Receive "The World According to Tom Barnett" Brief
Where I Work
Buy Tom's Books
  • Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Emily V. Barnett
Search the Site
Monthly Archives
Powered by Squarespace
« The Making of PNM (I): The Brief, or "You'll Know it When You See It" | Main

The Book Proposal for "The Pentagon's New Map"

Jennifer Gates and Todd Shuster

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
1776 Broadway, Suite 1405

New York, NY 10019

Dear Jennifer and Todd:

I am writing to propose a work of non-fiction titled The Pentagon’s New Map that will offer general readers a hard-hitting, first-of-its-kind look inside America’s newly emerging national security and defense strategy, and explain the central thinking that I believe will define our nation’s role in international conflict and politics for decades to come.  Since the Cold War, we’ve lacked a grand unifying theory to explain America’s operating principles in international affairs and military interventions. I hope that The Pentagon’s New Map will fill this void and, in so doing, will place the “War on Terrorism” and other symptoms of global unrest into a clear context that the public will understand.   As a war strategist and advisor to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, I have studied extensively the patterns of our country’s recent military involvement and have developed a “New Map” that crystallizes the Pentagon’s overriding defense strategy and, in turn, predicts where our forces will likely be headed in the future.  Most importantly, however, The Pentagon’s New Map will outline the unique role that America can and will play in furthering the spread of globalization and in establishing international stability.  The insights in this book will offer the public much needed hope at a crucial yet uncertain time in world history.

Introduction: A Whole New Set of Rules

Open any newspaper or turn on the television and the confusion and anxiety about America’s actions here and abroad is rampant:

“Millions protest War in Iraq.”

“WTO Officials Worry U.S. Unilateralism Will Hurt Trade.” 

"Is Iraq the Beginning of U.S. Empire in Middle East?”

It isn’t just the op-ed pundits who are voicing fears about U.S. foreign policy and where it is leading the world.  Average citizens both here and abroad are struggling to understand just what happened to the 1990s, a decade that many assumed would mark the “end of history,” the end of the business cycle, and the end to worrying about someone "over there" trying to blow up American cities.  Yet the first few years of this century have been anything but quiet.  The terrorist strikes of 9/11 shook the U.S. Government to its very core, resulting in a massive reorganization of the sort not witnessed since the end of the Second World War.  They also unleashed the Bush Administration’s Global War on Terrorism, which itself has led to a reordering of every single security relationship the U.S. has around the world: e.g., China going from presumptive “near-peer competitor” to hosting an F.B.I. office in Beijing, Russia going from NATO bad boy to NATO poster boy, and Iraq being forcibly removed from the “Axis of Evil.”

But it's not just U.S. foreign policy that has been so firmly redirected by recent events.  The terrorist attacks likewise set in motion a fundamental redefinition of legal and security rule sets across our society, the most (in)famous being the Patriot Act.  By “rule sets,” I mean the actual laws and regulations “on the books” in any social, industry or public sector setting, as well as the popular understanding of how any process or system operates under normal conditions (“This is how we do things here!”).

Following the attacks, rule changes swept through the airline industry, the banking industry, the insurance industry, the Internet, border control, skyscraper design, nuclear power plant safety, and so on.  The fluxing of the rule sets following 9/11 is why we all heard so much about the “new normalcy” in the months following those terrible attacks, and—frankly—why there continues to be such widespread public apprehension about the future.  People are simply unsure about what the new rule sets are in many aspects of their lives (like the two wars this country has fought in recent months), and so they’re constantly asking, “Is this how things are going to be from now on?”

And the new rule sets just keep on coming.   If you read the Washington Post, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal, there's still—on an almost daily basis—some new paradigm announced on the front page about the nature of privacy in this country, about new dividing lines between criminal behavior and civil liberties—even new definitions of what once was called "un-American activities."   Private sectors are also shifting how they do things, often without our knowledge or consent.  For instance, all jets taking off from airports around the country today are banking just a little bit steeper and accelerating just a little bit faster to prevent terrorists from bringing down a commercial jetliner using a shoulder-fired missile.  The airline industry justifies this new rule by pointing to Al Qaeda and to their nearly successful attempt last year in bringing down an Israeli airliner in Africa.  Don’t we get to vote on this?  Not really.  And that’s why people are just a little bit more tense nowadays.

To many Americans, it seems that 9/11 completely erased what used to be a huge distinction between national security and domestic policy—and they’re right.  What used to be a pure “away game” of sending our military forces overseas with no repercussions at home simply doesn’t exist anymore.  When U.S. forces engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom over there, the “home game” back here was called Operation Liberty Shield.  When you turned on CNN to watch the war coverage, the images you saw were beamed in from Iraq but much of the information scrolling across the bottom of the screen was about the heightened domestic threat level—and that’s a first.  Never before in our history has an overseas military intervention explicitly triggered a highly organized (and named) domestic security operation back here in the United States.  The precedent of Operation Liberty Shield means that there is no such thing as the pure “away game” anymore.  The security of any American is now intimately linked to any military interventions we pursue abroad.  As globalization deepens and spreads around the planet, this connectivity and the dangers it spawns will only grow.

So when people are asking, "Where does this all end?"  They’re not just asking about which country we should invade next.  They’re wondering about the impact on their daily lives.  With each step forward in our nation’s new preemptive globalization strategy—the ambition to “remake the Middle East,” the War on Terrorism—what will the average American have to endure here at home? 

In my view, however, this is really the wrong question.  As someone who has advised senior government political and military leaders on “strategic futures” over the past dozen years, I know the real question is not "Where does this all end?" but "Where does this all lead to?"

This country stands on the verge of a historical tipping point between what was (the Cold War struggle between East and West) and what will be (the emerging struggle over globalization).  The September 11th terrorist attacks were a wake-up call not just for the United States, but for the planet as a whole, showing nations across the globe that history hasn't ended, but merely resumed.  The dividing lines between "us" and "them" may have been static during the Cold War, but they couldn't be more fluid today.  Globalization is integrating large swaths of humanity in the emerging markets of Asia, South America, and the former Soviet bloc, but likewise disintegrating traditional societies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.  In some parts of the world, citizens are becoming more globally connected by the day, enjoying new economic opportunities, new political freedoms, and new control over their own destinies.  But in other parts of the world, people are losing connectivity by the day, facing fewer economic choices, less political freedom, and less control over their future.

How does this all relate to 9/11, the Global War on Terrorism and regime change in Iraq?   Ever since the end of the Cold War, America’s national security establishment has been searching for a new operating theory to explain how this seemingly "chaotic" world actually works.  Gone is the clash of blocs, but replaced by what?

The Pentagon's New Map will offer the reader not only an answer to these and other similar and related questions, but a fascinating insider's account of how this new way of looking at global conflict will shape the future design of U.S. military forces and their use around the world in coming years.  By doing so, this book will present an entirely new paradigm through which to understand the world and, in so doing, offer prospects for a life in America of peacefulness, prosperity and lasting feelings of personal safety.  The Pentagon’s New Map will help readers connect to an outside world—and outside forces—that directly determine their level of economic prosperity and personal safety on a daily basis.  By doing so, this book will likewise provide a sort of Rosetta Stone for decoding the evolution of U.S. national security strategy since the end of the Cold War.

The Pentagon's New Map will break down the world in a way that ordinary Americans can immediately grasp because it will speak to a history we've all lived through and that we continue to track on a daily basis in the mass media.  It will explain the Afghanistans and Iraqs of the world, and why U.S. troops will walk those beats on a regular basis for decades to come.  It will explain “who's next” (Syria? Iran? North Korea?) and why.  It will crack the code of the Global War on Terrorism, revealing why the "long haul" will indeed be long.  Perhaps most importantly, it will slow down the current whirl of international events just enough for the reader to understand that while America typically follows the rules, sometimes history (e.g., 1776, 1861, 1945, 2001) calls upon this nation to create new rules.  The Pentagon’s New Map will articulate an important new set of principles that will help the readers understand and question other previous best-selling volumes that have fueled strategic debates across the 1990s.

Creating Actionable New Agendas

Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (1993) portrayed the end of the Cold War as the end of ideological conflict, but the spiking of ethnic conflict around the planet across the 1990s suggested that mass violence was stemming from new sources.  Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996) found those sources in culture, in effect elevating the ideological battlefield from mere collections of states to entire civilizations.  Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999) located the pulse of that violence within states, not between them.  His world is rapidly dividing between, on the one hand, those who "get" globalization's strict rule set and can handle the "international electronic herd" of investors who enforce it and, on the other hand, those tribes still fighting over little bits of land, either oblivious to globalization's encroachment or fiercely determined to deny its advance into their homes. Where Friedman saw inevitability, Robert Kaplan saw immutability.  His Ends of the Earth (1997) suggested a similar breakdown between worlds of order and disorder, but his travels have left him convinced that globalization's rule sets would never penetrate major portions of the planet—basically the ungovernable, unconquerable areas.

Both the American reading public and the national security community have scoured these volumes, arguing their conflicting logics against one another.  For some, the argument is best located between Fukuyama's blind optimism in democracy’s inevitable triumph and Kaplan's unshakable pessimism in mankind’s unending capacity for cruelty.  Plenty of others define the struggle between Huntington's assumption that Islam and Christianity are doomed to long conflict and Friedman's confidence that globalization’s “golden straitjacket” will eventually force each civilization toward acceptance of free markets and collective security.  Each of these visions speaks brilliantly to some key historical fault line, but none offers clear linkages to national security or foreign policy strategies.  As such, each offers a description of the strategic environment but does not offer actionable agendas for a national security establishment desperately in need of a new ordering principle.

Robert Kagan's volume, Of Paradise and Power (2003), demonstrates the clear dangers of this missing link between vision and strategy—the dialogue of the deaf that characterizes what once was a strong transatlantic alliance between the U.S. and Europe.  That long-term strategic bond was born in the historical creation point following the Second World War, when America’s so-called wise men (Acheson, Dulles, Kennan, Marshall) reshaped our national security infrastructure, giving rise to the Department of Defense, the Marshall Plan, and the strategy of containment.  These individuals had looked around their world, recognized the great sources of recent violence in the international system (Germany, Japan, Soviet Union), and structured a global future to deal with all three, effectively co-opting two while containing the third.   But if the unity of that vision long defined the concept of the West, its breakdown in recent months suggests America is once again at another historical creation point.  Today, comprehensive linkage between threat and strategy must emerge if our nation is to maintain not just its military superiority but—more importantly—its global leadership.

What's needed next then, is some new grand unifying theory, a way of viewing this tumultuous world that allows readers to imagine a future worth creating.  This grand unifying theory needs to be grounded in the operational reality that the U.S. military experienced across the 1990s, the busiest period of crisis response around the planet that the Pentagon has ever known.  But it also has to put this Global War on Terrorism and the emerging Bush Doctrine of preemptive war into a larger context because, frankly, Friedman is right in casting globalization as the struggle of our age.

So is war simply globalization by other means?  Does America have to raze the global village in order to save it?  Many Americans, not to mention many of this country's allies, are wondering if this is the inevitable result of American-style capitalism finally conquering the world, crushing every “backward” culture in its path.   Are Americanization and globalization one and the same?  Does the progressive melding of these distinct futures yield a discernible security environment in the here and now?  And if so, how do we describe it?  More importantly, how do we shape it for the better?

It is critical that we look around the world today and recognize the real sources of violence in the system.  We need to define these problem areas, contain them, and ultimately shrink them.  This book will provide a template for a new map of the world that will not only highlight trouble spots in the system but will offer clarity on how they might be effectively managed.

The New Map

The New Map will show readers that where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, we’ll find regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder.  These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core.  But where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, we’ll discover regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and—most important—the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists.  These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap.

Globalization's "ozone hole" may have been out of sight and out of mind prior to September 11, 2001, but it has been hard to miss ever since.  In fact, every time the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raises the terror alert level in this country, it does so in response to some event or perceived threat emanating from these disconnected regions.  So where do we schedule the U.S. military's next round of away games?  The pattern that has emerged since the end of the Cold War suggests a simple answer: in the Gap.

In place of a “West” or “East” or “Third World,” this new strategic terminology speaks to the security environment that has emerged out of the Cold War.  Core states are nations that are progressively binding themselves to one another in a dense web of mutually-assured dependence.  Like a China, they’re seeking to harmonize their internal rule sets with the emerging global rule set of transparency, democracy, free markets and collective security.  It’s never an easy task.  China remains a one-party communist political system, but it has also joined the World Trade Organization, effectively “importing” commercial rule sets it has been unable to generate on its own.

In contrast to the Core, Gap states typically feature limited connectivity with the outside world.  The Gap encompasses those states where AIDS is running rampant, breaking down the most elemental forms of human connectivity—communities and families.  Their trade tends to be narrowly defined by raw materials, not manufactured goods.  They don’t attract long-term foreign direct investment, either because of politically repressive regimes, chronic poverty, or lack of sufficiently robust legal systems.  Dependent on raw materials, these states are usually ruled by despotic elites or subject to frequent civil wars between factions fighting for control; in the Middle East it’s the handful of royal families that control the bulk of the world’s oil, while in Africa it’s the plethora of rebel groups battling over oil, gold, and diamonds.  Both situations incubate the next generation of global terrorists, either by brutalizing young men through war or deadening their souls through political repression.

In between these two worlds lie the Seam states: a Mexico, an Algeria, a Thailand, a South Africa, or a Turkey.  Far from serving as buffers, these states are the gateways for dangerous “exports” from the Gap, like terror and pandemics.  They are also channels for illegal immigrants, laundered money, contraband weapons, narcotics and pirated intellectual goods—headed in both directions.

Understanding this new breakdown between "us" and "them" is crucial, because the new security rule set for the 21st Century arises from this distinction.  In The Pentagon’s New Map, I will argue that our nation’s new key rule set is rooted in the idea that disconnectedness defines danger.

Think about it.  Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are pure products of the Gap: it's where they were born, where they recruit, where they network and find sanctuary, and it's where they dream of someday taking large chunks of humanity "off line" from globalization to some seventh-century definition of the "good life."

The reason why we brought about regime change in Iraq was because Saddam Hussein's rule was dangerously disconnected from the globalizing world, from its rule sets, its norms, and all the ties that bind countries together in mutually assured dependence.

Most importantly, when we map out all the places where this country has sent its military forces since the end of the Cold War (e.g. Colombia, Haiti, Liberia, Bosnia, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan), virtually all these countries are found within the Non-Integrating Gap.  In other words, the less globalized the economy, the more likely it is that the United States will end up sending in troops at some point to deal with internal instability or some threat to regional—or even global—order.

Americans need to know "where this all leads to."  Because where this all leads to are those same places from which all this danger arises—the non-integrating portions of the global economy.  That's where we've sent our military forces time and time again since the end of the Cold War.  That's where the "rogues" and "Axis of Evil" are found.  That's where Al Qaeda is based.  That's where bin Laden is hiding.  All of this insecurity is found within the Gap.

Understanding this distinction is crucial to understanding the future of U.S. national security.  In fact, the Core-Gap thesis basically decodes the Bush Administration's controversial National Security Strategy by placing in context a host of new policies that—at first glance—seem like reversals of long-held U.S. strategic tenets.  When the Bush administration announces such policy distinctions, it is not striking a unilateralist pose but rather signaling our nation's continued willingness to bear the bulk of the Core's burden in managing and ultimately reducing threats emanating from the Gap.  In other words, it is not about seeking a separate set of international laws and guidelines for the United States, but acknowledging the need for one in those parts of the world that do not recognize the multilateral rules and understandings that have long been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity among most of the Core countries.  

Recognizing the Gap for what it is puts everything into perspective.  For it is in the Gap that:

  • America will walk the beat 24/7 (so forget about being a “global cop”).
  • America will frequently be forced to use military force unilaterally.
  • America won't be able to rely on the traditional strategies of deterring the use of weapons of mass destruction.
  • America will sometimes engage in preemptive strikes against enemies.
  • America won't allow its military forces or its political leaders to fall subject to the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction for combat or peacekeeping operations they undertake.
  • America and Europe will often part ways regarding how best to respond to regional security threats.

Understand this distinction between Core and Gap and you basically understand—even if you do not agree with—the Bush Administration’s strategic policies after 9/11.   Ignore it and you'll be reduced to blaming everything on George W. Bush's "cowboy" militarism.

In addition to describing the Core-Gap model and showing how it helps explain most every recent U.S. military initiative across the globe, The Pentagon’s New Map will also highlight future volatile hot spots, relying on the data we have relating to our nation’s military crisis response activity from 1990 to 2002.  The attached March 2003 Esquire article serves as the embryo of this section, which fundamentally builds off a briefing that I have been providing to senior-level leadership across the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Central Intelligence Agency in the months since 9/11.

Of course, this new view of the world did not come into being overnight after 9/11.  Rather, it's been two to three decades in the making and isn’t going to go away when Al Qaeda is finally broken, when Iraq is truly “democratic,” or when the Bush Administration finally leaves power.  But since all of these fates are intimately tied to this new map, it seems about time that the American public was clued in to those policies and events (e.g., the Bush Administration’s “big bang” strategy of remaking the Middle East starting with Iraq, our closer military ties with both Pakistan and its arch enemy India, and our decision to move our regional military headquarters from Saudi Arabia to Qatar) that will determine their personal safety on a day-to-day basis.

A Future Worth Creating

We as a nation have a lot of big decisions to make in the coming months and years (e.g., Do we go to the mattresses on North Korea’s missiles or Iran’s nuclear power plants?  Does America inevitably provide the security for the new “Berlin Wall” going up right now between Israel and the West Bank?)  We have an even longer task of "shrinking the Gap" if we ever hope to end this Global War on Terrorism.  There is much at stake. But what are the right choices?  And where does this all lead to?

The American public wants answers, timelines, road maps, and strategies. They need to be able to understand why in the coming years America will be closing bases in Europe and opening them in Africa.  They need to know the extent of the problem, so they won’t be fooled by fear mongers selling “World War IV” on Fox News.  They crave the "bigger picture" that assures them that we're really on the right side, and not just veering off-course into some Vietnam-like quagmire.  They want to be prepared for what lies ahead.  They want the U.S. Government to simply be up front with them—across the board.

Whether we like it or not, the world now looks to the United States to enunciate some new grand security strategy about the future of:

  • The Middle East (Can we build real democracies there?  Will there ever be peace between Israel and Palestine?)
  • Africa (Can anyone stop the mini-world war raging in the Congo?  Will the tide ever be turned on AIDS throughout the continent?)
  • The world's other great sources of violence (Will the drug wars ever stop in Latin America?  Will Americans ever be safe from radical Muslim terrorists?).

The Global War on Terrorism is a start, but a narrowly military vision.   It gets America into an Afghanistan and an Iraq, but what then?  This book will seek to connect current controversial strategies such as “preemptive war” and the hoped-for “big bang” in the Middle East to a larger sense of how the world works in the era of globalization.  If our world is going to move forward toward an era of greater stability:

  • What are the great transactions (diplomatic, security, trade) that have to occur in coming years among the old Core pillars of Japan, the United States, and Europe?
  • Between the old Core and a rising Asia (new Core) that will double its energy requirements by 2020?
  • Between the Core and a Middle East where more than half the population is less than 25 years old and jobs are scarce?
  • Between the Core and an Africa where AIDS and constant warfare have brought life expectancy down in many states to just below forty?

In many ways, this search for a “future worth creating” involves identifying which new rule sets (e.g., about war, foreign aid, immigration, foreign direct investment, energy security) are the most crucial for globalization's continued advance.  For example, are Americans really more secure when we seek to fingerprint every young man or woman who comes to this country from the Middle East for a college education?  Or do we simply scare these would-be Americanophiles into staying at home, leaving them resentful of "American-style justice?"

The New International Crisis Model

It has become all too clear that our 21st century world is in tremendous flux, with great potential for unforeseen violence.  Many national security experts had long argued that our world had grown so interconnected across the 1990s that collectively we were ill-prepared for how a truly shocking catastrophe like 9/11 would impact the fabric of globalization—that we had no idea of how truly vulnerable we really were.  But now we know how such shock waves can be transmitted across family ties, industry supply chains, financial networks, airline routes, and Internet chat rooms.  The Pentagon’s New Map will argue how this new model of international crisis will ultimately redefine U.S. national security—not just policy documents, but the entire structure of the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community.

This new definition of international crisis, called the "system perturbation," builds off my pioneering scenario work on the Year 2000 Problem, in which I led a multi-year study involving dozens of government intelligence analysts, academic specialists, and Wall Street executives.  This landmark research was focused on Y2K in an attempt to predict what the impact of this event might be and, in turn, how it might be effectively handled.  Though Y2K was not the cataclysmic event that some feared, the model that it inspired quite accurately predicted how the increasingly connected global economy would respond to a "vertical shock" like the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The new definition of international crisis that I’ll articulate in this book will also build off a unique collaborative research program that I conducted with the now famous Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald in the years leading up to 9/11.  In a series of historic international security workshops conducted at Windows on the World atop World Trade Center 1 that brought together a group of major players from the world of global finance and U.S. defense, I developed a unique language for describing international crises in terms of "vertical" and "horizontal" scenarios.  For example, I see 9/11 and its aftermath as a combination of "vertical shocks" (the bolt-from-the-blue terrorist strikes) and the "horizontal scenarios" that were triggered as a result (the unfolding shock waves that hit the financial sector, the airline industry, the private security industry, etc.).

And this model of crisis isn’t simply limited to political or military crises.  Right now there’s a system perturbation going on in the global healthcare network because of SARS—not to mention the upper reaches of the Chinese Communist Party.  As fear about the spread of this virus justifiably has risen, countries across the globe are re-writing the rules regarding how travelers can or cannot be treated if they are suspected of carrying a deadly contagious disease.  Perhaps not surprisingly, these rule sets are often in collision: watch the duel between the World Health Organization and the Chinese political leadership about China’s apparent mishandling of the information flow regarding the SARS outbreak.  Without a doubt, Beijing will need months to implement a health care model that will put an end to this embarrassing crisis—one that’s already taken two percentage points off China’s projected GDP for the year.

This new lexicon for describing international crises breaks down the “chaos” and the “uncertainty” we hear so much about nowadays into understandable storylines that readers can follow in newspapers and on the TV news.  What is the Bush Administration really trying to do in the Middle East right now?  By applying a “vertical shock” to the political structure of the Middle East (the takedown of Saddam and the long-term military presence in Iraq), the White House is gambling that it can set in motion a host of positive “horizontal scenarios” across the region:

  • Building democracy in Iraq and thereby creating a demonstration effect
  • Scaring Syria into better behavior and perhaps even out of Lebanon (where they support Hamas and Hizbollah)
  • Goading Saudi Arabia into more reform over time by closing military bases there and moving them into Iraq and Qatar
  • Looming militarily over Iran and waiting for the mullahs to blink in their standoff with a near-revolutionary domestic youth movement
  • Forcing every regime that’s hostile to Israel to give up the dream of its demise
  • Creating a regional free trade area that bonds the U.S. economy to friendly regimes.

Arguably, the new crisis paradigm that I’ll describe in this book is important on several levels.  First, it moves the Defense Department off the old "great power war" model of crisis—one that became instantly outdated with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Second, it alerts the U.S. national security establishment to new skill sets and institutional relationships it will need in order to "transform" the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a new security environment in which non-state actors can—at the time and place of their choosing—trigger "global wars." Finally, it gives the country a new language to describe and thus prepare for the next 9/11, because there will be more in the coming years—especially if our enemies believe us unable to master the system perturbations they unleash.  Simply put, this is so much more than just the Defense Department; it’s about how we as a nation come to define international stability in the 21st Century.

Does that sound like America running a global empire?  It shouldn't.  We're interested in enforcing minimum rule sets, not the maximal rule sets associated with imperialism.  We want a level playing field not just in global trade, but in global security as well.  We want to administer the global security system, not rule it.  Like those "system administrators" that keep the Internet up and running, America needs to play system administrator to the global security network.  We need to keep globalization up and running—to be, in effect, its bodyguard.

The New Globalization

Another major theme of this book will be a new holistic framework for understanding how the global economy must be maintained and nurtured even as we attempt to firewall this country—and the Core as a whole—from the Gap's worst "exports" (e.g., terror, pandemics, narcotics, illegal aliens).  This framework consists of a simple but unique modeling of globalization as a series of key flows:

  • Energy (from the Gap to the Core)
  • Foreign direct investment (from the Core to the Gap)
  • Migration (from the Gap to the Core)
  • Security (from the Core to the Gap).

Using a wealth of demographic, economic and energy data from the United Nations, plus some never-before-published data on U.S. military crisis response activity across the last thirty years, I will describe the challenge, as the world continues its natural expansion and interconnection, of maintaining these four crucial flows in relative balance to one another.  For example, if the U.S. seeks to "export" too much security to the Middle East (or not enough), the repercussions for the global economy of any disruption of energy flows could be cataclysmic.  While we hunt Al Qaeda throughout Pakistan, we have to be careful not to destabilize a fragile regime that recently almost went to nuclear war with India, a country that's become America's back office, call center, and software factory thanks to globalization.  More to today's headlines, we have to be sure we don't ostracize Beijing too much over SARS because all that foreign direct investment flowing into China helps the government finesse the huge task of privatizing all those state-run enterprises and avoiding massive labor unrest.

What is truly important about this modeling approach is that it alerts the reader to the good that must be preserved (globalization's continued spread—especially across Developing Asia) even as we root out the “evil” that must be destroyed (e.g., global terrorism, pandemics, genocide).  It also gives the reader a sense of how the world works, which is crucial to resisting the knee-jerk temptation to use a single cataclysmic event like 9/11 as an excuse for proactively withdrawing from the world.  For example, as the Core's populations grow older, we will need to backfill our labor pool with immigrants from the Gap.  If some new firewall designed to keep out terrorists ends up destroying that crucial flow of people, then we will have undermined a fundamental source of future U.S. economic vitality.

Most importantly, this book will link our nation’s foreign policy vision to its domestic security strategy in a way no one has done before.  It will argue that America's number one foreign policy goal in the 21st Century will be to shrink the Gap—not just "mind the Gap" in some Cold War-like standoff.  During the Cold War it was enough just to wait the Soviets out, hoping they would fail.  But that approach doesn’t make any sense with the Gap, which is already defined by failures such as authoritarian rule, poor economic connectivity to the outside world, endemic conflicts and epidemics, and routine acts of terror and genocide.  The clock is already running out on these two billion people, which is why rooting out the dangers that keep these states from attracting direly needed foreign investments and thus growing economically—dictators, radical fundamentalists, terror networks—is so crucial.

Take the Middle East, for example.  The world has passed out a handful of Nobel peace prizes over the past three decades in hopes of achieving some lasting stability there, but to no avail.  What if we spend the next three decades doing the same?  That region’s primary (and in some cases, only) true connectivity to the outside world is the oil it sells us.  In thirty years, it’s likely that enough fuel cell cars will be on the road in North America, Europe and Asia to finally level off global oil demand (a scenario already predicted by Royal Dutch/Shell).  Once that happens, ask yourself: What separates the Middle East from Central Africa?  Could it too become just a big chaotic neighborhood defined by constant warfare and death?  A place too “lost,” too “distant” for the Core to care about?  Would that development create a world that’s safer for our children and grandchildren to live in?

By combining this new map of the world with a new model of international security crisis and a detailed description of what it takes to keep globalization on track, this book will wrap up with the following three-pronged grand strategy for U.S. national security:

  1. Bolster the Core's "immune system" response capacity for dealing with 9/11-like system perturbations.
  2. Firewall off the Core from the Gap's worst "exports"—namely, terrorism, narcotics, pandemics, illegal immigrants, and the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction.
  3. Shrink the Gap comprehensively by first removing the security impediments to broadband economic integration and then encouraging the emergence of robust rule sets sufficient to attract the foreign direct investment needed for globalization to truly take root (as it has in China over the past 20 years).

By doing all this, my book will provide the average reader with all the tools they'll need not only to put in context what 9/11 truly represents in our nation's history, but to understand why U.S. national security strategy will change so dramatically in the coming years.  It will help them ask the right questions of candidates, know when to fire off a letter to their congressman, and decide when and if they ever need to join the protest in the street.

The Pentagon's New Map will build upon Fukuyama, Huntington, and Friedman to forge an American vision of a global future worth creating and, by doing so, provide explicit linkage between this country's national security strategies and its long-term foreign policy goals in the era of globalization.  Plenty of authors have written about what our foreign policy goals should be regarding globalization, and plenty of authors have described how globalization challenges U.S. national security, but no one has made a comprehensive attempt to link the two around the simple yet profound principle that disconnectedness defines danger.  This grand strategic approach links all the book's major themes into a unified whole aspiring in its own way to be the 21st Century equivalent of George Kennan's "X Article" that defined the Cold War strategy of containment.

Moreover, no author has tackled these issues in a way that offers hope to average Americans, instead either making the storyline so frightening or so fatalistic that any sort of hope in tomorrow strikes many as naïve.  Average readers aren't the only ones hungry for a new historical compass.  When David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire, sat through my briefing for the first time he spontaneously declared, "I'll never read the news the same way again." Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski (US Navy, retired), who currently sits at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's right hand when it comes to designing tomorrow's military force, recently wrote a senior government official that, "Not only is the briefing intellectually stimulating, it offers insights into transformation imperatives that I have seen nowhere else.  It is helping me shape our work in transformation and is taking us in directions that I would not have predicted only one year ago."

The basic ideas of this Core-Gap model have already begun to appear in official Department of Defense long-range planning documents, and have been used by senior department officials in testimony before Congress (as has the concept of System Perturbations).  In just a matter of months, these ideas have become a Pentagon staple for training future military leadership about how they need to view and thus prepare for the world ahead.  Within a decade, these ideas will be part of the permanent lexicon of our military leaders, as the captains and colonels I train today become the admirals and generals running this military tomorrow.  Some examples?  Just last week I was asked by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to give my summary briefing to the prospective secretaries of the Air Force and Navy.  Why?  According to one senior Defense official, it was considered the quickest way to bring them up to speed on how Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz view the world and defense transformation, thus fast-forwarding the nominees' preparation for their upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.  Another good example is my being picked by the Air Force to give the keynote address to their annual senior leadership training seminar in late June.  There I will brief all the incoming one-star generals for precisely the same reason: the Air Force sees my ideas as the best way to explain the current state in national security planning.

When this book comes out is important to how it will be embraced by the public.  Now that the war with Iraq has ended, the American public is not only hungry for a larger perspective that places all the recent warfare (e.g., 9/11, Global War on Terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom) into a larger perspective, they'll likewise need some handle on how to judge foreign policy platforms in the upcoming 2004 national election.  This is a timetable I am prepared to meet.

I have already completed much of the research, reporting, and writing for this book, and I’ve articulated many of my central findings in a variety of insider government media not available to the average citizen.   I am eager to gather these materials and shape them into a concise and easy-to-read book for the general reading public.  To that end, I recently resigned my formal position (Assistant for Strategic Futures) within the Office of Force Transformation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  My purpose being to free up my schedule so that I can concentrate on this book.  So given how far along I am in this process, and as I have the complete support of my superiors within the Naval War College to pursue this project, I am prepared to turn in a completed manuscript in a matter of months.

I know that sound ambitious, so I've added even more firepower to this effort by securing Mark Warren, the Executive Editor of Esquire (and the man who personally edited and shaped the "Pentagon's New Map" article), to come aboard as my collaborator in this project.  In effect, I'll be in charge of generating the raw material and he'll be in charge of shaping the message.  Both of us are very excited about working together on this volume, not just because we feel we can parlay our "hit single" into a "best-selling album," but also because we bring a lot of passion to the material.  Both of us feel we can—through this book—have a lasting positive impact on how Americans understand the world around them during these tumultuous times.  What made the two of us happiest about the article we constructed was how non-professional readers so readily understood what is traditionally described as "grand strategy."  So much of the voluminous feedback we received from readers underscored this point: "I don't usually read articles like this, but . . .." That's exactly what we aiming for here—the "grand strategy" book for people who've never read that sort of material before.

That Esquire received an almost unprecedented flood of letters, phone calls and emails both praising and condemning my recent article has convinced me that the themes and lexicon I have created are truly helpful to the general public—and that the time is right for this book.

Thank you for your consideration.


            Thomas P.M. Barnett

Structure of the Book

I envision a book in eight chapters.  The opening chapter will debunk the myth of global chaos and argue—in a virtual call to arms—that the U.S. is the country that will save the world from itself.  I will assert that America can make globalization truly global over the next several decades by “exporting” security to those regions currently disconnected from the global economy and—by so doing—facilitate their eventual economic integration.  This chapter will also offer a critique of the current Administration’s efforts to date in both pursuing this grand strategy and explaining it sufficiently to the American public, our long-time allies, and the rest of the world.

Chapter Two will present a new map of the world that puts the current violence and unrest into a clear context. Using the historical record of U.S. military crisis response from 1990 to 2002, I will illuminate meaningful patterns in our military interventions.  I will show readers how these patterns not only reveal the Pentagon’s current defense strategy but suggest where America will be headed in the future.  The New Map divides the world into three sections:  1) The Functioning Core: areas in which globalization has firmly taken root (e.g. North America, Putin’s Russia, the European Union) 2) The Non-Integrating Gap: areas where globalization is thinning or absent (e.g. the Middle East and Southwest Asia, virtually all of Africa, the Balkans) and 3) Seam States: places that run along the “bloody borders” of the Gap states (e.g. Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia.)  In this model, disconnectedness defines danger. America’s goal, then becomes, “shrinking the Gap,” helping disconnected nations to become part of globalization, thereby improving the quality of life in these regions and, in turn, reducing the significant threat they pose to the rest of the world.  This chapter will also make the point that this new 21st century world has different global security needs.  Our global security system has been bifurcated and thus forces the U.S. to adopt many new security policies (e.g., preemptive war) and postures (e.g., pulling out of Europe and moving into Middle East.)

Chapter Three will provide a broad historical overview of Globalization I (1875-1929) and its collapse.  I will show how the U.S. purposefully recreated the global economy in Globalization II (1946-1989), and then will present a series of alternative scenarios for the unfolding of Globalization III. Chapter Four will argue that if Globalization III is to advance peacefully for the benefit of all humanity, four key "flows" will have to be maintained across the combined Core-Gap system: movement of people from Gap to Core movement of energy from Gap to New Core (e.g. developing Asia); movement of foreign direct investment from Old Core (U.S., Europe, Japan) to New Core; and the "exporting" of security by the United States first and foremost into the Middle East (and later into Central Africa).

Chapter Five will introduce a new model for international crises which helps forecast the impact of more long term, unfolding shock waves or “horizontal scenarios” (e.g. the AIDS epidemic) and sudden, unexpected events or “vertical scenarios” (e.g. bolt-from-the-blue terrorist attacks.)  This chapter will offer a full explanation of this crisis model using 9/11, the Iraq War (i.e., the Bush Administration's desired "big bang" in the Middle East, or demonstration effect), and the unfolding SARS epidemic.  This chapter will delineate a collection of "rules" or observations about system perturbations using recent real-world examples and historical analogies to illustrate these points.

Chapter Six will present a new ordering principle for national security explaining why the "great power war" (or World War II) model of military planning no longer fits in a post-industrial world. It will propose the system perturbations model, as defined in the previous chapter, as a new ordering principle for not only the Defense Department, but for the Department of Homeland Security as well (effectively providing a bridging concept between the two.) Chapter Seven will then explore America’s role as “system administrator” to the global security environment, and will detail a three-pronged strategy to: 1) strengthen the ability of the Core to withstand future system perturbations like 9/11 (arguing that there will be more) 2) firewall off the Core from the Gap's worst "exports" (terror, drugs, pandemics), and 3) "shrink the Gap" by exporting security to the world's most disconnected states and thereby "draining the swamp" where global terrorists are hatched.

Chapter Eight will present the New American Way of War.  I will show how the U.S. will wage war in the future and how this new manner of war will reflect the strategic realities of the Core-Gap divide and the challenges of  "shrinking the Gap."  Chapter Eight will also show where and why the U.S. will intervene militarily in coming years and how this new way of conducting war will fundamentally reshape U.S. military forces over time.

In an epilogue will plot out, in a grand scenario, how the world can move into a much better situation within a generation, emphasizing how this change will impact the everyday lives of U.S. citizens and telling them how to look out for numerous positive and negative "sign posts" in news media coverage of future world events.


About the Author

In March of this year, I published an article in Esquire entitled The Pentagon’s New Map in which, for the first time, I presented some of my key ideas to a mainstream audience.  The response has been overwhelming.  The magazine's editorial staff reports that it has never received so much mail (not to mention actual phone calls) about a single article in recent memory, forcing them to publish letters from readers in two subsequent issues (May and June) and exciting editor-in-chief David Granger to the point of encouraging me to become a semi-regular contributor to Esquire on a professional basis.  Meanwhile the Office of the Secretary of Defense has ordered several hundred reprints for distribution, pushing a surprised Esquire to reactivate an in-house publishing service they haven't used in years.  Within a month of publication, I appeared on CNN (interviewed by Wolf Blitzer), Fox News and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, not to mention a fistful of nationally syndicated National Public Radio programs, including Marketplace, The Connection and Public Radio International's The World.  The Wall Street Journal's online "Daily Scan" wrote that the article should be read "word for word," while the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations immediately listed it as a "Must Read" on its website for both "National Security and Defense" and "Globalization." 

Within a week of the start of the war in Iraq, the New York Times’ “Week in Review” editorial staff asked me to write up my personal analysis of events for immediate publication (30 March).  Japan's Sapio (called the nation's equivalent of Time) ran an April feature story on the piece because of the intense debate it has triggered there, while Germany's Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik and France’s Courier International have translated the article for republication in Europe (leading, in the former case, to follow-on critiques in both Die Zeit and Freitag).  South Korean public television has interviewed me for a documentary on North Korea.  Perhaps most surprisingly (given recent bureaucratic tensions), the U.S. State Department requested that I personally brief Secretary Colin Powell's senior aides.

Underlying the current buzz, there is my strong academic background and reputation: a PhD from Harvard (where I studied under Samuel Huntington and wrote my dissertation under Joseph Nye); a lengthy stint as a defense analyst inside the Beltway; and my current position as a professor of warfare analysis at the U.S. Naval War College.  I have lectured by invitation at several dozen internationally recognized universities and research think tanks in the past five years alone.

In terms of research skills, I will bring to bear on this project a number of pioneering concepts that I've developed over the years: my historic scenario work on Y2K; my unique collaboration with Cantor Fitzgerald (almost a story in itself); and my just-concluded stint in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where my strategic concepts have received the highest levels of attention (primarily through my regular briefings of senior officials over the past year and a half).

Even before the publication of the "Pentagon's New Map," my work in the Office of the Secretary of Defense had received serious acclaim outside the Beltway.  Last fall, Esquire magazine named me as "The Strategist" in their "Best and Brightest" issue featuring three dozen emerging thinkers who "will shape our world."  The Annapolis-based U.S. Naval Institute named me 2001 “Author of the Year” for a series of articles I wrote in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  Finally, in my most recent Department of the Navy Performance Appraisal, my immediate superior at my "day job" in Newport, Rhode Island wrote that, "Few scholars since Alfred Thayer Mahan have done as much as Tom Barnett to identify the Naval War College with innovative strategic thinking … and he probably has few peers elsewhere.”

Most importantly for the world of publishing, I possess unique capabilities to explain the world of security to the general public.  The Esquire article demonstrates my writing skills, but less known are my teaching skills.  I regularly make complex presentations of these ideas not only to senior government officials (giving two-to-three hour talks without notes) but to audiences made up of average citizens.  In the latter capacity, I enjoy a thriving business as a public speaker in addition to my demanding briefing schedule as a government official.  And the question I field most frequently after one of these talks is, "When is your book coming out so I can buy it"

About the Collaborator

Mark Warren is the Executive Editor of Esquire magazine.  He was born, raised, and educated in Texas, where he also worked on local, state, and national political campaigns in a variety of capacities, and in the 1980s was chief of staff for several sessions of the Texas Legislature for a senator from Houston. A magazine editor since 1988, specializing in long-form narrative non-fiction, he has also worked for Harper's Magazine. In that time, it has been his privilege to work with some of the best magazine writers in the business. He lives in New York.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>