The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century (2004 book)

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The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, written by Thomas P.M. Barnett, was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on April 26, 2004. (448 pages). (ISBN 0-3991-5175-3)


"'Look beyond globalization's frontier,' Barnett writes in a new book called The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century and there you will find the failed states that command our attention, the rogue states that demand our vigilance, and the endemic conflicts that fuel the terror we now recognize as the dominant threat not just to America's future security but to globalization's continued advance.'" [1]

"The message for the military was one many in the Pentagon brass had struggled against for years," the Associated Press's Matt Kelley writes in the May 19, 2004, "Unlikely Visionary Plots Pentagon Future." "Instead of girding for a high-tech war with a competitor like China, Barnett says, the U.S. military must play the role of global enforcer, taking out terrorists and rogue regimes in the Gap and sticking around to help connect those countries to the global marketplace of goods, services, information and ideas.

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

Barnett, the "Star-Trek quoting Navy analyst," Kelley writes, has a lexicon "laden with pop culture terms, not the acronyms common at the Pentagon. In his view of the world, the bad guys are in 'the Gap,' and the good guys belong to 'the Core.'"

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

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

In an Enter Stage Right May 3, 2004, review of Barnett's book -- "Vision of the Future" -- Steven Martinovich writes that Barnett "argues that the moral mission of the United States is to extend the benefits of globalization to the one-third of the world that is disconnected from the global community. America's new strategy isn't to prepare for the next great clash of civilizations, as commentators like Samuel P. Huntington have theorized, but rather to create a more secure world by eliminating the seeds of conflict.

"In Barnett's world," Martinovich writes, "Earth is essentially made up of two groups. The first is the Functioning Core, nations like the U.S., Canada, much of Europe, Russia, China, Japan, India and several other nations. The second is the Non-Integrating Gap, made up of the Middle East, most of Africa, parts of Central and South America and parts of Asia. The Core is defined by economic, political and military stability while the Gap is home to poverty, authoritarian regimes and conflict. Led by the U.S., Barnett argues, it is the Core's mission to shrink the Gap and usher in a new era of relative global stability.

"Not surprisingly much of the work will be the responsibility of the United States as it is the only nation powerful enough to act anywhere it chooses. Before it can be successful, however, a massive reorganization is needed. The centerpiece of this reorganization is the Pentagon, an institution Barnett says remains mired in Cold War thinking. Although it is slowly shifting its emphasis from fighting The Big One to the new asymmetrical threats of 9/11-style attacks, the transformation is far from complete. There will be future wars that the U.S. will be drawn into; conflicts were a massive Cold War style force will be of little use.

"This new military -- one that would eventually see the present force split into two radically different organizations -- would then be used to provide security to Gap nations. It is only with security, Barnett argues, that globalization will be able to take root. As Gap nations are slowly added to the Core, these regions will become safer and by extension the threats to global security will diminish. The United States -- with help from other nations -- will play the role of global policeman and occasionally, when necessary, global SWAT officers.

"Understandably this vision of the future will provoke accusations on both sides of the political fence that Barnett is describing nothing less than an American empire. American soldiers will be used to enforce a global capitalist order for the benefit of the West, they argue, in the same way that British redcoats once safeguarded colonial provinces. Barnett dismisses that notion as simplistic and insulting.

"'America does not shrink the Gap to conquer the Gap, but to invite two billion people to join something better and safer in the Core. Empires involve enforcing maximum rule sets, where the leader tells the led not just what they cannot do but what they must do. This has never been the American way of war or peace, and does not reflect our system of governance. We enforce minimum rule sets, carefully ruling out only the most obviously destructive behavior. We push connectivity above all else, letting people choose what to do with those ties, that communication, and all those possibilities. Many in the Gap, and not just a few in the Core, will choose to opt out.'

"For the most part Barnett praises the Bush Administration for realizing that a new strategic vision was necessary, including formally adopting the policy of preemptive war/attack. He does, however, find fault in the Administration for failing to explain clearly to both Americans and their nation's allies how this new strategic vision will work. 'It may seem facile to say that this administration has made the right strategic moves only to tell its story poorly to the world, but perceptions matter plenty in this highly charged period of world history.' Given the strained relationship between the U.S. and its allies, it's clearly not enough simply to do the right thing; you have to convince people you're doing the right thing.

"Eschewing the gloomy predictions of a world in constant chaos, Barnett instead offers an optimistic view of a future that many of us will be alive to see. We will have to pay a price to see this future, both in blood and money, but if we do nothing we'll have to pay and receive nothing for our troubles but more strife."


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