Earlier this year, Mr. Lind wrote a review of Mr. Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map and Blueprint for Action. One popular critique of Mr. Lind's review was that he had written it without actually reading the book, relying instead upon a Washinton Post review. Indeed, Mr. Barnett himself made this charge in his response to the review. To my knowledge, Mr. Lind has not addressed this, nor has he written anything on the book since his initial review. Somewhat disappointing, though he may have some good reasons for not doing so.
Mr. Barnett includes an attack of Mr. Lind's credentials:
Lind's main claim to fame is that he co-authored, with a slew of active-duty and reserve officers, a seminal article on 4GW back in 1989. He published one military strategy book on his own prior to that (1985), co-wrote an attack on the U.S. military with Gary Hart, and now seems content to churn out his critiques of operations and strategy (unlike me, Lind-the-non-operator has no fear of critiquing operations or even tactics), and the occasional right-wing diatribe on "cultural conservatism," which his site defines as "the belief that there is a necessary, unbreakable, and causal relationship between traditional Western, Judeo-Christian values, definitions of right and wrong, ways of thinking and ways of living -- the parameters of Western culture -- and the secular success of Western societies: their prosperity, their liberties, and the opportunities they offer their citizens to lead fulfilling rewarding lives. If the former are abandoned, the latter will be lost."
Yes, yes, the barbarians are at the gate all right, and I'm the "soft totalitarian" ... How quaint.
What is one supposed to make of this comment? Evidently Mr. Barnett does not share Mr. Lind's recognition that what is good in Western civilization comes from its foundation in Christianity. (Does Mr. Lind link the "success" of America to religion? It's not clear to me that he does--if he did, I would disagree with him.) Apparently Mr. Barnett is a secular liberal.
Now when choosing authorities and teachers, one does so because one is judges that their reasoning is correct or one finds them trustworthy (probably for reasons other than the soundness of their doctrine, though it may be possible to have some sort of insight into the truthfulness of their teachings without perfect understanding).
What are you working for? And how will you achieve this? Mr. Barnett's answers to both these questions are unsatisfactory from my point of view.
Mr. Barnett is a liberal, and an advocate of globalization and of the Enlightenment, relying on a quasi-Marxist (that is to say, a primarily economic analysis) of human behavior.
Note: apparently Mr. Barnett supports regime change and nation-building, when it's "necessary"--in the interests of the United States and what's good for the United States is good for the rest of the world, because that's the way the U.S. is--we share everything with everyone else and want to bring civilization to them, if possible.
Hamlet Linden: When you say "globalization", a lot of people, especially in the EU-- probably a lot of folks in the audience here-- don't think about peace and prosperity. They think exploitation, sweatshops, economic imperialism, etc. Please speak to that concern.
Thomas Barnett: First, please read Martin Wolf's "Why Globalization Works" book, as it's the best. Globalization does many things when it comes into a country that's was previously poorly connected, and I talk about this at length in the book. First, multinational corporations tend to pay, on average, 50% higher wages than similar industries in the economy can pay. That's why there was 1.5 billion in the world living on less than a dollar a day back in 1980 and only 1.1 billion today. That's a reduction of 400 million as the population in the world increased dramatically, so 40% of the world lives on less than a dollar a day in 1980 and only 20% in 2001 (adjusted for inflation, of course). That flow outside investment is crucial, because no countries in the history of the world have grown their economies without access to outside capital. Now with development comes higher local pollution, without a doubt, but that tapers off dramatically with development and actually improves as you get advanced. Of course, global pollution, like CO2, continues to go up even with advanced development but that's another discussion. (source)
From "I Miss Lady Liberty":
No surprise--that ideal turns out to be a liberal one. (Especially one of a libertarian stripe.) What Strauss or Fr. McCoy would make of Barnett's writings. (Though I do wonder if their laying the development of modern politics at the feet of Machiavelli is a bit too much.)
But therein lies the rub. We stand for a world connected through trust, transparency and trade, while the jihadists want to hijack Islam and disconnect it from all the corruption they imagine is being foisted upon it by globalization (aka, America's "plot to rule the world").
In that war of ideas, I'd still like to see Lady Liberty standing outside the wire instead of hiding behind it, and here's why: I don't have a homeland. My people left that place a long time ago.
I don't have a homeland because I don't live in a place - I live an ideal. I live in the only country in the world that's not named for a location or a tribe but a concept. Officially, we're known as the United States.
And where are those united states? Wherever there are states united. You join and you're in, and theoretically everyone's got an open invitation.
This country began as a collection of 13 misfit colonies, united only by their desire not to be ruled by a distant king.
We're now 50 members and counting, with our most recent additions (Alaska, Hawaii) not even co-located with the rest, instead constituting our most far-flung nodes in a network that's destined to grow dramatically again.
While Mr. Lind is not Catholic, he claims to be a traditional Christian, and is concerned with the loss of Western civilization and the current moral decay of the West and the decline of nation-states. He is heavily invested in this thesis, and some have criticized him for it. Regardless of what one thinks of this thesis (which I am strongly inclined to accept), his analysis of 4GW, centered as it is on the historical development of the modern nation-state, is more accurate than not. One can appreciate Mr. Lind's writings as an attempt to warn us what the negative effects are when subsidiarity is destroyed and replaced by a centralization, and what weaknesses are engendered. If non-state actors do not have the same weaknesses as nation-states, then can the same methods used to defeat nation-states be applied to them? "Probably not."
Some have mistakenly identified 4th generation warfare with tactics, such as terrorism and insurgency--it is characterized rather by the loss of state monopoly on war. How does this differ from earlier periods? Perhaps a case could be made that rebels and guerillas fighting against a foreign power had some legitimacy, in so far as they represented real communities that could become independent. This certainly deserves more reflection. Can the use of violence by a non-state actor ever be legitimate? It seems that some forms of armed resistance, in accordance with just and reasonable principles, can be licit. But in nation-states where local independence and self-sufficiency has been destroyed, can separation (or secession) through force of arms be justified?
Thomas P. M. Barnett's blog; website
Second Life Future Salon
4GW is not some advance, but the Gap's last gasps
Joseph Stromberg, A Post-Modern Nimrod
Richard Peet's review
Something on Martin van Creveld--
Clausewitz vs. the Scholar
Internet discussion on Lind-Barnett:
Chet Richards wrote a positive review for DNI, and John Robb of Global Guerillas offered some thoughts in "Contra Barnett" but does not give a full review of his own. (An older post.)
Small Wars Journal
Defense Industry Daily
Mr. Barnett worked with Admiral Art Cebrowski in the Office of Force Transformation (wiki).
Admiral Cebrowski is known as one of the foremost proponents of networkcentric warfare.
The power of information comes from the ability to share
Defense Operations and Network-centric Operations
Arthur K. Cebrowski, 1942-2005
John J. Garstka, Defense Transformation and Network Centric Warfare
(An article on Force Transformation. Another. Wired.)
Sense and Respond Logistics
A critique of networkcentric warfare by T. Barnett
Critics take shots at net-centric warfare planning
The net-centric dialog
Misc: EoTech, AimPoint
Review of The Enlightenment and Religion
What role do secret societies play in the destruction of social order? What can be done to stabilize South America? (In addition to the renewed effort at evangelizing the continent, of course.) What about Venezuela? Who benefits from the investment in developing countries?