June 5, 2004

This is the book you MUST read...

If you have nothing else on your summer list, read The Pentagon's New Map, by Thomas P. M. Barnett. You owe it to yourself...

Among other reasons, because this is the most optimistic book I've ever read. Not because he minimizes the difficulties facing mankind, but because he points out something I've been vaguely groping towards. If nations reach a certain point of prosperity and "connectedness," they don't slip back! (So far.) They stop fighting wars with their neighbors. They continue to grow economically. They move towards more democracy and freedom. So there are victories in our struggles that can be permanent. That can pay back whatever we invest in them a hundredfold, because that place becomes a permanent plus on the world's balance sheet.

...Let me tell you what we get when we do these difficult things. What America gets in return is the end of war as we know it. It gets a global economy with nobody left on the outside, noses pressed against the glass. Most important, it gets a definition of what constitutes the finish line in the global war on terrorism. In sum, shrinking the Gap gets us the final piece to the puzzle that is global peace. The end of the Cold War solved the threat of global conflict, and America's continued willingness to play Leviathan has effectively ended state-on-state war. What stands between us and the goal of making globalization truly global is the threats posed by the forces of disconnectedness—the bad individual actors that plague the Gap. Defeat them by denying them the Gap as their own and the Core wins this war on terrorism, plain and simple...
Even if you don't agree with it, this book will expand your thoughts. And Barnett is a very good writer, with fascinating stories to tell, and lots of detail on how things work in Washington and in the Pentagon.

There were a lot of "ah ha" moments for me in this book. I'll try to blog some more soon.

Also, it's not a pro-Bush screed. You don't have to be a bagel-eating Neocon to enjoy it.

Posted by John Weidner at June 5, 2004 11:04 AM
Weblog by John Weidner