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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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. . .


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.


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 ( 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The wake that never ends

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

This recent posting on the page containing my eulogy for my Dad was very nice to receive.

Dear Tom,

It was with considerable interest that I read the recent article concerning you in the Wall Street Journal and then for some reason (I guess just curiosity) I called up your web site.

I was greatly surprised when starting to read your father's eulogy to find that it was the same John Barnett that I knew from Boscobel, WI, having grown up on a farm about seven miles north of Boscobel in Crawford County and graduated from Boscobel High School (1955).

When my mother died in 1999, your father handled the sale of my parent's (Roscoe & Lois Spencer) house in Boscobel to John Bohlman (Bohlman's Drug Store).

Also, my maternal grandfather William (W.J.) Graff had considerable contact and dealings with your grandfather over the years. My grandfather built the building occupied for many years by the J. C. Penny Co. He originally operated Graff's Jewelry there until retiring in the 1930's.

I don't get back to Boscobel much anymore (usually just to attend the funeral of a relative or friend) as both my older brother (Don) and I moved to the Madison area back in the 60's.

You don't need me to tell you (but I will anyway): both your father and grandfather were well respected, not only in the community of Boscobel but throughout southern Wisconsin.

I'm sure they both would be very proud of you.

Best wishes and continued success in your future endeavors,

Ed Spencer

Until my Dadís recent illness and death, I didnít get back to Boscobel much myself for many years. Like any small town, Boscobel remains essentially the same but greatly changed. The Boscobel this man describes I can just barely remember, like the J.C. Penney store I used to visit with my Mom more times than I could remember (the J.C Penney Christmas catalogue was the most exciting publication of my entire childhood!). But it is very nice to hear him describe itóa wonderful personal connection that really touched me.

This is exactly why I posted the eulogy on my site: I wanted to hear these stories from people I would otherwise never cross paths with. Thanks to the Wall Street Journal story, I got to hear Ed Spencerís remembrances of my father and grandfather. Since the mourning never really ends, why should the wake?

And thanks to the connectivity of the Internet, it doesnít have to . . ..

A very big thank-you to Ed for sharing this comment.


Dolans Unscripted then Lou Dobbs


Time: 10:30 am (EST), with replays at 8PM and 11PM (EST). Tuesday, 18 May

Station: CNNfn (CNN financial news channel)

Talking with: Ken Dolan and Daria Dolan

Length: 5 - 8 minute interview


Time: 6-7 pm (EST), Tuesday, 18 May

Station: CNN

Talking with: Lou Dobbs


Mr. President, Hereís My Argument on Iraq

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 17 May

My Esquire article entitled, ìMr. President, Hereís How to Make Sense of Our Iraq Strategy,î appears today in the Early Bird supplement under the header ìOpinionóIraq.î

Hereís the opening paragraph:


June 2004

Pg. 148

Mr. President, Here's How To Make Sense Of Our Iraq Strategy

One of the architects of the Pentagonís New Map of the world offers a most important guide to a) why the boys will never be coming home and b) why this is the first step toward a world without war

By Thomas P. M. Barnett

Is this any way to run a global war on terrorism? The new conventional wisdom is that the warmongering neocons of the Bush administration have hijacked U. S. foreign policy and sent the world down the pathway of perpetual war. Instead of dissecting the rather hysterical strain of most of that analysis, let me tell you what this feedback should really tell us about the world we now live in. And as opaque as the administration has been in signaling its values and true motivations, I will try in this piece to explain what Iraq should mean to us, why all the pain we have encountered there is the price we must pay to ensure a peaceful century, and why this is the birthing process of a future worth creating.

Early Bird is found at for those who can access. The actual article is found at: Esquire promises (they assure me) to post the entire article in the free access portion of their site by the end of this week. At that point, weíll link to that. For now, access the article here if you are able.


South Koreaís nostalgia for the past

ìNorth Korean Performers Adapt to Life on a New Stage,î by Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, 16 May, p. 3.

Strange article on the appeal of North Korean singers who defect and then try to keep their careers going in the South, where tastes are very differentóor are they?

One way that North Korean artists, with their stilted ways and their horribly proletarian content (imagine a pop song about spreading fertilizer or mixing cement!), somehow manage to eek out careers in the modern South is that they remind older audiences of simpler times.

Hereís the perfect paragraph that sums up the piece:

ìëIt reminds me of old days, as if Iíve come home again,í said Woo Shi Yong, a 52-year-old South Korean civil servant, standing toward the back of the audience. ëI can feel how North Koreans are living, whereas I donít understand what young people are singing these days in South Korea.íî
There is the agony and ecstasy of globalization in a nutshell: the pull of the old versus the pull of the new.


They shoot hawks, donít they?

ìThe Hawks Loudly Express Their Second Thoughts,î by John Tierney, New York Times, 16 May, p. WK5.

Great article goes through long list of well-known conservative writers to see whoís going wobbly, whoís turning on what, and how much expectations are being lowered day by day. A great list of writers is reviewed in the piece, to include Charles Krauthammer, the National Review, David Brooks, Robert Novak, Max Boot, Thomas Friedman, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Andrew Sullivan, Kenneth Pollack, Fareed Zakaria, Tucker Carlson, Owen Harries and none other than Samuel Huntington.

Everyone now is gloomy in their own way, with many calling for heads to roll inside the Pentagon, of course.

Success has many fathers, failure is pretty much a bastard.

I must be an inveterate optimist, but when I see the military floundering like they are in Iraq right now, I try to focus on the opportunity for learning that failure always presents. No institution learns better or faster from failure than the U.S. military.

The question is: can we make this learning stick not just for the Pentagon, but for the rest of the world as well?

Inside the Pentagon, itís clear what needs to be done: we need to seed the back-half Sys Admin force to match the challenges and opportunities by having the worldís preeminent front-half Leviathan force. When we own the back half force that leads the way, then weíll attract the coalition partners necessary to making that process work. Think of that one as the task at the level of nation-states.

On the system level, the task is what Iíve called the development of the A-to-Z global rule set on processing politically bankrupt states. This one is getting lost in the shuffle right now.

Inside Iraq, or on the level of the individual, we all need to redefine how we want to measure success in this intervention. Hereís where the hawks are getting all upset over whether or not America could somehow rehab broken Iraq into a democracy over night, when what we need to focus on is making sure that societyís great connectivity with the outside world is our greatest legacy. Who rules Iraq and how they rule is not nearly as important as making sure that Iraq does not slip back into disconnectednessóthatís the minimal goal and the only one we really must mandate. The rest needs to be up to the Iraqis themselves.

So if Iím a hawk by many peopleís measure, then I guess Iím not going wobbly about what I know is true: Iraq is a whole lot more open now than it was a year ago. With this openness will come a lot of tumult and violence, because it will threaten the dreams of a lot of people hell-bent on hijacking the Middle East out of globalizationís creeping embrace. We donít have to win this conflictósimply extend it until the connectivity wins out and the forces of disconnectedness give up and look to some other near-hell hole to make their stand.

This is cowboys and Indians all over again. There will be many bad fights and many bad days, and plenty of atrocities will be staged for our viewing pleasure, but in the end, that railroad is aícoming. That connectivity will not be denied.

Geez! I gotta turn off Deadwood before it screws up this entire post!


The PAO is your best friend

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 16 May

The Public Affairs Officer is your best friend if youíre interestedóas a War College professoróin reaching new audiences. Convince them you have content and can perform it at will and they (the PAO and the Deputy PAO) will push you like crazy every chance they get.

This whole thing began when the Deputy PAO Lt. David Ausiello called me one morning and asked if I would be willing to meet with someone from Esquire about an issue they were calling ìThe Best and Brightest.î Both the lieutenant and his very able boss, Cdr. Susan Haeg, have given me a lot of great opportunities in the past, but I couldnít really turn them on until there was some other impetus to the process besides the book, which, because it remains Putnamís baby, cannot be their own due to conflict of interest reasons (government workers canít help me sell books that benefit me financially).

Fair enough. So I havenít turned to them so far in this book-selling process, taking personal leave to do everything and keeping the War College at armís length throughout.

But everything changes with the Wall Street Journal profile and the Esquire article hitting the streets. Now Iím back in the normal category of being a professor with an article and so the PAO is back in action on my behalf.

They got me the Fox appearance last Tuesday when the WSJ article came out. They also got me on NPRís ìHere and Nowî show on Thursday. And tomorrow theyíve got me on Fox Newsís noon show in studio and live in Manhattan. That means the PAO is working Fox on what the taglines will be that appear under my face during the broadcast. So when the college gets me on TV, they want to see the collegeís name most of all, just like Putnam likes to see the book title, and Esquire wants to see the name of their magazine and the title of the article.

Me, I just hope they say my name right, cause it drives my Mom nuts when they donít.

So Monday is train day back and forth to NYC. The PAO is working other opportunities while Iíll be in town, as will Putnam, and hopefully Esquire too. An embarrassment of riches? You bet. But when the book quiets down and the article gets old, itíll just be me and the PAO, so Iíll make sure I answer their mail first on this trip. Gotta dance with them that brought ya!

Getting up early means getting through the articles quickly here, cause I didnít start in until the Sopranos ended.


ìThe Hawks Loudly Express Their Second Thoughts,î by John Tierney, New York Times, 16 May, p. WK5.

ìNorth Korean Performers Adapt to Life on a New Stage,î by Norimitsu Onishi, NYT, 16 May, p. 3.

ìScience Fairs Are Turning From Frogs to U.S. Security,î by Claire Hoffman, NYT, 16 May, p. 16.


This generationís Sputnik

ìScience Fairs Are Turning From Frogs to U.S. Security,î by Claire Hoffman, New York Times, 16 May, p. 16.

Something else to blame on 9/11. Science fairs used to be mostly about saving the environment, but now that the Department of Homeland Security is trolling the booth exhibits, ready to hand out scholarships, young minds are turning to the tasks of controlling the chaos that is the world today!

Yes, yes, ìto think like my enemy,î as one winner put it.

To some, thereís a choice between making America a safer place and making the world a better place, but I see the two as essentially linked. Waging war within the context of everything else, instead of seeing it as an end to itself (ìWhy isnít Iraq a democracy yet?î), is how you work to understand that basic connection.

If all I want is safety, then I focus on firewalling America off from the scary world outside and Saddam is still in power. But if I want a better world, then he had to go and we all have to put up with the tumult that his swift departure unleashes. If you want the good, then you have to deal with the bad.

A focus on homeland security is not what this country needs. Those science fairs should be all about shrinking the Gap. Trust me, weíve got enough old-timers obsessing on homeland security. We need the next generation to focus on building the future worth creating, not merely preventing the future worth avoiding.