy fitting me that I have an article coming out in the June issue timed to the release of my book. It will be a look at the Pentagonís New Map a year after Iraq. Mark Warren and I are editing it now.

Anyway, the guy who fitted me up was impressed. I could have said Naval War College, or ìworked for Office of the Secretary of Defense after 9/11,î but I got the distinct feeling (and there is so much anti-Bush feeling everywhere I go) that these lines would have impressed little. Instead, he thought my writing for Esquire was distinctly cool, like a warm, moist breeze from a bottomless Britney or a bikini-clad J Lo Ö.

Which brings me to my own true love, my spouse Vonne, who, in her never-ending attempts to prepare me for the road ahead, is threatening to cut up my 15-year-old black trench coat I got at Fileneís Basement in Boston. Itís my lucky coat, I tell her, which I tore on a door at the Pentagon just before my first great brief in the building to senior admirals back in 1992. The tear doesnít look so bad, since I got that patch stuff that you iron on (I am a child of a child of the Depression) to cover the huge gash off the left pocket. But Vonne is undeterred, and I expect her to start waving my daughterís sewing scissors any minute nowóall Psycho-like.

So my son Kev and I will head to Providence Place Mall to buy me a new cell phone and a new trench coat (to go with my rented tux) later this morning. Then weíll meet up with Vonne and our other two kids. Iíll take the kids to Dave and Busterís for games and food, then a later movie (thinking Hildago), while Vonne will get the afternoon to herself after watching the kids throughout my sojourn with my Dad in WI.

Still, with all this manly improvement going on, it only makes sense to tell my story now about the role Esquire played in getting me to the verge of moving 100k units of a book with the one U.S. publishing house sporting the best recent record of generating best-sellers. Simply put, Esquire made me what I am today: a vain, shrill, self-promoting, ass-baring (no wait, that would be just Britney) bestselling wannabe.

God I love those guysÖ


Dateline, Madison WI

Friday, 19 March

Last of three days on watch with my Dad at St. Maryís cardiac wing. I am relieved tonight by two brothers. All is well in the fatherland: the surgeon declares his recovery pace nothing less than outstanding.

Overall effect on me is also quite positive. Spent the last two weeks exploring my psyche with a boatload of dreams that I could easily recognize as comparisons of my life against my Dadís, and while such reflection is typically good for the soul, I prefer to dream about book sales instead of family funerals.

So back to my ongoing effort to generate boldly unique analysis of current world events so as to help G.P. Putnamís Sons sell me and my book to the national media. I am running out of time. Putnamís PR heavies are prepping me for a whirlwind tour of DCís mass media shops this coming week. How do I know theyíre serious about showing me off? Iíve been ordered to rent a formal tuxedoóat their cost.

So two quick bits as I sit on my relatively smooth United flight from OíHare to Providence, scheduled to arrive sometime after midnight. I know Iím tired after two all-nighters at my Dadís side; I managed to leave my cell phone on the rental car shuttle at OíHare. But here I go anyway thanks to several fabulous stories in todayís Wall Street Journal that make my work rather easy.


Bait and Switch


A brilliant story from Pulitzer prize-winning Pentagon reporter Greg Jaffe, a great guy with whom I have crossed paths on several occasions (yes, you need to read the book to find out more), entitled, ìDefense Mechanism: Cold-War Thinking Prevented Vital Vehicle From Reaching Iraq: Planning for Big Battles, Army Snubbed a Humvee Model Built for Guerrilla Fights: ëWe Didnít Anticipateí Threat.íî

Story is basically how our soldiers currently serving in Iraq are desperate to get their hands on the armored version of the Humvee. The Army started building these well-protected versions of the modern-successor to the Jeep roughly a decade ago. But guess what happened over the 1990s? Every time the Army came under a budget crunch, strategic force planners chose to cut production of the armored version, because it costs $180k compared to the $90k skin flint version. So now the Army has over 100k Humvees, but only about 2% of them are armored. Right up to the Iraq war, the Army was planning to cut the number of armored vehicles produced in coming years.

So what happens to our soldiers in Iraq? Theyíre getting sliced and diced by terrorists and insurgents who can send even small-caliber handgun bullets right through the non-armored Humvees like a hot knife through butter. Our soldiers over there are so desperate in their efforts to shield themselves, theyíre taking to welding scrap metal on the interior walls of the vehicles and laying sandbags on the floor.

Meanwhile, Army force planners, who spent the 1990s dreaming of a big-time shoot out with the fabled ìnear-peer competitor,î are steering the big bucks toward such heavyweights as the Stryker fighting vehicle (19 tons with heavy armor) and the much-anticipated Future Combat System, which will replace our current 70-ton battle tank sometime around 2010. How many of these behemoths does the Army need in the Global War on Terror? Tough to say, unless you see the occupation of Iraq as a far more likely scenario than massive armored column battles. The Army went into the Iraq occupation stating they need just over 300 armored Humvees for the job. Right now the latest estimate sits somewhere north of 10,000.

Jaffeís article is a real masterpiece of analysis, the best part being his noting that the units within the Army most in need of armored Humvees are the forgotten soldiers of Military Operations Other Than War (or MOOTW to defense insiders): the military police. MP units have long pushed the Army to stock up on these vehicles, but lacking any three- and four-star generals in their ranks (you donít become senior flags doing MOOTW), they have lost these budget battles year after year.

You want to know when the first celebrated cases of skinny Humvees being shot up during some overseas intervention occurred? In Somalia roughly a decade ago. Over the past few years, the Army has budgeted enough funds to build only about 30 armored Humvees a month, which is why National Guard units currently gearing up for duty in Iraq are forced to beg local businesses to help them fortify their vehicles before they ship out. The Armyís excuse? ìHow could we have foreseen such an occupation?î

Indeed, how could they have foreseen such efforts, when an incoming Bush Administration told everyone who cared to listen in 2001 that there would be no nation-building on their watch, nor any quagmires in Third World hell-holes? But even more pathetic than blaming the Bush White House for this state of affairs is watching Karl Roveís new attack ads trying to pin it all on John Kerryís voting record in the Senate. Truth be told, the Army did this to itselfóyear after year over the entire post-Cold War period. The Clinton Administration let them do it, and the Bush Administration went out of their way to encourage it, but in the end, the Pentagonís strategic mindset is the ultimate culprit. Built around the notion that the only warfare worth planning for is one involving a peer competitor, we spent the 1990s searching for one, only to leave ourselves woefully unprepared for the GWOT.


Handicapping the Gap: China


I realize my book will make me a lot of enemies among those within the defense community hell-bent on keeping the Pentagonís strategic focus on their favorite choice for future peer competitoróChina. I know also that my familyís decision to adopt a baby girl from China in coming months will be seen by many ìrealistsî as further evidence of my being personally soft on communist China.

Truth be told, I consider myself the ultimate realist on Chinaís future. I just define my realism in terms of economics, not ideology or the fanciful notion that national power is only truly expressed through military means. I believe China is ìrising,î and that it will be our ìnear-peerî along a wide variety of diplomatic, economic, and social means not in some distant future, but over the next ten years. I believe we are woefully unprepared for this development, allowing Chinaís myopic security fixation on Taiwan to blind our vision regarding the true nature of their rising influence not just across Asia, where the vast sucking sound known as Chinaís demand for goods and raw materials is already reshaping the regional economy, but likewise across the planet, precisely because China is not just hell-bent on synchronizing its jumbled internal rule sets with that of globalizationís ever-more solid rule sets, but intends to forge more than a few global rule sets of its ownóespecially in the realm of technology standards.

Chinaís real power on the global stage will ultimately be expressed much like Americaísóthrough its consumers. Right now, only about 120 million of Chinaís 1.3 billion can be classified as middle-class, but that number is growing by leaps and bounds. Already China boasts the worldís largest cell phone market at 269 million users, and the second-largest pool of Internet users at 78 million. In an advancing global economy defined by connectivity, China can remain greatly under-connected on a per-capita basis and still zoom past Americaís totals without breaking a sweat.

This economic phenomenon will shape the emergence of global rule sets that America has long considered its special purview to steer. Let me give you two good examples from todayís Wall Street Journal (19 March):

First is the story entitled ìThe Spam-China Link.î China is wiring itself up to the web in a very aggressive fashion, creating all sorts of connectivity but not the same adherence to our preferred rule sets regarding proper behavior. The U.S. and Europe have moved sharply in recent months to clamp down on spam. So where has global spam production moved to? China, of course. In Asia, only such long-time Old Core stalwarts as Japan and Australia have matched the Westís new stringent laws on spam, so New Core economic powerhouses like China, Taiwan and South Korea haveónone too surprisinglyóemerged as the ìcenter of Internet fraud, the way Grand Cayman or the Bahamas are havens for tax fugitives,î according to one Asian expert on spam.

This is a classic example of one of my bookís major themes: in globalizationís progressive advance, we constantly run into situations where economic rule sets get ahead of political ones, and technological rule sets leap-frog security rule sets. But instead of always assuming that such rule set divergence signals the development of long-term antagonisms leading to potential downstream military competition, we need to focus on consistently working to synchronize such diverging rule sets, making sure the resulting global rule set doesnít work to isolate potential new pillars of the Core, forcing them into exclusionary stances that limit the Coreís expansion.

Why is this important? Every instance of significant rule-set divergence holds within it the seeds of downstream conflict if left unaddressed. China is growing by leaps and bounds economically, and that growth and the greater interaction with the outside world that it generates will naturally generate strong feelings of national pride across the population, but especially among those youth most involved in enabling this growth and connectivity. Right now we are witnessing a boom in nationalist expressions within Chinaís burgeoning web community, a subject covered in another excellent Wall Street Journal article in todayís issue (19 March) entitled, ìYuppies in China Protest Via the WebóAnd Get Away With It: Nationalistic Dissidents Press For Hard-Hitting Policies On Japan, Taiwan, U.S.î

The Chinese Communist Party is betting that wiring up the country is essential to unleashing the nationís future economic potential, and theyíre right. Theyíre also betting they can control the intellectual power enabled by all that connectivity, and theyíre wrong. For now, the leadership does little to crack down on the nationalistic rumblings of their growing web community, believing it reflects a general support for the CCPís authoritarian rule because it suggests that what most Chinese Yuppies want is not another form of government, but a government that pushes the nationís agenda more forcefully in the global community of states. But this is a foolís gamble, because over time this growing technocratic elite will surely turn against the communist leadership simply because the latterís emphasis on order over efficiency will prove too much for the former to swallow as Chinaís economy matures. In short, Chinese webheads will want both order and efficiency, and while authoritarian rule can provide order, it takes genuinely free markets to produce efficiency, and while that power can be unleashed by central authorities it can never truly controlled by them.

Chinaís growing economic, technological, and even social clout (see another Journal article of 16 March entitled ìNow, Itís Hip to Be Chinese: Many Asians Flaunt Roots to China as Nation Gains Cachetî) will not only progressively shape globalizationís emerging rule sets, it will certainly upset the Westís preferred expression of many rule sets. That is why the NewRuleSets.Project that I directed in partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald was so focused on Developing Asiaís economic rise (not just Chinaís clout, but Indiaís too, for example). We saw the integration of Developing Asia into the Old Coreís long-standing rule sets as fundamentally reshaping the worldís definitions of both conflict and cooperation.

When America lets the Pentagon define ìrisingî Chinaís ìthreatî as simply the danger of Beijingís military invasion of Taiwan, we commit the sin of thinking about war only within the context of war, and not within the context of everything else. We also set ourselves up for self-fulfilling prophecies, like a China that must necessarily oppose an American-led global economic and security order. Figuring out how Americaís and Chinaís preferred rule sets dovetail into the firm enunciation of a global rule set is easily the most important task we face today in securing globalizationís future.


A gift from heaven

Wednesday, 17 Mar

On a 6am United flight to Chicago with my West Highland Terrier, Boswell. Making the pilgrimmage back to Madison WI to sit a couple of tough nights out with my Dad, who's just made it through a heart valve replacement + 2 bypasses at age 81. He was on death's door walking into the hospital on Monday and docs gave it 50/50, which is about 5 times the mortality rate they usually are willing to take on. But somehow he pulls through, instantly making me about 1,000 percent more optimistic about making it to 150 myself (a personal dream).

I know I won't be getting much sleep over the next 48 (my two-day shift between other covering siblings), but Putnam's on my ass to generate material that's current events-focused as they begin their full-court sales job to the mass media about why I and my book need to be on their shows. I did Haiti on my first updating of the "Handicapping the Gap" list before I left, and now Spain seems the next logical choice. So I burn 2,500 words on the flight, pick up my dog (whom we're giving to my Mom and Dad since their Westy died recently and they're too old to start over with a puppy), and I'm off to Madison in a rental.

Later that day I see my Dad in intensive care and help him get through a tough, rather delirious afternoon. I sleep 3 hours from 6-9 at a Super 8 room my family is using and then take over from my older brother for the overnight shift. As the clock strikes midnight and my father settles into something like sleep, I pull out my laptop to discover that everything I penned on the plane is lost on a bad floppy. So I start over.

Then I start to really warm up, plus it's fun to actually write through the night, something I've never done before with any success. So I move onto the second of my Back Story of the Pentagon's New Map posts and burn another 3k to go with posts on Seam States and Spain. Despite the fatigue and weird hours, I must admit it feels very good to be writing at this volume again. When I wrote the book, it was 5k a day without fail, and it's starting to feel that alive again with this weblog.

My Dad resurrects around 5am acting and sounding like his old self. His color is about 10 shades more ruddy than the last I saw of him. We have a conversation I never expected to have again, with a man I never expected to see again, and it feels like a gift from heaven.


Theory: "Resource Wars"

A nice story I just gotta cite: Another "Resource War" That Fails to Unfold

Story appears in the 16 March issue of the New York Times entitled, ìSide by Side, Palestinians and Israelis Repair a Ruined River.î

A pet theory of many security analysts in the post-Cold War era has been that ever more scarce resources (especially fresh water) will become a frequent source of inter-state conflict. The only problem with this theory is the extreme lack of historical evidence, which doesnít deter many of these advocates, because, as we are constantly told, the world is running out of everythingóand it has been for the last several decades. That such predictions consistently prove false doesnít stop such doom-and-gloomers, who pin a lot of their hopes on ìwater warsî in the very dry Middle East.

Well, this story provides another nail for the coffin of this theory without a cause. A joint environmental effort by Palestinians and Israelis in northern Israel just won a prestigious Australian award. As one judge commented, ìTwo communities at each otherís throats in armed conflict somehow found a collective will to repair a damaged and poisoned river.î Why? As history repeatedly shows, when groups in conflict encounter a dangerous decline in a shared natural resource like water, they consistently put aside their differences to cooperate, disappointing many Pentagon security analysts yet again.


Handicapping the Gap: Spain's 3/11

Cleary, the terrorist attack in Madrid was impressive, not just in its destruction and multiplicity of effects, but in its timing. In many ways, it was a preemptive strike designed to topple a government which had stuck its neck out to support the U.S-led coalition that had successfully removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq. Its message was simple and direct: pull out of the coalition or we will continue to target you. The al Qaeda message traffic on this leading up to the attack was quite explicit: we need to target this election.

The surprise winners of the Spanish national elections were the Socialists, who seemed as shocked at this unexpected turn of events as the center-right party they ousted. Everyone knows that the Spanish public overwhelming opposed the governmentís decision to join in the Iraq coalition, and yet most experts expected Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznarís party to remain firmly in power. Pre-3/11 polls showed the Popular Party to be just that, but the terrorist strikes apparently set off a seismic shift in the voting.

To me, thatís a real System Perturbation: a dozen backpack bombs buys al Qaeda a national election in one of the most advanced economic powers in the Core: small investment, big return. But the real extent of this System Perturbation is not yet known, because clearly the attack was meant to perturb political rule sets far beyond Spain, a key pillar of Old Europe. The 3/11 attacks are meant to drive a wedge between the Old Core pillars of Western Europe and the United States. They warned, in effect, that to follow the U.S. lead in this global war on terrorism is to invite catastrophic terrorism on your soil.

I am reminded of the Monty Python skit where the Mafioso tries to threaten the commanding officer of a military base: ìNice place you got here. Sure would be a shame if it caught on fire.î The parodied goal there was, of course, protection money. With Europe, al Qaedaís goal is disconnectionófrom the U.S., from the multinational effort to rehabilitate Iraq, and from the Middle East as a whole. In effect, theyíve told Europe, ìNice union you got here. Sure would be a shame if it caught on fire.î

There are roughly a dozen national elections scheduled across Europe over the next couple of years, but the biggest upcoming target of opportunity isóof courseóthe Olympic Games in Greece, a Seam State long derided for its lax efforts on stemming terrorism. Already, U.S. athletes have floated the notion of boycotting unless certain security considerations are better handled by the Greeks, who frankly are so behind in their overall construction effort that security experts are naturally worried about their ability to focus on the little things that separate a secure site from one not so secure.

Two countries to watch in coming weeks and months with regard to any ripple effect from Spainís about face are Italy, where similar popular sentiments abound and the PMís position isóalmost by historical definitionósomewhat dicey. Then thereís Poland, whose military leadership of a truly international force in Iraq is a real political and diplomatic stretch for them, since Warsaw is not used to engaging in such prominent leadership overseas. More specifically, the Poles had hoped the Spanish would up their role in the coalition unit, allowing them to quietly recede in terms of leadership. Now with the new Madrid government openly threatening to pull out, Warsaw could get panicky, although early indications are that they greatly desire to appear strong and steadfast.

With Old Europe seemingly wobbling, al Qaeda might well look to target the last of the trio of Old Core pillars, Japan. Thereís no need to conduct terrorism on their soil, now that Japan has gone through with the very difficult decision to send troops into harmís way in Iraq. So just about any reasonably successful strike against Japanese soldiers is guaranteed to register asóand you should get used to hearing this phraseóìthat nationís biggest single case of combat casualties since World War II.î That was the case for Italy when they lost roughly a dozen and a half personnel a while back in Iraq. It may sound like a stunning threshold, but it isnít. It just says that, except for the U.S., the Old Core pillars of Western Europe and Japan are so far removed from their warfighting past that any loss of life is a historical novelty sure to shock the populace.

Itís that sort of vast gulf in experience that al Qaedaís terror network is targeting right now. Bin Laden had long believed that just one Black Hawk down was enough to scare off the Americans (based on the Somalia experience), and heís discovered just how wrong that impression becomes in a post-9/11 world. But such calculations are far more reasonable for an Italy, Spain, and maybe even a Poland.

What does this say for the United States? It says that a ìbloody noseî strategy may well work for al Qaeda with many Old Core states, and perhaps some of the smaller New Core states as well, like Poland. So rather than spend our time trying to figure out what it will take to keep Old Core allies along for the ride, maybe the U.S. should focus more on what it takes to win the significant support of such New Core pillars as Russia, India, and China, all of whom are far less squeamish about both inflicting and suffering ìsignificantî combat casualties.

With the al Qaeda network now targeting soft targets across Iraq in a strong attempt to scare off anyone from the outside seeking to forge new economic ties between themselves and the long-isolated Iraqi people, a strong display of commitment by major New Core powers could have a profound demonstration effect. In my mind, the biggest diplomatic loss America has suffered to date in its efforts to internationalize the military presence in Iraq was when the Indian parliament basically said no to providing 17,000 peacekeepers a while back. If we were to get such strong displays of commitment from India, Russia and China, it would be far harder for wobbling European states to excuse themselves from the fight.

Recent setbacks like Madridís 3/11 and the massive hotel bombing in Baghdad play into President Bushís desire to campaign as a war president, a strategy that, if it doesnít backfire with the American public, is certain to isolate America further in a Core that desperately wants to see a global war on terrorism waged within the context of everything else and not just the American presidential election.


The Concept of Seam

A key notion of mine with regard to the Core/Gap divide is that numerous ìseamsî mark the various divides that separate these two worlds within a world. The most straightforward expressions of this concept are Seam States that lie along the boundary between the Core and Gap. Now, admittedly, while I made a point of capturing roughly 95 percent of U.S. non-humanitarian crisis responses (1990-2003) within the Gap (meaning I drew my Gap boundary in order to keep the vast majority of those responses within the resulting shape), I did have some leeway in deciding exactly where the line fell.

Frankly, this seam was never much of an issue when I first drew the map, because that image was used solely within the context of a PowerPoint briefing designed to be seen by upwards of several hundred audience members in spaces as large as hotel ballrooms. That meant I kept both the map and the shape of the Gap itself rather bold and iconic. In other words, I would not (and really could not) say in every instance whether a country fell inside or outside the Gap. To me, the definitions of Gap and Core themselves were the key issue, not some strict roster of whoís in and whoís out.

Then William McNulty came into my life. Heís the guy who makes the vast majority of the maps for the New York Times, which is why my Core-Gap map made famous by Esquire and soon to appear in my book looks so much like a Times map. Esquire hired McNulty to create the map they used in the original article. When Mark Warren (my hired-gun editor) and I were working with Putnam in putting the book together, it seemed only natural to reuse McNultyís artwork, which I found very attractive (he, on the other hand, off-handedly remarked to me once in an email that I should basically fire the guy who did my graphics, something I tried not to take personally as the author of all my own stuff).

Of course, McNultyís stuff is so sharp and clean looking precisely because it is printed on paper and designed to be read close up, plus itís for the staid Times, so the lurid sort of colors I use in my PowerPoint brief are nowhere to be found. To say the least, though, I was very excited to have McNulty on the case, because I knew his version would give the map a whole new authority compared to my splashy, animated PPT rendition.

Then McNultyís dreaded emails started pouring in. He kept asking whether or not this or that state was inside or outside the Gap boundary. Unlike my PPT map graphic where individual country boundaries went unmarked, McNultyís map labeled each state, forcing me to decide on a case-by-case basis who belongs to the Gap and who does not. So I made some choices. In South America, I decided that everyone other than Argentina, Brazil and Chile were basically in the Gap. In southern Africa, I isolated South Africa from the rest of the continent, designating it for the Core (just barely). In Europe, I extended the line around most of the former Yugoslav republic, grabbed Romania, the Caucasus and all the Central Asian states. I did not go all the way eastward to include Mongolia though, and made a point in South Asia to include everyone but India, which, as a result extends into the Gap like the grand peninsula it is. In East Asia, I basically grabbed everyone save China, Taiwan, the Koreas (trapping North Korea in the Core) and Japan. Finally in the Pacific, I included all the island nations except Australia and New Zealand.

Not an exact science, obviously, but the resulting shape did strike me as a decent expression of globalizationís advance, or frontier. But the main point was, by encompassing 95 percent of U.S. crisis responses since the Cold Warís end, I had captured virtually all the major violence expressed across the system in the current expansive era of globalization. This is the natural global demand pattern for U.S. security exports once the Soviets had left the strategic scene.

Some of the seam that resulted from all these individual decisions was easy to define. For example, the Mediterranean itself is a key seam between Europe and Africa/Middle East. In my mind, then, several states that line this historic sea are classic Seam States, such as Morocco, Spain, Greece and Turkey.

Now one way I describe the importance of Seam States is to say that most of the terrorists we fear operate and are based within the Gap and thatóif they had their wayótheyíd bring their violence into the Core. To do that, these terrorists need to cross seams, both physical and virtual. For example, a border is a physical or geographic seam, whereas an airport and its attendant customs office is more a procedural or virtual seam. Truly virtual seams are what youíd think they are: stuff like the Internet, bank transfers, mail, etc.

Another way I like to highlight the Seam States is to say they represent the fundamental battle lines in this global war on terrorism: theyíre like the middle ground on a chess board, or the countries most likely to be either lost to the Gap or pulled into the Core. As international trade studies consistently show, proximity still determines a lot of economic transactions across the globe.

When al Qaeda struck New York and Washington on 9/11, they struck deep into the Core, pulling off a terrorist attack of great strategic depth and requiring a significant stretching of their necessarily complex logistical lines (complex because of the need to stay hidden from view). Up to that point in history, many security specialists, including me, remained relatively unimpressed with the fears voiced by some terrorism experts that eventually Middle East terrorist groups would develop the capacity to reach all the way to the U.S., because the heyday of terrorism in the 1980s saw their reach limited primarily to southern Europe, suggesting that even penetrating that shallowly into the Core was a real strain for them.

Why 9/11 was a real System Perturbation that threw the Coreís security rule sets into flux was because it destroyed that sense of strategic complacency. So the Core performed a significant rule set reset, tightening itself up, especially in terms of air travel. As a result, no significant follow-on terrorist attacks have occurred in the U.S. since 9/11, which is certainly an impressive accomplishment on our part.

But that tightening of security rule sets has forced al Qaeda to return to the Seam State focus that marked transnational terrorism in the 1980s, suggesting that once again the Mediterranean basin will be a hot spot of trouble, just in time for the 2004 Olympics in Seam State known as Greece.


The only question is...

. . . how we welcome them.

"The Hispanic Challenge" by Samuel Huntington (Foreign Policy, March/April 04 issue)

According to my old professor Sam Huntington, not everyone should be welcome here. Sam's new book (sure to be controversial) is titled: Who Are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity. If you think Sam went off the deep end with Clash of Civilizations, you may consider this to be rock-bottom of an otherwise brilliant career.

Let me say first off, Sam Huntington probably goes down as the 20th century's most important political scientist, not to mention one of the most controversial. More personally, he was my favorite professor at Harvard. Frankly, I felt like such a fish out of water there (with class mates like Fareed Zakaria, Andrew Sullivan and Mark Medish, you tend to feel inferior from the get-go), and most of my attempts to speak out in seminars were greeted with complete indifference ("Huh?" was a common response). But Sam was the first andóin some waysóonly prof who seemed to get me, who seemed to be able to hear my voice at whatever unique frequency I was speaking at. His grading of my papers were a revelation to me: someone understands my way of thinking!

So when I criticize the guy, you need to understand it's nothing personal, because I think he is legitimately described as a giant in my field of political science, plus he's a personal hero of mine.

Having said all that, I fear Prof. Huntington has outlived his productive years. The last good book he wrote was about The Third Wave of Democratization. Then he seemed to lose his way in the post-Cold War world, primarily because he seems to fear multiculturalism like the Black Death (no pun intended). In this latest book on how "the persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages" (I quote the intro to the FP article, which is adapted from the book), Sam seems to have lost all perspective on what this country really is all about, instead choosing to cringe at the "brown peril" that seems poised to destroy us.

Sam has become this frightened old white guy from New England who's scared stiff of all those brown Catholics coming up from the south. The ironic part of the article is that he credits all those white Anglo-Saxon Protestants with setting in motion the U.S. that we know today, but then assumes that by letting in too many Latino Catholics, we'll end upóapparentlyóbecoming a racially divided version of Brazil or Quebec.

"Would the United States be the country that it has been and that it largely remains today if it had been settled in the 17th and 18th centuries not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish, or Portuguese Catholics? The answer is clearly no. It would not be the United States; it would be Quebec, Mexico, or Brazil."
I guess I just don't read U.S. history in the same way as Sam does. While I credit the Anglo-Saxon source code, I see this country evolving so far past those origins that a huge gulf exists today between that European tradition and what we have created here in the U.S. My sense is that Huntington felt okay about the future so long as it centered on the Anglos-Saxon-led West keeping the Slavic and Asian commies at bay, only to become deeply disillusioned and scared when the New World Order that followed seems to favor a globalization-fueled mixing of the races (I say this as someone adopting a baby girl from China in coming months).

The Latinization of America is not only a good thing (opening up our minds and hopefully our nation's membership to Latino societies to our south), it is a deeply necessary thing due to the aging demographics we face over the coming decades. So get used to southern governors who know Spanish becoming president of the United States, because over time that will be the norm.

As I say in the book, "they" are coming no matter what, the only question is how we welcome them. If you listen to Sam Huntington, it is question of danger, but in my mind, it's a question of opportunity. I see a United States that encompasses maybe 75 states by the year 2050, and I see many of those states coming from Latin America. It won't be out of fear but out of logic that we open up membership in these United States once again.


Who wants to be the 51st state?

My "Stunning Prediction" That America Will "Annex" Much Of Latin America In The Next 50 Years!

Here I reference the review of my book, which was posted yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I loved the review, which was very complimentary (it certainly beats the Kirkus review found at Barnes and Noble page; which called me "Strangelovean" for similar reasons), and the bit about me predicting a Teddy Roosevelt-like grab for new states will be just fine in terms of getting media attention for the book, but it's a misread of what I said.

Now, first off, you have to understand that, like every other reviewer, is working off the "bound manuscript" version of the book, which is nothing more than the first polished draft that Mark Warren and I turned into Putnam (on timeóa first in publishing history I was told) in mid-November of last year. We then spent the next four months editing the text, but Putnam, due to the tight production schedule (they moved the book's release up a month after reading the first draftónice!) rushed that "uncorrected proof" (as it says on the cover) into print so as to be able to give reviewers and media people something to chew on before the release date of 26 April. Point being: Mark and I went over the text, smoothing out a lot of material, including the (apparently) soon-to-be-infamous paragraph on "annexing" (I never used that word!) in the last, concluding chapter.

Here is what I really meant by introducing the concept that America would add new states in the next several decades: I think that not only does the Core as a whole need to be open about bringing new members into the fold from the Gap, but that the United States itself has to rethink the notion that somehow, these "united states" are/is a closed club. I mean, we added states for about 170 years, and then stopped during the height of the Cold War because doing anything like that during those decades would be like pursuing some American version of what later became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.

But I honestly believe this country needs to open its mind up to the possibility that we can and should admit new "member states" in coming years. We're doing this on an economic basis with a NAFTA, and hope to do it with a CAFTA and a FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas). On a very profound level, we've done it in the past in terms of security rule sets by creating a NATO and then saying in effect, "attack any of them and you attack the U.S." If that isn't making a foreign state one of your own security-wise, then what the hell is?

All I am suggesting by throwing out this bold prediction that the U.S. will grow in size and membership in the future is that we need to move beyond this sort of piecemeal integration. Mexico, for all practical purposes, is a collection of member states belonging (some more than others) to a U.S.-centric economic union, as are the Canadian provinces (again, some more than others). I say we need to move beyond this partial membership and open up the doors for states, especially in our hemisphere, to join the United States for real. When states in the region entertain the notion of "dollarizing" their economies (using the U.S. dollar as their own and foregoing any national currency), they are asking to be let in economically. Panama has done this for years, and BTW, is the only Latin American economy to feature an active 30-year fixed home mortgage market as a result. Argentina and others have considered this move in recent years, all of which only speaks to the attraction of membership in U.S.-led economic unions of all sorts, because belonging to our "club" means access to our markets.

I know bringing up these ideas strikes many as radical (primarily in terms of giving any small state two senators, but Rhode Island's duo only do so much damage, so how bad could Haiti's be?), but my goal in doing so is simply to open up the minds of Americans about what "shrinking the Gap," as I call it, will ultimately entail. There is so much anti-globalization feeling brewing around the world and in the U.S. right now, when in reality we need to be going in the other direction: not closing our doors by enlarging our definition of "who's in" and "who's us" (more on that later when I talk to Sam Huntington's new book). The Census Bureau predicts that two-thirds of U.S. population growth by 2050 will come in the form of Latinos immigrating into our nation. With that Latinization of the U.S. proceeding apace, is it so bizarre to think that the U.S. could expand in membership to include partsóor allóof Mexico (itself a collection of "united states"), or other small countries in Latin America?

I mean, the European Union admits new members by the boat load and no one there finds it so bizarre (although notice how they stop when they reach the Muslims in Turkey and the Slavs in the former Soviet republics), so why can't the U.S. get back into the business of being open for new members? What is so sacred about 50 stars in our flag?

Here is why I bring it up with regard to Haiti: we should simply be done with these periodic interventions that have been going on for a good century and simply invite Haiti into the United States. Tell me Haitians wouldn't jump at the chance. It's like going from playing with the Milwaukee Brewers to joining the roster of the New York Yankees with the stroke of a pen! Imagine what a stunner that would be! What a system perturbation! What a fluxing of the global rule set!

Just think about what a shock it would be for Fidel's Cuba, or any Latino Gap state suffering from some terrible dictator, if America put that option on the table. Imagine the sort of change we could trigger in our hemisphere atówhat I could argueówould be reasonably low cost (again, Rhode Island is only so corrupt, so how bad could adding Haiti be?).

Of course, you might see a few other statesólike toddlersóflop themselves down on the floor immediately, demanding to be picked up and held by "mommy" U.S., but I think it would nonetheless be worth it. Such a dramatic move would shout out to the world, "We are open for new member states!" And nothing would better signal an America that is not withdrawing from the world.

Yes, I know this is a fanciful vision right now, but I wrote that paragraph in the book (tease, tease) so as to shock the reader into thinking something new and different about how this country defines itself in the era of globalization. Anyway, it's such a "revolutionary" idea only because it's such a retro idea. Admitting new states is not about some 19th-century Niall Ferguson-definition of American "empire," but a 21st century notion of broadband integration. America has stood, for well over two centuries, as the world's first multinational economic, political and security union of member states. We not only have a great product, we have long served as the original source code for globalization's increasingly mature expression and growth over the past several decades. If all we ever do with such states as Haiti is send the troops and nothing else, that does smack of imperial order. But inviting such states into our very exclusive fold (we last admitted a new state, poor island chain Hawaii, in 1959óalmost a half century ago) says something very different about these United States. It says we really believe in a future worth creating not just for ourselves, but for all who would join us.

Remember this: our government's official name is the "United States." Not America, not the United States of America, not USA. We are the only country in the world without a place name. Where is the United States found? Wherever there are states united. We are the only nation in the world build solely around a conceptónot any "sacred land," not any "chosen race." We need to remember that. Everyone is welcome here.

Well, almost everyone . . .


Handicapping the Gap: Haiti

Our decision to go back in was no big surprise. As soon as desperate people there started signaling a willingness to hop on boats and make for U.S. shores, you just knew the White House would have to bite the bullet and deal with the situation. When I saw that the Coast Guard had turned back two boats with 140 on board, I could almost hear the Marines cowboying up for their next great Caribbean adventure. Aristide's later whining about being tricked out of the country was fairly silly. He knew his time was up. And anyone on our side bitching about how we removed him from power should simply be happy we managed to do so without having to shoot anything - or anyone - up.

My definition of a truly "failed state" is one that "fails" to get any great power interested in its sad plight, so by that idiosyncratic measure, Haiti isn't really a failed state, but our interest is driven more by geographic proximity than by real desire to do better there. If Haiti was located off the coast of Africa, then fuhgetaboutit!

This Bush Administration intervention is unlikely to do any more good than the Clinton one that preceded it. The U.S. is simply not serious about making any long term commitment to the Caribbean's Gap states, except to cherry-pick members for the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA. In theory, I approve of such cherry-picking, as I say in the book, but eventually we need to get around to the Haitis too.