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The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century

The Pentagon's New Map - Thomas P.M. Barnett At the time it came out, there was a lot of fanfare about this book. Supposedly Barnett was this new supersmart national security strategy whiz-kid who was going to turn everything upside down. All the reviews made it sound like he had this totally new way of looking at the world. This book simply doesn't live up to the hype. Basically, the author sensibly examines the Pentagon's traditional worldview, making adjustments for the fact that the Soviet Union and its client states no longer compose a singular existential threat. Whereas the Cold War divided our globe into "the West" and "the Soviet bloc", Barnett's post-Cold War world is divided into "the Core" (of highly-integrated globalist industrial powers) and "the Gap" (countries who, for assorted reasons, are at odds with "the Core"). That's about it. It's the same old "us" vs. "them" as always, with a few new names thrown in. Terrorism figures more significantly into things than it used to, but terrorism wasn't invented on 9/11. We've seen terrorism before, and it isn't primarily a military problem. Intellegence and law enforcement agencies are better suited to dealing with terrorists than armies and navies. Neoconservatives wanted to use military force as a tool for societal engineering in Iraq. The experiment has yielded very poor results:, a nominal democracy tentatively exists, but ethnic, sectarian and other types of violence also remain. Supposedly American forces have left the country, but in truth they remain in the form of mercinary "Blackwater"-type forces, and active combat troops who have been renamed as "support and advisory" troops for PR reasons (i.e. to give the impression that America has pulled out and handed Iraq back to its people). This is not a working solution to address terrorism. Iraq is one nation, made special by her oil reserves. "The Core" cannot resonably be expected to put an occupying army in every "Gap" region. Neither the money, the manpower, nor the political will exist for that.Barnett stresses the importance of military cooperation to achieve the objectives of "the Core" as if he were the first person to ever come up with that. Ever hear of NATO? He opines that we may be entering an era when military forces are called on to serve supportive, advisory and lawkeeping functions in lawless regions. That isn't new. U.N. troops have been playing cop and supervising elections in the Third World for decades.There is a good discussion on what roles the Army, Navy/Marines, and Air/Space Force may play in the future. It is interesting. The personnel-heavy Army has always been easier to rapidly expand or contract than the equipment-heavy, platform-based Navy. The Air Force is somewhere between these two. These sort of observations have been going on for as long as there have been an Army and Navy (the Air Force being a more recent addition, in 1947). Most of what Barnett says here sounds reasonable, and he's probably right about a lot of it, but I'm not sure he's adding anything to the mix we didn't know before. Seriously, this isn't ground-breaking stuff.