Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One Day to Go! Great Powers: America and the World After Bush

Tomorrow February 5th is the release date for Thomas Barnett's important book, Great Powers: America and the World After Bush. This blog has been promoting this book, not because I am a paid lackey or a star struck fan of Thomas Barnett. I was introduced to Dr. Barnett when I picked up his book, The Pentagon's New Map, during one of my forays into a Barnes and Noble, as my wife was shopping at a local mall. As I scanned the book, I became intrigued and when I rejoined my wife, I had the book to match her purchases.

Over the next few weeks, I read and reread his premises. At the time, I was fully involved in a masters program for history and immediately began to draw the connection between American history and it's trajectory within Barnett's strategic vision. I found his blog and became a daily reader and began sending articles that I thought Dr. Barnett would find an interesting read. Soon I began to see my name appear in a hat/tip for the story. I guess it was like being an "unpaid stringer" in the old newspaper days. Later, as I began to offer comments I created the nom de guerre of historyguy99. After a couple of years of posting comments, Tom's webmaster, Sean Meade and another friend Brad, of the Potbangers Blog, suggested that I begin my own blog. Hence, HG's World was born.

Enough of my digression about how I came to follow Tom Barnett. The next segment in the ongoing posting of commentary on chapter five is up and noted below.

Tom begins:

Obviously, the chapter's theme is inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Lincoln, elevating the "team of rivals" concept up to the level of nation-states. I like the concept plenty, but just as clearly, the notion of resetting our alliances from Old Core to more New Core isn't a new idea for me.

Nothing else overarching to say about this chapter, so let's start the page tripping.

What follows is the section headers:

It is already amazing how past tense that phrase sounds. I don't think we'll hear it ever from the Obama people. It will be interesting, however, to see what they call things.
The quick tie-back to our own history on democracy.

This was a fairly easy choice: in effect, making the decision on the invasion of Iraq the seminal thrust of the Bush-Cheney grand strategy, which it ended up being whether they wanted it or not.

The "burned very brightly across his eight years" line is one I draw from "Blade Runner" the movie, when Tyrell says to Roy Batty: "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy." Just an explanation, because the image there (Africa) is decidedly disturbing. Then again, I always found that scene very disturbing.

I note the general bureaucratic rebellion within the U.S. Government on the possibility of going to war with Iran in the second Bush term. Here I likewise briefly note Fallon's firing, stating that "this time 'Truman' removed 'MacArthur' because the latter resisted adding a third country to the war.

There is the system danger posed by less-than-bright leaders who approach the global economy and the resource question with this own-in-the-ground mentality. They don't realize the risk isn't supply, but merely price. Plus, when push comes to shove, nobody respects those I-own-your-resources-deal-and-here's-my-piece-of-paper. They simply shut you out.

Note I'm writing this a solid year before Obama starts up with his version, so I will claim that great minds think alike--or at least like the same authors.

Basic point here: We're now watching the first global generation grow up totally inside globalization instead of migrating there from some lesser past. So like AOL was good enough for most nervous transplants from the world of broadcast to the world of the web, the general "walled garden" mentality will rise and fall with generational speed once the totally globalized generation appears and isn't interested in such a filtered experience.

Read the whole post:

If you haven't done it already order them from your favorite vendor.


Hugh Hewitt put up a post announcing his and Tom's coming interview series: "Great Powers" with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett. Local program: 870 AM at 3pm PST, in the Los Angeles area.
Hugh writes:
A couple of years back I conducted a series of interviews with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett on his best-selling and hugely influential The Pentagon's New Map. We spent an hour a week for eight weeks doing a chapter-by-chapter conversation about the book. I don't think anything like it had ever been done on talk radio, but the audience loved it. Dr. Barnett and I don't agree on crucial issues --especially on how to deal with Iran-- but my job is to deliver a program that attracts as wide an audience as possible for subjects that matter greatly. That series did exactly that.
Dr. Barnett has a new book out, one that is often very critical of President Bush and his Administration's conduct of American foreign policy. Unlike most such books, this one balances the criticism with calibrated appreciation, and argues not from any agenda of scoring political points but of advancing a competing approach to the conduct of grand strategy. It is thus a fascinating and detailed counter-account of what just happened, and a detailed prescription of what should happen next. Great Powers: American and the World after Bush is thus part of the necessary bookshelf that any serious participant in the conversation of where we ought to go next will have to read.
As an assist to that project, I begin a series of interviews with Dr. Barnett on Wednesday's program. We'll cover chapters one and two of Great Powers in the first hour of the program, and reconvene for about a chapter a week for the next few weeks thereafter. Get the book, catch up and read along. You will be very glad you did, even if you are, like I am, a great admirer of the Bush Administration's strategic direction.

Here are Tom's comments about Hugh: The Hewitt taping went very well

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