January 6, 2007

"we’re not living in a hedgehog world anymore"

Hugh Hewitt is doing an interesting thing. Maybe unprecedented. On his radio program he is doing a series of interviews with Thomas PM Barnett, each covering a chapter (!) of The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett is that rare bird, a person with a detailed view of the world at a level of Grand Strategy. Even if you don't agree with him, you need to be aware of what he is saying if you want to think clearly about the global War on Terror. This is from a transcript of the first one:

HH:...but that the middle levels are willing to accept that the paradigm has shifted dramatically on them. Has that accelerated in the last three years?

TB: Absolutely. A good example, they were trying to invite me to go to the Army War College for years to give the brief. I finally did, Summer before last. When I got there, I said what’s been the hold up? You know, I’d briefed everywhere else. They said a lot of the people on the staff here thought you were crazy. I said well, why am I here now in the summer of 2005? They said the second tour in Iraq did it. That changed their mind. That gave them a sense that this was an inescapable sort of…you know, not a one off, not a blip, not a pause before we resume our brilliant pursuit of the near peer competitor China, but frankly, the long war, as John Abizaid likes to call it.

And when you get guys like Mattis coming back to the Marines, Jim Mattis, Dave Petraeus coming back to Leavenworth, the big schoolhouse for the Army, now going back to be the head of the MNF troops, our whole effort in Iraq, you’re starting to see a kind of experience....

....it’s the reason why I started a blog, quite frankly, when the book came out back, the first book, back in April of 2004, so I could get a dialogue with a wide array of people, because I know it’s not easy. I mean, we lived in kind of hedgehog times in the Cold War, you know, the hedgehog knows one big thing, the fox knows many things. Well, knowing one big thing in the Cold War was enough. You know, containment, mutual assured destruction, let the Soviets size our forces. We discovered on 9/11 we’re not living in a hedgehog world anymore. You’ve got to deal with multiple players, multiple types of players, multiple regions, you know, all sorts of dynamics involving economics and other things. It is a complex world. It requires complex explanations. But I believe it’s essential that we raise a generation of not only informed citizens, but frankly a generation in the national security community of real strategists, real grand strategists, people who think about war within the context of everything else, not just war within the context of war, but within everything else we call globalization, because we’ve outsourced the job of grand strategies to journalists, and op-ed columnists, and that’s just not doing the job....

Barnett's a liberal of some sort, but open-minded to a fascinating extent. This is from his blog, writing about the interviews...

...I know Hewitt's pretty conservative, but--quite frankly--it's been the right and the right-of-center that's given me the openings time and time again, so I'm grateful for the exposure and psyched for the exchange....

One waits, perhaps in vain, for the other shoe to drop. I searched his blog for the word "Steyn," and got no results...

Posted by John Weidner at January 6, 2007 7:50 AM
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