November 7, 2005

FREEDOM IS MESSY:

Empire Made Easy (Phyllis Eckhaus, November 4, 2005, In These Times)

Banish those nasty guilt twinges over America's ambitions to empire. Getting a jump on the holidays, Thomas P.M. Barnett is marketing a feel-good guide to conquest and capitalism, a sequel to his bestseller, The Pentagon's New Map. In Blueprint for Action, the Esquire editor and former Defense Department strategist declares that we're doing the world a favor by bombing our way to global free enterprise.

Brash and breezy, Barnett's plan for world conquest comes complete with its own video game vocabulary: The industrialized West is the Core. The Third World is the Gap. The aim of the game is to "shrink the Gap" by deploying the Leviathan, America's "high-speed, high-lethality and high-precision" warfighting capacity, "a force for global good that ... has no equal."

Through conquest, occupation and occasional diplomacy, America will cure the world's ills. This transformation will be achieved through the miracle of globalization, or "connectivity," Barnett's code for capitalism, which magically produces universal affluence, pluralism and democracy.

By contrast, Barnett believes, "disconnectedness defines danger," a mantra he repeats with the confidence of someone who confuses alliteration with meaning. He simultaneously asserts that his plan for world domination will eliminate terrorism--because ultimately, everyone will have a cell phone and laptop and live happily ever after--and acknowledges that in the short run, "regime change doesn't exactly reduce your terrorist pool."


Of course, capitalism, democracy and protestantism are all effects of Judeo-Christianity and the belief in the God given dignity of every individual, not causes of each other.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2005 11:45 PM
Comments

HAving just finished the latest Barnett book, its inconsistencies are fresh in my mind.

The author engages in a lot of "on the one hand. . .on the other and" sort of flip-flopping, in his attempt to endorse a War on Terror without giving up Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 8, 2005 8:11 AM

It's easy for victims of BDS to hold opposite and opposing opinions at the same time, so finding moral equivalences where there are none, is child's play.

Posted by: tefta at November 8, 2005 8:44 AM

I don't think those are effects of J-C ideology, but rather that they are emergent properties that are far more likely to arise in a J-C environment. Just like tilling the soil and watering doesn't make plants grow.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 8, 2005 2:54 PM

aog:

Except that only that soil ever produced this fruit.

Posted by: oj at November 8, 2005 5:11 PM
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