Review of the Pentagon's New Map

Topics: National security, President of the United States, Canada Pages: 5 (1510 words) Published: February 19, 2014
The Pentagon’s New Map (Barnett)
Part 1. Author’s Thesis
Mr. Barnett’s thesis is comprised of two parts, one descriptive and the other prescriptive. First, Barnett describes the world as divided into two distinct groups: the Functioning Core (“Core”) and the Non-Integrating Gap (“Gap”). The Functioning Core is comprised of the nation-states that are globalized through network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security. Barnett states that these Core nations are prosperous and stable because they are fully participating in the advance of globalization. In contrast, Barnett finds that the nations not participating in globalization, disconnected from the global community, are plagued by “politically repressive regimes, wide speared poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and most important—the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists.” Thomas P.M. Barnett, “The Pentagon’s New Map—It Explains Why We’re Going to War, and Why We’ll Keep Going to War,” Esquire (March 2003), 97. Barnett asserts that it is the disconnected nations of the Gap that pose a national security threat to the United States because these nations will eventually migrate their problems to those countries enjoying globalization's connectivity.

The second part of Barnett’s thesis is that the United States must promote connectivity with the Gap, in what he calls “shrinking the gap”, by exporting security conducive to globalization. Barnett believes that the United States must lead this effort because it is ideally suited to do so, as the United States is “connectivity personified” and has the military and economic strength to promote security. Barnett also believes that the United States’ military engagement in the Gap is the only way to protect it from national security threats found in the Gap.

Part 2. Author’s main arguments
Barnett begins the support of his thesis by mapping the current international security environment of the twenty-first century. Barnett divides the world into Core states and states that reside in the Gap. The distinguishing feature between the Core and the Gap is that globalization has spread to those in the Core, while those states in the Gap either outright refuse globalization or have yet to realize globalization’s economic and cultural benefits. These Gap states have yet to “harmonize [their] internal rule set with that of globalization—banking, tariffs, copyright protection, environmental standards” Barnett, “The Pentagon’s New Map,” 98. Barnett states that the sources of conflict in the world reside at the seams of the Core and Gaps states. And the biggest threat to U.S. national security is the disconnectedness of the Gap states from the international community, which fosters terrorist organizations intent on doing harm to the Core states for perceived injustices.

Establishing the challenges the U.S. faces from the Gap, Barnett proposes a new national strategy for facing those challenges. Barnett posits that we can only defeat the threats posed from the Gap by simultaneously countering the threat and growing the connectedness of the Gap states. Or in other words, the U.S. must ultimately “Shrink the Gap” and bring the Gap states into the Core. Barnett, “The Pentagon’s New Map,” 101. U.S. Strategy therefore must be to extend our culturally neutral and rules based civilization to those states in the Gap, decreasing the available safe harbor of extremist terrorist organizations. But this can only be done, as Barnett asserts, by first extending security to the Gap.

To accomplish this task of providing security, the U.S. military must shift away from focusing on full-spectrum, large-scale warfare and instead focus on the threat most posed in Gap states, terrorism. As Barnett sees it, the U.S. military must “mirror-image” the challenges we face and “fight fire with fire.” Barnett, “The Pentagon’s New Map,” 102....
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