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    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
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    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Emily V. Barnett
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2:38AM

The Core is ready to get real on ag subsidies

ìW.T.O. Moves to Revive Talks on Farm Subsidies: After disappointment in Cancun, a mood for compromise between the rich and the poor,î by Elizabeth Becker, New York Times, 2 June, p. C4.


The Old Core led by U.S. Trade Rep Bob Zoellick (the underappreciated visionary of this administration) is ready to deal on ag subsidies, and the EU as a whole is stepping up to the plateówith the French grumbling mightily, mais oui!


Look for a real breakthrough on this current set of negotiations done in advance of a bigger meeting later this summer.


Experts always love to talk about the WTO talks ìbreaking downî and ìcollapsing.î Reality is, people deal when they are ready to dealóand they are getting ready to deal on this one. This is both very good and very important.

6:11PM

The Book Notes transcript in full

Dateline: control booth, Baruch Hall, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Ft. Leslie McNair, Washington DC, 2 June


Just finished lunch following my all-morning presentation of the max current brief (54 slidesóusually do about 30). I started at 8:40 am and went straight to 10:15, then a 10-minute break for the audience, then 10:25 to 11:10, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A from the audience (current study body and faculty of ICAF). Audience of about 200 in beautiful hall with lots of wood grain, wonderful well-lit stage, and instead of usual screen, a wall of integrated video monitors.


I ran the brief off the hallís system and it behaved quite well. Sound effects came through beautifully and I wore a clip-on mike, so I could roam the stage at will. I tried to move as slowly as possible, so the CSPAN main camera could track me. The second camera filmed me some, some the monitor and did crowd reaction shots. CSPAN techs said later that they felt the capture was greatóespecially the brief.


My performance was solid, but not spectacular, but my hosts were very happy. I flubbed a few one-liners. My mouth was a bit out of sorts at various pointsóperhaps fatigue.


Anyway, itís over and in the can.


I was amazed to see my Amazon number drop only to 21 through yesterday (now 32). Woodward and a couple others of my sort ahead of me. To my shock, Clarke behind at 67. Will be interesting to the measure the half-life on Book Notes. So far, itís longer than the Wall Street Journal, to my complete surprise.


Speaking of Book Notes, hereís the transcript in full, with a few corrections from me (e.g., they misspelled my wifeís maiden name and my second middle-nameóMeussling).


I will offer comments in brackets following my entries where I see fit:


Here's the transcript: /published/bn.htm


COMMENTARY: Overall, the best interviewówithout a doubtóI have ever given. One thing I have learned: you are only as good as your interviewer in any interview. Lamb is superb, and Iím only sad that you only get to appear on the show once in your life. But I got the mug, and Lamb said only people who get one have appeared on the show, so thatís cool.


Finally, I was so happy to have this amazing chance to present my ideas in such an intelligent format. Add it all up and itís roughly 12,000 in words. Thatís a lot of opportunity. Perhaps I shouldnít have been surprised that it gave me such a bounce in terms of sales.

8:16AM

Calling: Carlton Yates

From Critt Jarvis, the webmaster:


I deleted your last comment because I feel it's inappropriate to simply copy and paste an entire article into a comment, as a comment. Writing a personal thought and citing a URL works best.


Also, please be mindful that your comment is posted to the topic that jiggles your imagination.


If you have questions about my decision, ask me via email.


Thanks,


Critt

7:35AM

Booknotes Transcript

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Thomas P.M. Barnett, what`s "The Pentagon`s New Map"?


Just the link for now: http://www.booknotes.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1782

5:33AM

Long dayís journey into night

Dateline: Gate 21, TF Green Airport, Warwick RI, 1 June 2004


Up in Chicago at 4am and my son Kevin and I fly SWA to BWI and then to Providence. Run K-man to school and then bolt home for 90 minutes on the PC, getting my mega-brief ready for the Beeg Shoe at National Defense University tomorrow morning on CSPAN (taped for later in the monthóprime time!). Then Iím back in my Honda to Providence airport and a huge flight delay.


But the brief is ready, and according to my hosts, the crowd will be hungry tomorrow. The only bitch is that NDUís military lawyers have banned the sale of my book on the premises. If I had done the normal thing and published 5,000 copies via NDU (or through the government), it would be okay to sell the book on a ìmilitary reservation.î Why? I wouldnít have made any money.


Thatís my essential problem: youíre not supposed to write popular books that occasionally top out at #6 rankings on Amazon. Youíre only supposed to preach to the choir itself.


Damn my capitalist tendencies! Youíd think all those years of studying Marxism at Harvard would have stuck!


Here's my Catch and Commentary over the last several days:


"Offering aid to Haiti, Marines extend stay: U.S. troops have already airlifted 100,000 pounds of food, water,î by wire services, USA Today, 1 June, p. 4A.

Administering the system quietly in Haiti
ìSun Alters Its Pricing Strategy For Sales to Developing Nations,î by John Markoff, New York Times, 1 June, p. C2.
Sun: to each priced by population and development
ìLiberian Ruler Can Be Tried, Court Rules," by Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 1 June, p. A7.
Another brick in the wall of the A-to-Z system
ìA Plea for Enlightened Moderation: Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation,î by Pervez Musharraf, Washington Post, 1 June, p. A23.
Pakistan asks, ìCanít we all just get along?î
ìCash crunch curbs rebuilding in Iraq: Jobless rate stuck near 30% as businesses seek capital,î by David J. Lynch, USA, 1 June, p. 1B.


ìSome Seek Date for U.S. Troops to Exit Iraq,î by Peter Slevin, WP, 1 June, p. A20.

The real failure in Iraq: the FDI has not flowed
ìSaudis Suffer Fresh Terrorist Attack: Assault Takes Lives of 22; Some Westerners Leave, But Oilís Flow Still Steady,î by Hugh Pope and Chip Cummins, Wall Street Journal, 1 June, p. A3.


ìSaudis act to ease concerns after terror attack: Officials search for al-Qaeda militants,î by staff and wire services, USA, 1 June, p. 5A.

The Saudis as bit players in their own 9/11s
ìInexpensive Chinese cars on way soon? Hurdles remain to importing vehicles as cheap as $9,000,î by Earle Eldridge, USA, 1 June, p. 3B.


ìChinas Opens Retail to Foreign Investors,î by Leslie Change, WSJ, 1 June, p. A2.


ìU.S. Firm to Control Chinese Bank: Newbridge Buys 18% Of Shenzhen Shares,î by Peter S. Goodman, WP, 1 June, p. E1.


ìChina Sees Success in Taming Growth: Senior Official Says Prices Of Commodities Are Easing. Investment in Toning Down,î by Kathy Chen and Constance Mitchell-Ford, WSJ, 1 June, p. A15.


ìThe Most Populous Nation Faces a Population Crisis,î by Joseph Kahn, NYT, 30 May, p. WK1.


ìAsiaís Tigers Are Back, With More Muscle,î by George Melloan, WSJ, 1 June, p. A17.

China huffs and it puffs, hoping its house wonít blow down

5:05AM

Administering the system quietly in Haiti

ìOffering aid to Haiti, Marines extend stay: U.S. troops have already airlifted 100,000 pounds of food, water,î by wire services, USA Today, 1 June, p. 4A.


Weíve been going to Haiti for about a century nowóroughly every decade or so. This time itís almost 2k Marines doing the HA/DR, or the Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief response. ìSince arriving, Marines have cleared garbage, refurbished schools, donated notebooks and pencils and played soccer with street gangs.î


Whatís the big difference between this effort and much of the work in Iraq? Thereís simply no combat component. Many times the Sys Admin response features no real shooting of any note, and sometimesólike in Iraq since May 2003óit features quite a bit. But either way, the baseline work is largely the same.


And, as is the norm, the UN troops are later and getting later. The UN promised 8k, and so far only a few dozen have shown up. So the Marines hang around longer than expected.


You say, how much can that matter? Youíd be surprised how few of the 170k Marines in uniform can actually put their boots on the ground overseas at any one time, so every effort counts in the grand scheme of things when an Iraq is sucking so many resources right now.


But no matter what big fights we choose to wage, the Sys Admin work goes on and on and on and on. Thirty-five coups in 200 years in Haiti. We donít ìbreakî Haiti, nor do we ìfix it,î and thatís why it will remain inside the Gap until further noticeóand effort.


All of the Marines, from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will be heading to Iraq next.

4:55AM

Sun: to each priced by population and development

ìSun Alters Its Pricing Strategy For Sales to Developing Nations,î by John Markoff, New York Times, 1 June, p. C2.


Interesting article about Sun pricing its products to developing countries according to each nationís development status as measured by the UN. Iím sure theyíre some crafty marketing strategy in there somewhere, but on the face of it, it sounds like a nice way to shrink the Gap.


Anybody conclude differently

4:54AM

Another brick in the wall of the A-to-Z system

ìLiberian Ruler Can Be Tried, Court Rules," by Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 1 June, p. A7.


A UN-backed international war crimes court in Sierra Leone (the same one whose transnational indictment (sounds about right for transnational actors, huh?) sent corrupt dictator Charles Taylor packing from Liberia in the first place, has ruled that he can be tried in that same court for his role in enabling a rebel insurrection in Sierra Leone.


To me, this is another good sign of an emerging A-to-Z global rule set on processing politically-bankrupt regimes and their leaders.

4:51AM

Pakistan asks, ìCanít we all just get along?î

ìA Plea for Enlightened Moderation: Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation,î by Pervez Musharraf, Washington Post, 1 June, p. A23.


I rarely have anything much nice to say about Pakistanís government, but their current leader, the ex-general Musharraf is a goodóif largely ineffective leader.


Hereís some quotes from his excellent op-ed in the Post:

ìThe world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faithóthe Muslimsóat the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened ModerationÖ


The unfortunate reality is that both the perpetrators of these crimes and most of the people who suffer from them are Muslim. This has caused many non-Muslims to believe wrongly that Islam is a religion of intolerance, militancy and terrorism. It has led increasing numbers of people to link Islam to fundamentalism; fundamentalism to extremism, and extremism to terrorism . . .


To make things even more difficult, Muslims are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and more disunited people in the world . . .


My idea for untangling this knot is Enlightened Moderation, which I think is a win for allófor both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. It is a two-pronged strategy. The first part is for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and adopt the path of socio-economic uplift. The second is for the West, and the United States in particular, to seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world.î

He then goes on to blame the West for encouraging radical Islam against the old Soviet bloc in the 1980s and then ignoring it across the 1990s (both quite true), and ends with ìWe must adopt a path of moderation and a conciliatory approach to fight the common belief that Islam is a religion of militancy in conflict with modernization, democracy, and secularism.î


All good stuff and all largely inconceivable to the bulk of this leaderís own population, a good chunk of which ably provides sanctuary to al-Qaeda. But have no doubt: itís better to listen to Musharref than bin Laden, or Arafat, or Saddamóall great disconnectors who prefer (or preferred) to keep their own people stupid, isolated, and under their power. If Musharref had his way, Pakistan would open up to the outside world. Itís just sad it won't go his way in that country any time soon.

4:37AM

The real failure in Iraq: the FDI has not flowed

ìCash crunch curbs rebuilding in Iraq: Jobless rate stuck near 30% as businesses seek capital,î by David J. Lynch, USA, 1 June, p. 1B.


ìSome Seek Date for U.S. Troops to Exit Iraq,î by Peter Slevin, WP, 1 June, p. A20.


The first few paragraphs of this piece hit the issue right on the nose:

ìBusinessman Louay al-Tahanís biggest problem isnít the postwar chaos that often keeps his employees from their jobs, the daily power outages that idle his machines or even the unexploded artillery shell sitting in the rubbish heap alongside his factory.


Al-Tahanís biggest problem is a lack of cash. Despite Iraqís turmoil, he sees a huge opportunity to expand production to meet surging demand. But to do that, he needs $1.8 million to replace his gear. ëTo renew our factory, we really need to rip out all our equipment,í al-Tahan said. ëWe donít have the liquid cash.í


With bank lending almost non-existent and foreign investment in Iraq about as common as a snow-storm. Iraqi businesses are struggling to secure the credit they need for life after Saddam Hussein. Whether these midsize businesses succeed or fail with their job-creating expansions is critical for stability: Iraqís anti-American insurgency is largely made up of unemployed young men. If the economy generated more jobs, extremists couldnít recruit foot soldiers as easily.î

No businesses invested in themselves under Saddam because to do so was to become profitable and attract the attention of Saddamís sons, who would simply loot the place over time. So businesses did nothing beyond surviving under that rule.


So far the coalition governments involved in the occupation has disbursed about $7.5 million in micro-loans, but billions are needed.


Who will supply that sort of money? Private corporations that see a future in Iraq. Killing that future is exactly what that insurgency is all about; they would prefer a smaller pie they could control that a larger one no one in particular could control (unless you believe multinational corporations control your life as well).


Meanwhile, the ìempireî strategists are leaving this sinking ship. Andrew Bacevich, one of the real kingpins of this movement, says ìThe destruction of the Baathist regime is the fullest expression of liberation that we can accomplish . . . It is simply beyond our ability to bring into existence a liberal democratic order, and to persist in attempting to do so is, first of all, to end in failure.î


So thatís the judgment of the empire crowd: itís war and nothing else; itís smoking holes and ìweíre outta here.î Apparently it's all (democratic order overnight) or nothing at all.


Thatís grand strategy alright: give it a year and then bail.


Remember World War II: it was all success upon success for the U.S. in its first year, and everyone in America was behind the war from the get-go.


As Dr. Evil would say, ìRrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiight . . ..

4:33AM

The Saudis as bit players in their own 9/11s

ìSaudis Suffer Fresh Terrorist Attack: Assault Takes Lives of 22; Some Westerners Leave, But Oilís Flow Still Steady,î by Hugh Pope and Chip Cummins, Wall Street Journal, 1 June, p. A3.


ìSaudis act to ease concerns after terror attack: Officials search for al-Qaeda militants,î by staff and wire services, USA, 1 June, p. 5A.


Al-Qaeda is doing well in its efforts to scare out all Westerners from Saudi Arabia, but Westerners account for only about 100k of 6m foreign workers, the vast majority of which are south and east Asians.


So I ask yet again: why donít we have India and China in this coalition? Itís their oil, and their people working there. The reality is that killing or scaring off all the Westerners wonít cripple Saudi oil production one bit.


Thatís because the Saudis are bit players in their own 9/11s: of the 25 who died in this biggest terrorist attack in over a year, only 3 were Saudis. The rest were 8 Indians, 3 Filipinos, two Sri Lankans, an American, a Briton, an Italian, a Swede, a South African and a kid from Egypt.


Let them eat cake? Hell, let them eat the bullets too . . ..

4:30AM

China huffs and it puffs, hoping its house wonít blow down

ìInexpensive Chinese cars on way soon? Hurdles remain to importing vehicles as cheap as $9,000,î by Earle Eldridge, USA, 1 June, p. 3B.


ìChinas Opens Retail to Foreign Investors,î by Leslie Change, Wall Street Journal, 1 June, p. A2.


ìU.S. Firm to Control Chinese Bank: Newbridge Buys 18% Of Shenzhen Shares,î by Peter S. Goodman, Washington Post, 1 June, p. E1.


ìChina Sees Success in Taming Growth: Senior Official Says Prices Of Commodities Are Easing. Investment in Toning Down,î by Kathy Chen and Constance Mitchell-Ford, Wall Street Journal, 1 June, p. A15.


ìThe Most Populous Nation Faces a Population Crisis,î by Joseph Kahn, New York Times, 30 May, p. WK1.


ìAsiaís Tigers Are Back, With More Muscle,î by George Melloan, WSJ, 1 June, p. A17.


The next threat from China? The Great Wall Deer pickup and the Great Wall Safe SUV. Itís chin-ching at a mere 9 to 18k per unit.


But whatís this? China opening up its retail sector big time. Out go the old rules, such as all ventures must be joint ventures, and in come the new, such as Walmart can start its own stores and set them up anywhere.


Damn those tricky communists! Every time I think I have a handle on them, they confuse me yet again.


Iíd call them inscrutable if they were issuing so many new rules in direct compliance with WTO regsócurse their growing transparency!


Whatís worse is that theyíre beginning to let Western firms own banks in China. More connectivity. More rules. More transparency.


Why submit to our bankersí tyranny? Could it be $500 billion in bad loans in the system? So the infusion of cash at the price of ownership means we get to buy distressed banks.


Hmmm. How very capitalist of us . . ..


Latest news from China says its efforts to cool down the economy is showing signs of working in certain key raw materials like steel and aluminum. Good news. Too much of the global economy is tied to China already, and China needs that foreign direct investment to flow for years and years.


Why? China is aging faster than any major country in human history. All this nonsense about China somehow blowing past the U.S. economically and posing a huge military threat completely ignores the huge demographic shifts already in play and inescapable to all: China will get old before it becomes rich. Add this race to the many China is running with itself.


Yes, yes, I know. All those pissed-off young men without wives (thanks to the one-baby policy) will get angry at their lot and decide to invade the world, displaying an overseas aggression that China has yet to display in about 5,000 years of history (but those damn tricky communists will unveil it any minute now!).


The hardest thing for so many experts in my field to accept about China is that it is destined to disappoint the Pentagon greatly as a ìrising near-peer competitor.î Instead of seeing Chinaís development for what it isóa huge opportunity for strategic partnership, the Pentagon prefers to dream of distant wars full of high-tech platforms.


As usual, the Wall Street Journal puts it all in perspective:

ìThe emergence of growth-oriented free-market policies in India and China has produced a happy synergy. The developed world supplies them with investment, capital goods and know-how. They supply the developed world with low-cost consumer items that help hold inflation in check even in a period, particularly in the U.S., of monetary stimulation. Both sides benefit.î
Oh no they donít! The Pentagon is losing its dream date. A country old and fat and waddling around Walmarts just wonít do . . ..

1:57AM

Roger and me

Dateline: Holiday Inn Express at Midway Airport, Chicago IL, 31 May


Spent a half-hour today with a friend who goes all the way back to

kindergarten--Roger Haney. Roger was always the biggest kid in the class by

about 3 inches and 30 pounds--even in kindergarten. Gentle as giants go,

not the smartest guy but always the most polite and kindest, Roger

unwittingly taught me manners throughout my childhood.


Let me tell you how.


I had numerous ear problems throughout my early years, going substantially

deaf on several occasions and suffering through a half-dozen operations over

the years. Suffice it to say, I sometimes didn't hear so well. Like most

kids, my comeback to anything I couldn't make out was "Huh?"


Roger never said "huh." His mom was my 5th grade teacher at Immaculate

Conception and none of her kids ever said "huh." They all said, "Pardon

me?" Not snotty or anything, but with the perfect raising of their tone at

the end to signal both a question and to lighten the request--making it

almost sound like "please."


Whenever I heard Roger use this, I was really impressed at how well it went

over with people--especially adults. It was like Roger had this secret

knowledge that never failed to impress. Simply put, he was smooth in a very

basic way, and yeah, it was impressive for a kid.


So I spent years mimicking Roger on this one small point. To this day, I

will use "pardon me" over 90% of the time, and each and every time I do, I

think of him and how he made me just a little bit better of a person for

knowing him.


Roger is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. He's way past the surgeries,

the radiation, and the chemo that won't do him any good. Roger is waiting .

. . and living his life as only someone as polite, and upbeat, and kind as

he possibly could.


My Mom and I sat in the Haney living room with Roger and his mom Betty for

about 30 minutes today. Roger's mind was as sharp--and as funny--as ever.

He made historical and political arguments with ease, described joking with

doctors, discussed the weather and how much he enjoyed watching me on CSPAN

last night. We talked briefly about how we teamed up on a forensics skit in

high school that took us all the way to state in class A, where we won a

first-place ranking--my only state "championship" despite all my success in

multiple sports. Roger played the Romeo (Pryramus) to my Juliet (Thisbee)

in the play-within-the-play of Midsummer Night's Dream. It was the most fun

acting I've ever had, and one of the great memories of my youth.


It wasn't sad to see Roger today. As always, it was simply great to be with

him yet again and remember our young lives together. Roger says every day

above ground is fine with him.


Meanwhile the emails poured in from those people who saw me on CSPAN last

night (the effusive accolades, the occasional hate mail filled with

accusations and expletives, and the always humorous instant review of the

book on Amazon from someone who admits he's never even read it!). Meanwhile

my Amazon ranking hit a new high around 4:30 pm at #6 (right behind "The

Davinci Code" and just above the "South Beach Diet) and my B&N similarly

peaked at#14--another all-time high.


That "love" will come and go--like a 30-minute visit in a life stretching

over 4 decades in length. And yet none of that attention compares to

hugging Roger one more time and briefly holding Mrs. Haney--my fifth-grade

teacher--in my arms.


Life is a long journey--harder for some and sweeter for others. We all seek

connectivity and love at every possible traction point along the way. I

found one huge traction point today, and--as always--it made me a slightly

better person for having found it.


Thanks again Roger.

4:27AM

My first speaking engagement

Dateline: my motherís house, Boscobel WI, 30 May 2004


Going through the treasure trove of family stuff that my Mom wants us to divvy up now that my Dad is gone. I focus primarily on my Dadís service medals from WWII.


My Mom also has a box of memorabilia from my childhood that she wants me to go through, which yields me a fairly tall stack of material. My favorite find describes my first successful speaking-for-fee engagement. I won $3.00 for the first-place prize at the annual Immaculate Conception Grade School speech contest. It was my first year of participating at grade 4, which was when they let you start.


I beat out my two best friends: Brian Brindley, who spoke about ìThe Circus,î and John Adams, who spoke about Lew Alcindoróthe greatest NBA center you never heard of.


The event was covered in the 20 April 1972 edition of the Boscobel Dial.


My subject? Easy.

The Green Bay Packers


When you talk of one of the oldest, best known football teams, you have to be talking of the Green Bay Packers, started in 1921. The Green Bay Packing company gave them money to keep going. The great leader and coach Curly Lambeau and the Hungry Five rallied the team around them. In the Twenties, the league split into two divisions. Itís strange when a team like the Packers rarely went as long as five years without winning a championship. The won in í29, í30, í31, again in í36, í39 and í44. Then a long stretch of winless years but victory again in í61 and í62. Again in í65, í66, and í67. Including the first two Super Bowls (In í67 beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10 and in í68 beating the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. Quarterback Bart Starr was voted the most valuable player both the 1967, and í68, Super Bowls. Itís strange: Green Bay, little as it is, has the worldís greatest football team. Most teams come from cities at least ten times bigger than Green Bay.


After Coach Lombardi left, the Packers again suffered years of defeat. Each year though the Packers have a good tough team. Only twice has Green Bay won the division title and lost for the league title. Long ago the Packers had survived years of defeat and come back to be leaders. Theyíve suffered again through years of defeat; theyíre going to be leaders again. Theyíre not finished. Next year, watch out, NFC, AFC, for the Green Bay Packers! Thank you.


Thomas Barnett, Grade Four, Mrs. Dziekan

COMMENTARY: My Grandpa Jerry Clifford was one of the Hungry Five who rallied the town to keep the Packers going during various lean years. He was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame as an executive of the club in 1991.


Hereís the feedback I got from the judge, Miss Sandra Shepherd, high school English instructor: ìExcellent information. Good speaking voice. We were able to understand all of your words. You sound like quite a football ëPacker Backer.í Keep it up.î


I have, Miss Shepherd. I have.

4:56AM

Just me and my Dad

Dateline: SWA flight from Providence to Chicago, 29 May 2004


Heading to my hometown (Boscobel, WI) with my eldest son Kevin. Itís always a great treat to travel with one of your childrenójust one. Spending that sort of time aloneójust the two of youóis so amazingly important in parenting. My own warmest memories of my Dad center around the times weíd spend alone doing two things: 1) Dad throwing me football passes as I ran various routes (down-and-out, down-and-in, button-hook, short-post, long-post, and bomb) on our front lawn; and 2) whenever my Dad took me to the ìcountry clubî that was a 9-hole golf course in the middle of corn fields between Boscobel and Fennimore. The latter case was far better, because the nine holes would drag on for quite some time, meaning lots of time for talking, plus Dad would always take me to the bar at the club afterwards and treat me with a 7-Up (with one of those candied cherries on a swizzle stick) and a bag of Fritos.


In a family of nine where Friday nights were special because you got a can of grape soda, that was major-league fun.


But, of course, the real fun was simply spending time alone with my Dad. With six siblings, hanging out alone with Dad was fairly rare. So when I think of my Dad and the best memories I have of him, I can almost feel myself dragging that big damn golf bag up all those hills at Hickory Grove, chomping on a stick of Dentene, which Dad always carried.


I try to do similar things with my kidsóthose special events alone. Thatís the prime reason I bought two season tickets at Lambeau Field: I knew Iíd want to bring one of my kids each time I went. One ticket would be pointless, and three wouldnít have been quite the same (Who am I kidding? I would have taken the third in a heartbeat!).


Right now I have three games a year to attend. I take my oldest two kids to one each, and then use the third on a relative or close friend. Eventually, my third child (Jerry, now four) will demand to go, then Iíll be full up for several years. My oldest kid, Emily, is now 12, and by the time sheís off to college and probably out of the going-to-Lambeau gig, Iíll have a new addition to the rotation: our fourth child Vonne Mei, whom my wife and I will pick up in rural China sometime around Labor Day this year. She was probably born near the beginning of this year, abandoned a couple of months later, and now is entering her fourth month in an orphanage.


When Emily heads off to college, Vonne Mei will be seven years old and sitting in Seat 11, Row 1, Section 246óright in front of me in Seat 11, Row 2, Section 246. I will spend most of the game leaning over and yelling into her right ear about whatís going on down on the field, explaining to her the seemingly odd rule sets of the game.


I hold that image of my yet-unseen-daughter in my head as my wife prods me to read yet another book about China, trans-racial adoption, or the lives of women in the Middle Kingdom. Our Vonne Mei will bring all that baggage/heritage/promise/challenges with her, but no matter how she changes our lives and we fundamentally alter hers, she will be sitting there in Lambeau sometime in the 2011 season, wearing a foam cheesehead and a tiny Nick Barnett jersey (#56), trying to warm her cold little fingers with a cup of hot chocolate.


I can almost hear her shriek at the opening kickoff.


Kevin and I go to Boscobel for Memorial Day for three key reasons: 1) to see our old dog Boswell, who now lives with my Mom and keeps her company; 2) to see Grandma herself, of course, and 3) to hear my Dadís name read at the Memorial Day American Legion ceremony at Blaine Gym.


Every year on Memorial Day the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars hold a ceremony to remember those who died, either as a veteran or on active duty service, over the previous year. For my entire childhood, the man who MCíd the event and read the list each year was my Dad, John Barnett, veteran of WWII (Navy). Before that, his dad, my Grandpa J.E., performed the same role. J.E. was in the Marines in WWI and the Army in WWII. In 1983, my Dad read aloud the name of his own father.


On Monday, some veteran will read out my Dadís name, and I wanted to be there to hear it, along with my Mom and several of my siblings. Other than masses at Immaculate Conception, this will probably be the last time his name is mentioned in this town in any formal ceremonyóother than when my family buries his ashes sometime this summer.


I brought Kevin along as the eldest male child in my family, to remember both his Grandpa John and to think about his cousin Daniel, currently serving somewhere in Southwest Asia with the Navy. These are important people and important sacrifices to remember, so we make this journey togetherójust Kevin and his dad.


While we are in Boscobel, we will spend time with my niece, Ally, also adopted from China by my sister. This is an added treat, obviously. Being around my niece is like staring at the future, one that I can only guess at in terms of difference, but one whose similarities I cannot wait to reacquire (e.g., the baby who sleeps in your arms, the toddler who rides in the backpack, the three-year-old who sits on your hip).


I am mere weeks away from becoming a father for the fourth time. With the book out and about and my life settling into something other than obsessing on it full time, I find myself increasingly focused on all things China. As anyone who reads this blog knows, to think strategically about global change and globalization is to constantly bump up against the whirlwind of development that is China, but that remains a big abstraction compared to the journey I will take with my spouse weeks from now, because when we return from China in the fall, our family will become part-Chineseójust like that.


I worry now and then that people will think my views on China are somehow distorted by this adoption, when in reality my views on China were many years in the making. This adoption brought us to China because my wife and I felt strongly about reaching abroad for a new sense of connectivity with the world at large. Because my sister had already adopted from China, our growing knowledge of the challenges of trans-racial adoption told us it made a lot of sense that our Chinese-American daughter should have someone else in her extended family who looked like her, and thatóby making this choiceóour niece Ally would be similarly rewarded.


As for myself, this adoption will form the back half of my high-low mix of education on all things Chinese: while my work will remain high-end and big-picture on China as a force of global change, my personal life will become intimately low-end and small-picture on China as a force of familial change.


I needed a trip like this after all the running around connected with the book over the past month. I needed something that connected me to my hometown past, my continuing present, and the future just looming ahead: just me and my Dad, just me and my son, just me and my daughter-to-be.

4:44AM

Iím turning Chinese oh yes Iím turning Chinese I really think so!

Dateline: my Momís house in Boscobel WI, 30 May 2004


You probably wonít get that reference unless the phrase New Wave really rocks your memory of days gone by.


And yes, it does feel old to say that (I turned 42 on the 28th).


Last month I was so excited that a Japanese publishing house had bought the rights to The Pentagonís New Map because it just seemed so cool to think someday Iíd hold a Japanese-edition copy of the book in my hand. Getting your work translated into other languages is unbelievably cool. When the original Esquire article made it into a variety of other languages, I was ecstatic as only someone whoíd spent years learning a variety of foreign tongues (French, Russian, German, Romanian) could be.


With our upcoming adoption of a baby girl from China, Iím actually considering learning Mandarin Chinese. Most parents who adopt Chinese children have their kids later spend some time getting re-acquainted with their mother tongue so that they donít lose the simple ability of being able to wrap their mouths around the specific sounds demanded by that language, the idea being that youíre keeping the option of native fluency alive if the child someday decides she wants it.


Me, I consider it a great career move for anyone nowadays, because China simply offers such interesting possibilities for someone who can master the language. Even on the web, this can be a serious advantage. After all, within a few years Chinese will be the number one language on the Internet in terms of sheer pages of volume. So imagine what a huge advantage it would be to be able to blog in both English and Chinese!


Well, I just had that ability offered to me yesterday by one Claire Hong of Taiwan. My webmaster had told me just the day before that we were taking a lot of hits from Taiwan, or what Critt likes to call ìdeep looks.î Apparently, I didnít have to wait long to find out who was checking me out. Here is an edited version of the email Claire sent me yesterday.

Dear Mr. Barnett:


I would like to request for your permission to translate some of the Taiwan/China related articles on your personal weblog into Mandarin Chinese. Your view on the Globalization, world peace and the US role as a mediator between Taiwan and China appears to be quite fascinating and insightful to readers like me.


I would like to be your advocate and pass some of your messages to a wider Taiwan audience who do not have the best grasp of English but would appreciate reading your writing in Chinese instead. Hence this request.


With your gracious permission, I will post your original article and my translation to this following website: http://www.socialforce.org/phpBB/portal.php.


This is a non-commercial, non-profit public Internet discussion forum hosted and maintained by a group of very dedicated Taiwanese volunteers who care deeply about the future of their beloved island country. Many of us have taken part in the various movements that transformed Taiwan from the authoritarian state into today's Asian model of democracy & liberty . . .


Aside from watching the media and current affairs within Taiwan, our readers care about peace in Taiwan straits as well as the world. We have also started a movement to cover international news on our own by translating newsworthy articles and post them on the forum. This way we don't have to be manipulated and fooled by the local mass media on how the world is looking at Taiwan.


I plan to post my translation immediately beneath each of your original paragraph so the readers can refer directly back to your original. Your original publication site and your authorship will also be prominently placed on top of the posting . . .


I look forward to your permission to translate your past and future published articles (on Taiwan, China and related issues) on your weblog and distribute them in the Internet in the above described, non-profit manner. Again, you have my solemn promise that its use is strictly for non-profit, educational purposes. The original URL site and your original authorship will always appear in the most prominent position on top. Of course, I will always keep you apprised of such action.


We have asked Mr. John Tkacik from the Heritage Foundation and Mr. Tom Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute for similar permission and were fortunate to have earned their kind trust to translate a few pieces of their work already (on Taiwan presidential election and European Arms Sale to China). May I ask for the same privilege from you as well?


Thank you for your attention and I anxiously await your response.


Sincerely yours,


Claire Hong

International News Team of socialforce.org

As a student of foreign languages, Iím always simply impressed by anyone who can write so fluently in a tongue other than their motherís.


While I have resisted offers to write guest pieces on other blogs (cross-posts on other sites are already driving traffic back here to the source) in general this offer is simply too good to pass up. I reach a bigger audience I could not otherwise interact with, and another connection to Chinese culture is born.


Someday perhaps Vonne Mei will exhibit the same drive and vision that Claire seems to possess in abundance already.


Being our daughter, this would not surprise me. But I will enjoy the wait.

2:58PM

CSPAN sticks with the original plan on my brief at NDU

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 29 May 2004


Last week National Defense University heard that CSPAN was coming with two vans, seven people and two cameras for my presentation at the conference being held on 2-3 June at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and they naturally assumed that it was going to be a live broadcast. Flurry of emails ensues. I am surprised by the change in plans, but announce it here anyway.


We were all wrong in that assumption.


CSPAN and Brian Lamb want to stick with Lambís original idea of taping the brief and showing it later in prime time on CSPAN, probably followed by me and a host in studio live to take phoned-in questions.


I am relieved to hear this. NDU was telling me Iíd need to schedule a 15-minute break in the presentation andófranklyóthat would be hard for me. When I get rolling in the presentation, I lose all track of time. So this way, Iíll just do my thing, stop when it makes sense, and let CSPAN worry about how to edit it all later.


So thereíll be nothing to watch on 2 June (Wed). It will probably be shown, according to Lamb, either late June or early July.


Meanwhile, the Book Notes interview with Lamb will play tomorrow night at 8pm and 11pm EST. There are spaces at CSPAN to discuss the program and review the book. Iíll be interested to see if anybody does. Iíll post the complete transcript online here once it appears at their site (http://www.booknotes.org/Program/?ProgramID=1782).


What you wonít see on the tape is Lamb and I chatting for about 10 minutes while the tape rolled and he instructed his assistants to apply just enough make-up to deal with my shining forehead. We talked about Laura Ingraham (he told me a very funny story about how she once got back at some boyfriend who broke up with her), the vagaries of make-up on shows in general (he complained about eye-liner once on Donahue and I bitched about sometimes having eyebrows drawn in).


During the show you will see I am fairly slow and subdued for about 15 minutes, but then I really forget about the taping and loosen up quite a bit (watch for my hands to start really moving on-screen). I was amazed I didnít swear at least once, but Lamb is so reserved (despite constantly giving you that winky sort of half-grin after he asks questionsóalways off camera as far as the viewer is concerned!), that I maintained my composure in that regard.


I will say this: itís true you only get to go on Book Notes once in your entire life, so Iím very glad I can be as proud about this show as I am. But again, most of the credit really goes to Lamb for the style, tone, pacing and depth of the interview. He really is a master.


At the end of the show, I call him ìsirî and then the audio cuts out while the credits roll. Right away he bellowed ìDonít call me sir!î And then I laughed about finally getting into that habit after so many years of being around military officers all the time (Lamb is a former Marine, if Iím not mistaken). He told me we just needed to sit there and chat until the video was done, so we did, and I finally relax enough near the very end to cross my legs (whew!).


Again, itís the best interview Iíve ever given, primarily because Lamb is the best interviewer Iíve ever encountered. I watched the tape against last night with my in-laws and I was a bit intimidatedóI fear Iíll never sound that smart ever again!


No articles today, so instead hereís a review from Intellectual Conservative, an online pub.

2:39PM

Reviewing the Reviews (IntellectualConservative.com)

Hereís a review from IntellectualConservative.com that a friend came across.


My commentary appears below.

The Pentagonís New Map: War and Peace in the 21st Century

by Steven D. Laib, J.D., M.S.

28 May 2004


http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3477.html


According to author Thomas Barnett, America's greatest challenge in international relations is to narrow the gap between the wealthy "Core" nations and the Third World.



Every once in a while a book comes along that makes you think. You may agree or disagree, but the thinking process that the book stimulates in its readers is what counts. The Pentagonís New Map is one such book. The author, Thomas P. M. Barnett, is a scholar of some note in Defense Department circles. He is presently serving as a Professor in the Warfare Analysis & Research Department of the U.S. Naval War College; however, his background and experience qualify him perhaps as much a ìfuturistî as a strategic analyst. He is an optimist, and to a certain extent, an idealist, and it shows in his writing. Nonetheless, he is worth paying attention to.


The story really begins as Barnett, for all intents and purposes a specialist on the Soviet Union, enters the world of the Defense Department, just as the USSR was being dismantled. Obviously, he had to find another focus, and it came when he began researching the future of national defense. As his work progressed he became convinced that the Pentagon top brass had become overly focused on ìgreat power confrontations,î leading them to expect that Americaís next challenge would come from China. Barnettís work led him to believe quite differently; that the next confrontation would be between the technologically advanced, democratically governed, economically powerful ìCoreî nations and the ìGapî which can be roughly defined as ìthe Third Worldî where the wolfish characteristics explored by Thomas Hobbes still hold sway. Barnett relies heavily on his conclusion that new rules governing international relations have taken hold, making great power wars essentially impossible. He proposes that the mission of the Core, that next challenge, is to ìshrink the Gap,î leading to a Kantian era of world peace, and that the United States should take the lead, largely because we possess the most powerful military on earth, and because other nations generally can and will trust us to lead the way.


Much of Barnettís theory rests on a reasonable belief that people who have a substantial economic stake in a system will not go to war against other members of that system. From this, one can see the logic in suggesting that China would not want to precipitate a war with its best customer, and this is what drives Barnettís interest in shrinking the Gap. Integrating Gap nation economies into the overall Core system is the key to eliminating international instability and terrorism. ìDisconnectedness equals danger,î he says, and makes an excellent case in favor of this view. He then moves into explaining the how and why of this problem, followed by his prescription for a new American military and a map to a ìfuture worth creating.î


Conservatives should be forewarned. Barnett is not a Republican and he admits to voting for Al Gore in the last presidential election. One gets the impression that he will vote Democratic in 2004, despite Kerryís statements that going into Iraq was a mistake. Barnett states that it was necessary, and that the United States should get involved in toppling more corrupt dictators. Obviously, Barnett is also not your typical liberal either. What he appears to be, in many respects, is an internationalist and/or a globalist. One word he uses frequently is ìglobalization,î sometimes capitalized to indicate stages that have occurred during the 20th Century. He almost seems to see America as having a messianic role in the 21st Century, leading a sometimes-unwilling world to its own best destiny.


Barnett admits that his work is controversial. His analysis does appear to contain some glaring problems, and he may have lost track of some little details that might derail his train to the ìfuture worth having." For one, Barnett tends to ignore the role of corruption within the Core. He makes no mention of the Franco-German role in the Iraq ìfood for oilî program that has recently come under investigation, and was already on the radar screen before his work was published. This same investigation may lead to the unveiling of similar problems within the United Nations, despite Barnettís belief that the UN has a continuing major role to play in nation building after the American Leviathan removes undesirable elements.


In an interesting contradiction he also mentions how we need to be more sensitive to Muslims, and how the military is moving out of the Arabian Peninsula, to avoid religious problems. Meanwhile much of his work points to the need for more outsiders in Arabia to integrate the region into the Core, and eliminate the factors that prevent modernization. The fact remains that as of now the fascistic elements of Islam have rendered that region extremely xenophobic, which promotes the jihadist ideal. Thus, there is the strong possibility that sensitivity is the last thing the Core should demonstrate, if they want to move Iraq and the rest of the region out of the Gap.


As for the rest of the World, Barnett seems to believe that the Core may be persuaded to go along with his plan if the United States can make the right case in public. He does not deal sufficiently with the possibility that many foreigners will see his program as a blueprint for an American Empire. Considering the anti-American attitudes that are so pervasive in many societies today, including Core members, one must expect that it will be an uphill struggle. Then there are also some nations (such as Spain) whose people cut and run instead of accepting the challenge. To be fair to Barnett, his work was published before the recent Madrid bombings.


He concludes his book with a series of predictions, some startling, and virtually all guaranteed to make any paleoconservative cringe. It is certain that if a significant number of his predictions come to fruition, it means the end of the United States, as we know it. Of course, Barnett is looking toward the end of the World, as we know it, which in some respects may not be a bad thing.

COMMENTARY: The first three lines of the review were all I needed to read to feel happy. Donít expect anyone to agree with everything in the book, andótruth be toldóboth liberals and conservatives need to be forewarned, because I tend to be more of a Democrat on domestic issues and a conservative hawk on foreign affairsóor what some call a ìTony Blair Democratî (and yes, I like that title even more now that heís not the coolest dude in most peopleís eyesóreal fans stay for the hard times, not just the championship seasons!).


You can tell this guy is really conservative if he reads the book and believes I see a substantial role for the UN. Frankly, most foreign affairs people read the book and are flabbergasted at how much I ignore the UN!


Yes, I plead guilty to the peace-through-trade notion, but only when buttressed historically by nuclear weapons, which I state throughout the book as being responsible for killing great-power war. So, no fuzzy-headed idealist I, for nukes define my sense of strategic realism (I began my career in nuclear strategic planning).


Other shots are fair enough, especially when he understands that opening up the Middle East will necessarily be violent since plenty there will fight it. He takes the conclusion in reasonable stride, noting that Iím describing some very big change and maybe thatís not badócertainly not in terms of opening up the readerís mind to new possibilities.


So, in the end, Iím quite proud of this review. It says I wrote something that even self-avowed conservatives cannot dismiss, because they find the challenge of the argument too attractive to not engage in serious debate. To me, that says Mark Warren and I pitched the book at the right ideological angle.

10:35AM

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Beeg! Really, really Beeg!


Dateline: Southwest flight from Orlando to Providence, 28 May 2004


Last night was just what the doctor ordered: a big crowd ready for a big performance, and an inveterate showman desperate to remember what it was like to hold an entire ballroom in the palm of his hand. I have never worked a crowd for so many big laughs in my career, and it did me a world of good. On the eve of my 42nd birthday, it reminded me of what really animates my work: the sheer joy of teaching and sharing my ideas with others.


Writing a book was fun, and signing close to a hundred for people waiting long in line after the talk was certainly a gasser, but nothing compares to the live performance. Being on TV is cool, but it is as cold as ice compared to the warm buzz you feel when just a shrug or a couple of words can send several hundred people in spontaneous laughter or applause. It is my addiction and I have missed it desperately. When I go more than about two weeks without such an experience, I actually get depressed.


You may think itís simply the limelight, but thatís not really what does it for me, because deep down Iím more of a loner (far happier to be by myself with loved ones than with strangers or even my very small circle of friends) than an extrovert. When I spend time with people close up, I get tired and need to withdraw. But put me on the stage, where itís that pure transmission of ideas intermixing with response, and it is quite electrifying for meócharging my batteries in no time flat.


TV doesnít do that for me, nor do books or articles, as much as I value those forms of idea transmission. What really turns me on is being live with an audience that will give you feedback every single second of your performance. The sense of risk versus payoff in that environment is simply intoxicatingóthe best narcotic I have ever encountered.


When I was signing books afterwards, one lady asked me why so few Ph.D.ís were as funny and entertaining as I am, and I told her the truthóIím nothing more than a frustrated actor with a good, organizing mind. So Iíve taken that concept-packaging capacity and put it to a showmanís use: Iím Laurie Anderson with intellectual rigor, or Donald Rumsfeld forced to work the vaudeville stage.


I donít pretend that what I do makes me better than anyone else, or really any smarter. I just know that itís what I was meant to do, and I do it better than just about anyone else on the planet. Thatís a very nice feeling for your 42nd birthdayóthe first one following your old manís passing. Itís a sense of knowing who you are and why God made you this way.


Itís a confidence that allows me to define a global future worth creating and selling it for all itís worth.


Thank you, Dad, for helping me become that man. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the strength to find purpose in my life.


I canít wait to get home and hug my kids, kiss my wife, and mow that lawn . . ..


Hereís todayís catch:


REFERENCES with my commentary:


ìAgreement by U.S. and Rebels to End Fighting in Najaf: After 7-Week Battle, Sadrís Force Quits Streets but Stays Intact,î by Dexter Filkins, New York Times, 28 May, p. A1.


ìKerry Outlines Foreign Policy, Attacking Bush,î by Robin Toner and David E. Sanger, NYT, 28 May, p. A1.


ìIn Jordanís Scrapyards, Signs of a Looted Iraq: While U.S. Rebuilds, Experts Cite Plunder of Costly Material,î by James Glanz, NYT, 28 May, p. A1.


ìU.S. and Bahrain Reach A Free Trade Agreement: Despite small figures, Washington see symbolic importance,î by Elizabeth Becker, NYT, 28 May, p. W1.


ìTo Head Off Recall, Chavez Tries More Dirty Tricks,î by Mary Anastasia OíGrady, Wall Street Journal, 28 May, p. A9.


ìAn Identity Crisis for Norman Rockwell America,î by Michiko Kakutani, NYT, 28 May, p. B27.


ìItís Out of College and Onto Jobless Rolls in China,î by Jim Yardley, NYT, 28 May, p. A3.

10:28AM

Sadr standown in Iraq: not bad agreement, but wrong one

ìAgreement by U.S. and Rebels to End Fighting in Najaf: After 7-Week Battle, Sadrís Force Quits Streets but Stays Intact,î by Dexter Filkins, New York Times, 28 May, p. A1.


ìKerry Outlines Foreign Policy, Attacking Bush,î by Robin Toner and David E. Sanger, NYT, 28 May, p. A1.


ìIn Jordanís Scrapyards, Signs of a Looted Iraq: While U.S. Rebuilds, Experts Cite Plunder of Costly Material,î by James Glanz, NYT, 28 May, p. A1.


ìU.S. and Bahrain Reach A Free Trade Agreement: Despite small figures, Washington see symbolic importance,î by Elizabeth Becker, NYT, 28 May, p. W1.


I understand the deal with the devil in Najaf, and I know that temporizing situations can work in our strategic favor. But such deals only work if we spend the meantime creating the connectivity that generates strategic despair on their side, not ours.


Strategic despair is when your side surveys the environment and says to itself: ìNo matter how hard we try, this thing is going southóthereís just too many of them and too few of us.î I worry about strategic despair a lot right now with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, and even more so back here at home, where media coverage highlights only failure and never success. Why? The mediaís definition of war is almost as narrow as the Pentagonís: show us the smoking holes and dead bodies! The ìeverything elseî is completely ignored, which is why onsite blogs like IRAQ THE MODEL are so importantóthey define serious ground truth.


What are the deals worth concluding right now? Our enemies in Iraq, which I dub the forces of disconnectedness because that is what they seek for both Iraq and the region as a whole, believe in the inherent weakness of Westerners, something experts have taken to calling Occidentalism (a book out on that subject now is quite good). Occidentalism basically says that too much individuality is very bad, weakening both the individual and the societyómaking us weak and decadent. It tends to ignore the reality that the most vibrant and creative societies in this world all stress individualism.


I know, I know, youíll tell me about Japan. But Japanís collectivist society was only good at taking other peopleís ideas and manufacturing them intelligentlyóuntil a generation of individualists began arising in the last couple of decades. These are the Japanese whoíve given us the tremendous art and culture and fashion and design. These individualists are the ones defining Japanís future as the global capital of cool.


America has been battling the Occidentalist outlook for a very long time. Imperial Japan thought a bloody nose, delivered at Pearl Harbor, would simply scare us off. The Viet Cong fought onóagainst tremendous odds and horrendous lossesóbecause they believed America was easily scared off. In neither case was this true: we crushed the Japanese in a very bloody war, and only pulled out of Vietnam when we realized that our larger strategic rationale was empty.


But shedding blood or spilling that of others has never been a problem for America, land of glorified violence and mass media full of revenge fantasies (think of our most cherished stars and what has defined themólike Clint Eastwood or Mel Gibson). Americans are not squeamish whatsoever. In fact, we wallow in images of death and destruction.


What really defines Occidentalism, in my mind, is the assumption by male-dominated societies that American men are essentially pussy-whipped by our women. By having a reasonably balanced society in terms of womenís rights (always room for improvement Ö), we present an image to the outside world that not only do we treat our women badly, they treat us men even worse in terms of disrespect.


The whole 2nd-term Clinton sex scandal epitomized this sort of thing: not only did we have a leader who clearly treated women in a degrading fashion, our political system was ready to can him on that basis. Look at it from the perspective of the rest of the world: weak leader, degenerate behavior, asinine political system. We lost respect on every level on that one.


Personally, my anger with Clinton was that the man simply couldnít jerk off whatever demon was trapped in his trousersóat least until he got out of office. Was that too much to ask given the stakes? After that he could fool around til Hillary shot him for all I cared. But you donít put everything at risk for just that, because reputation matters. In the end, our character is all we take with us to the grave.


Kerry is starting to sound the right notes in this campaign: not taking on the central goal of a Global War on Terrorism (defeating our enemies), but arguing the method. So heís stressing the importance of alliances and keeping old friends while adding new ones.


Would I like to see him push it farther? You bet. He needs to recast what this coalition is all about by eliminating the charge I just cited above: that itís just the flaccid West against the tough-as-nail-willing-to-die-on-a-dime Middle East. Do we accomplish this simply by getting meaner? Becoming more like the Israelis?


Absolutely not. We accomplish it by easternizing the coalition, by shading its occidental skin tone. We accomplish it by courting the New Core powers, making the deals that bring them to Iraq and thus create strategic despair among our enemies.


Iraqi insurgents staring across the line at Indian, Russian and Chinese soldiers will have a hard time with that Occidentalist bullshit that passes for warfighting morale. All of those countries know how to kill without remorseóespecially Muslims who challenge their sense of order. And there wonít be a public back home that wilts at the first sign of body bags.


Iraqi insurgents who peer across the streets at a truly global coalitionónot just West but Core-wideówill inevitably start muttering to themselves: ìWeíre screwed. This is pointless. There are too many of them to kill. We canít win. Letís take this fight somewhere else.î


The best part of this strategy is that the deals we need to make are the ones most Americans will cheer: letís reverse ourselves on Kyoto like the Russians did and get the Europeans back. Letís push for Russia joining both the WTO and NATO. Letís forget about missile defense shields in Asia and start talking to China and Japan about howótogetheróweíll force Kim Jong-very-Ill out of power and turn Korea into the next Asian FDI-suctioning powerhouse. Letís make India the ìmajor, non-NATO allyî of choice in South Asia.


Do any of these deals sound that hard to make? Do you see more loss of U.S. ìprestigeî in these horse trades or in the deal we just cut with al-Sadr in Najaf?


Iraq has been stripped bare by looters. The only way weíre going to reconnect Iraq to the world is if we get the Core as a whole to do some major-league investments there. Do you think there are Russian oil companies looking for new sources to develop? Do you think the Chinese are interested in stable sources of energy? Do you think India wants to play a bigger security role in region?


In the end, I see loads of obviously self-serving motives on each side, which is how I know these deals can be cut.


Thatís not to say the Bush Administration is doing some very good things. Pushing the free trade agenda in the Middle East is a great one. But as I said on Blitzerís CNN show: Americans have to ask themselves who can cut the better deals that must lie ahead if weíre going to really prevail in Iraq. We cannot kill out way out of this one, nor simply withdraw. Look at your history of successful counter-insurgencies: either we offer the Iraqis a happier ending than the one al-Sadr, bin Laden and others offer, or weíll simply pervert ourselves in the process of killing as many of them as we can. We cannot defeat these people with violence, for itís all they know and theyíve got nowhere better to go if thatís the nature of the fight we offer. We need to overwhelm them with boots on the ground, a clear sense that this occupation is both West and East in origins, and hope that connectivity can be made both real and permanent.