Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Pentagon's New Map

Via Jerry Pournelle's blog, Chaos Manor, comes a pointer to this article from March 2003, by Thomas P.M. Barnett of the U.S. Naval War College. Like the subhead says, it's a look at "why we go to war and why we'll keep going to war."
When the United States finally goes to war again in the Persian Gulf, it will not constitute a settling of old scores, or just an enforced disarmament of illegal weapons, or a distraction in the war on terror. Our next war in the Gulf will mark a historical tipping point—the moment when Washington takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization.

That is why the public debate about this war has been so important: It forces Americans to come to terms with I believe is the new security paradigm that shapes this age, namely, Disconnectedness defines danger. Saddam Hussein’s outlaw regime is dangerously disconnected from the globalizing world, from its rule sets, its norms, and all the ties that bind countries together in mutually assured dependence.

The problem with most discussion of globalization is that too many experts treat it as a binary outcome: Either it is great and sweeping the planet, or it is horrid and failing humanity everywhere. Neither view really works, because globalization as a historical process is simply too big and too complex for such summary judgments. Instead, this new world must be defined by where globalization has truly taken root and where it has not.

Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and—most important—the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap.
The job of the United States, as he sees it, is not to be ready to fight Russia or China because they are already in the process of joining the First World through market capitalism and globalisation. The places America needs to work on strengthening are the unstable areas along the edges: Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Indonesia. Our military will find itself in the countries in northern South America, Africa and the Middle East that are not a functioning part of the world economy.

I think he's on to something here. It's not a long read, but it makes globalisation take on a new, important role.

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