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December 14, 2005




Guess you have to be a cog to sell one... Also, since when does being smart have anything to do with doing right. Oh well - doesn't matter anyway, since if there is no system their are no admins.


Hmm, this is interesting..For the gentleman who followed Dr. Barnett in the DOD Seminar Series, Gen. Victor Corpus, former Philppines Intelligence Chief, gave a talk that even you might agree was -- for lack of a better term -- "PALEO-LIBERAL". Now, I'm actually a Fleetwood Mac fan ("No one falls under a simple set of labels") but I wonder if the Seminar organizers wanted to have a look at the radical fringes as exemplars and were being eclectic in their choice of speakers? We looked a bit at Gen. Corpus talk in "China's New East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere." I sure hope HE doesn't get DOD funding for his ideas too.
But I must admit, I am befuddled by both these presentations, which give me a feeling of vertigo at times.

DJB at Philippine Commentary
[my first time here, just saw the link at ZenPundit, Thanks]


Am I the only person who is seriously disturbed by Barnett's whole theory? I mean, seriously, it seems to boil down to the US needing to use military force to coerce the entire world to adopt our system of governance/economics. Its a formula for an incredible amount of bloodshed; Iraq is just the beginning if this is the road US policy is going to take.

And where's the morality here? Seems to be out-and-out banditry.

Somebody in the policy establishment needs to start championing the rule of international law and something approximating a law enforcement-based approach to stopping non-state terrorism. Also, there has to be some redress for legitimate concerns of various groups that engage in non-state terrorism. Just saying we're going to go around kicking ass, kidnapping people, etc., is NOT going to decrease terrorism. Of course nobody is going to negotiate with bin laden and his ilk; but just telling the Arab world we're going to crush them and make them like it is not realistic.

I think that Barnett's theories are typical of an insular and intellectually bankrupt US elite intellectual class thats way out of control. This stuff needs to be challenged in open forums.


"And where's the morality here?"

This is the key issue and if not the only long-term...

"just saw the link at ZenPundit, Thanks"

Yep - Mark ROCKS!



This is some serious history. Inconceivable just a few months ago, reality today.

Remember, all truth goes through three stages: ridicule, opposition, then treated as self-evident.

Getting pretty self-evident, huh?

SOURCE: Thomas Barnett,

phil jones

[quote]Am I the only person who is seriously disturbed by Barnett's whole theory? I mean, seriously, it seems to boil down to the US needing to use military force to coerce the entire world to adopt our system of governance/economics.[/quote]

It's naked gun-boat capitalism. It's couched in terms of 'connected and disconnected' but the only connections Barnett recognises are trade and capital flow. Afghanistan looks like the "gap" in those terms. But if you count the number of volunteers who flocked there to help fight the russians in the 80s, to train with AlQaeda in the 90s etc; it's a well trafficked hub (particularly opium traffic :-) Look at the sneakernet of copies of religious audio and video recordings circulating within the islamic world. This space is not *disconnected*. It's just connected by different kinds of link : social tradition, family relationships, religious fervour.

Barnett is proposing to forcably rewire the space with capitalist links. (Which will require the destruction of rivals.)

I think the ZenPundit comment here is interesting : "market forces are balancing the 'open-source' nature of Iraq's insurgency" http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/12/when-el-salvador-option-in-iraq.html

Except that in the software world, open-source is disrupting the paid software market in many places. That's a clash of different economic relations too. The open-source market has a wider variety of motivations and is more flexible than the capitalist market. Some people are paid to write free-software, or build a capitalist business distibuting it. Others contribute for a variety of reasons that involve no money. In some senses, FLOSS "encompasses" (outflanks?) the capitalist market.

In this sense, an "open bazaar" which includes money, remnants of tribal loyalties, pan-Arabic nationalism, dedication to the Islamic Ummar, Baathists and organized crime, is bigger than a sysadmin force which is essentially a combination of government, paid mercenaries and a few NGOs, all in the service of wiring the middle-east for the benefit of capital. ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6930.htm )

mark safranski

Thank you for the links and the kind words from LUck.

Phil has put his fnger on the crux of the issue. The American view (and esp. Tom's) of globalization's offer of " connectivity" is increasing the ability of individuals to access choices for themselves.

There are local elites in many societies who wish to predetermine, preclude, ration and control that individual connectivity in the name of an alternative collective value.

You can rightly point to the disruptive social effects of the former - there is real creative destruction and accelerated cultural evolution going on - but you must also acknowledge that the latter requires the effective disenfranchisement of *billions* of people to suit the desires of a tiny elite in order to work.

It is also a far less economically dynamic paradigm.

Incidentally, Barnett is not a neocon - I think John was possibly being tongue in cheek here - the neocons don't care for Tom's ideas very much. PNM is not PNAC.


In the functioning democracies of the "Core" what I find most illuminating are the ideas of RJ Rummel that "highly utilitarian choices" in policies and leaders over some historical period may be quantified and observed. In such societies such choices of high beneficial use to the population at large tend to be more popularly elected and selected by the freely voting and highly interconnected human beings that constitute its nodes. And like blogosphere popularity, such a ranked spectrum of choices -- from high to low utility policies and leaders -- constitute a power law "elite".

In nonfunctioning democracies, that spectrum is perhaps what you refer to as "an alternative collective value."

What's the difference between the two societies. I think it is in fact the degree of connectivity, which is a metric for how freely human beings can select and elect policies and leaders.

The challenge is to realize that the "power law distribution" observed in functional democracies are perhaps equilibrium conditions attained only after kind of a rough start, e.g. slavery and racism in America have proven to be nonequilibrium phenomena corrected over centuries of "selecting and electing" policies and leaders. If democracy comes to the Middle East, for example, one must expect some unpleasant possible choices before "equilibrium" -- e.g ultranationalism, religious fundamentalism, and all the silly things the functional democracies also went through in their infancies.

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