by Russ Steele
Blueprint for Action : A Future Worth Creating
by Thomas P.M. Barnett
My first introduction to Thomas Barnett, was on a Sunday morning in May 2004 when I turned on CSPN’s Book Notes with Brian Lamb, to catch the tail end of an interview with Barnett. The subject was his new book, The Pentagon’s New Map. What little I heard that morning made a lot of sense, even to this twenty year cold war vet steeped is a paradigm of mutual assured destruction. Barnett convinced me it was time to update my global thinking, especially the role international foreign investment plays in globalization, and it’s nexis with military strategy. I purchased PNM from Amazon that very morning.
The Pentagons New Map put the Pentagon’s post cold war problems in perspective. How to cope in a world, where your major reason for existence just threw in the towel. For example, how does the US Navy justify more attack subs, when the Russian missle attack subs are rotting in port. How do these subs fit in to war on terror? Can they?
Until 9/11 the Pentagon’s new enemy was China. Post 9/11 the war on terror required new rule sets in a world characterized by a functioning Core, and a non integrating Gap which harbored transnational terrorist. In Barnett’s post cold war world it is no longer the West vs East, but fully function economies (Core) vs economic isolation (Gap).
He also introduced the co-joined ideas of a Leviathan Force to take down rogue governments, not unlike the force that rolled in to Baghdad in a few short days, and a SysAdmin force need to reconstruct what was broken. A SysAdmin force the Pentagon does not have today, and are still trying to create with Core participation. Lot’s of lesson learned in Iraq and Afganistan.
In Blue Print for Action Barnett lays out what Core, and emerging core nations (New Core), must do to rescue Gap nations and create a seamless global economy, followed by world peace. “A grand strategy for a grand vision” in a politically and economically connected world of tomorrow.
Politically corrupt gap states attract and support transnational terrorist. Barnett lays out six steps, to accomplish his grand strategic vision for reducing the Gap. First, a U.N. Security Council grand jury indicts the Gap countries; second, the Core's biggest economies issue " 'warrants' for the arrest of the offending party"; third, the US leads a Leviathan "war fighting coalition"; fourth, a Core-wide System administrative force, with limited United States personnel, puts things back together with the help of the fifth element, an International Reconstruction Fund; followed by a sixth step, criminal prosecution of the apprehended parties in the Hague’s International Criminal Court.
Barnett is an academic, but does not write like one. He has breezy style that talks directly to the reader. He is also a blogger. Those readers who visited Barnett’s blog on a regular basis were privey to progress reports on the crafting of Blueprint for Action. Some of these blog visitors also contributed to the final product, as Barnett tested ideas.
In the final chapter of Blueprint, Barnett blogs the future. He constructs future headlines and comments on them, just like he comments on today's headline on his blog. While I do not agree with all the things he projects, it is fun to watch the daily news headlines move toward Barnetts vision of the future. A future vision he crafted for tomorrows leaders. Although given recent headlines, I think Secrataries Rice and Rumsfeld may have read the Blueprint, or at least some of their young staffers have.
As a regular blog reader, Blueprint for Action was not the page turner PNM was. In Blueprint, it was more like knowing the “rest of the story” before begining the book. Too much of the blog reduced my anticipation, I could guess what Barnett was going to say before turning the page. That said, this is an important book, and I will be rereading chapters for years to come. Making progress checks on a “Future Worth Creating.”
As globalization advances, and the gap shrinks, it will continue to impact our local economy, as more people, goods, ideas and funds flow across international borders. Our local business and political leaders should understand these forces, and take advantage of Barnett’s strategic vision, as they craft a local future worth having. Highly recommended reading, but start with PMN.