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The Pentagon's New Map Paperback – May 3, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Those who've read the likes of Martin Van Creveld and Thomas Friedman will find some familiar thinking in this book. The author's main contention is that "disconnected" countries, those that aren't connected via information and economic networks to the rest of the world, are a huge source of danger. Such countries are usually run by a nasty elite who essentially tyrannize their populations who are left poor and angry. Having been left poor and angry, these disconnected people are ripe for becoming terrorists and their nations ripe for the location of terrorist networks, crime syndicates, and so forth. Hence, we need to use military force to go in, defeat the nasty people running things, and enforce a new order that will give the oppressed people of these societies hope so they won't need to bomb us. In the process, we'll give them new law enforcement agencies that will crack down on criminal syndicates.
Reactionary types will accuse Mr. Barnett of being some kind of neo-imperialist or perhaps a global fascist. Nevertheless, I personally think that Barnett sincerely believes that what he is proposing would be a "good thing" and that it would improve the lives of the people he seeks to liberate. I'll leave the name-calling to someone else, as there are unquestionably lots of people running around who are willing to do just that.Read more ›
Second, I do agree that this book should have stayed an article. It is one-third autobiography, one-third description of Pentagon decision-making, and one-third description of his own ideas. This makes it amusing to read, but difficult to process as an analytic argument.
Third, this book offers what I believe is the most honest reason for the war on Iraq yet. It could not be offered by a politico, but it can be offered by someone on the inside watching the decisions evolve. I think that he clearly illustrates what Wolfowitz meant when he said the war was fought for "bureaucratic reasons".
In summary, I strongly recommend the book for its discussion of a likely strategic direction for our country. The discussion of Pentagon decision-making and planning is likely also useful to people to wonder why it's so hard to change that organization.
However, the book is to a large degree a stream-of-consciousness essay without all that much real "meat" to it. It's probably at
least 100 pages longer than it needs to be, and many of its pages contain repetition of the same grand themes without any rigorous effort to translate these themes into real-world actions.
Indeed, it looks to me as if Barnett's grand themes lose much of their force when they are confronted with real-world facts. By arguing largely at the conceptual level, Barnett manages to avoid confronting some of the strongest objections to his views.
Some of the major arguments Barnett makes, and my thumbnail takes on them:
1. No military on earth can match that of the U.S., and none ever will.
Barnett derides the Pentagon's "worst case planning," arguing that there's no rational basis for doom-and-gloom. Perhaps there is no power that, today or in the near-term, can present a truly global threat to the U.S. military. However, our current or potential enemies don't need to defeat us across the globe -- they can act regionally or locally.
We certainly haven't reached the point that an attack on North Korea would be a cakewalk, and in both the Persian Gulf and in the Straits of Taiwan our navy could in the foresseable future face some serious threats. (Just for example, Iranian dhows equipped with hypersonic anti-ship missiles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Barnett is one of those American Warriors who thinks the 50 million people America has murdered in the name of some stupid set of values is justified. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Marvin Sannes
Makes me wonder what the author would say today, after all that's happened since this book was written.Published 2 months ago by Dental Floss Tycoon
Thomas PM Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map concerns the evolving strategic thinking that went on within the US Department of Defense (DOD) with regard to global security. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael G Kurilla