BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Thomas P.M. Barnett, what`s "The Pentagon`s New Map"?
THOMAS BARNETT, AUTHOR, "THE PENTAGON`S NEW MAP": Well, what the book tries to do, really, is nothing less than to enunciate a successor to the cold war strategy of containment, in effect, to define the true sources of mass violence and terrorism within the global community, so as to facilitate, at first, their containment through diplomatic and military means, but ultimately, their eradication through economic and social integration.
And the mantra I use in the book is that it`s disconnectedness that defines danger. If you think about globalization as a process of integration, then the definitions of crisis we now face, like a 9/11, are instances where connectivity is disrupted. And when you think about it in those terms and you start casting what it means to wage a global war on terrorism within this larger process of globalization spread, you begin to see how a Bush administration can say, in effect, to take down a Saddam is to be part of -- logically, is located within a larger globalization -- or, excuse me -- global war on terrorism because, in effect, what we`re dealing with is those instances where you`re going to find very disconnected societies.
And it`s in that disconnectedness that we tend to find the violence and the bad treatment. And in many ways, what you`re waging war against with a bin Laden is a guy who looks to take a big chunk of humanity off line from the globalization process and in stall authoritarian regimes based on his particular definition of what a -- a good life is led.
LAMB: Before we get into some of your theories, I want to go through what`s written about you in the back and just quickly get you to -- the word that we use in Washington a lot -- parse what is said about you...
LAMB: ... so that we can an idea of where you`re coming from. Senior strategic researcher and professor at the U.S. Naval War College from October 2001 to June 2003. What is the Naval War College, and what did you do there?
BARNETT: Well, actually, that goes all the way back to 1998. I had done eight years here in Washington at the Center for Naval Analyses, which is sort of the Rand for the Department of Navy, a think tank. I go to the Naval War College in 1998 and become a senior strategic researcher.
One of the key things I did during that time period was I ran a series of workshops with Cantor Fitzgerald, atop the World Trade Center, where we brought together Wall Street heavyweights, National Security Council members and OSD, office of secretary of defense, planners and whatnot, and subject matter experts, and we explored the future of globalization and what could threaten globalization and what would be new definitions of international instability and crisis.
That gets wiped off the board with 9/11 because Cantor loses so many people. At that point, the person who had been the president of the Naval War College, Vice Admiral Art Zabrowsky (ph), retires as president, goes to work for Don Rumsfeld as his transformation guru. They start this new office within the office of the secretary of defense called the Office of Force Transformation. It`s going to be about really transforming the U.S. military for the tasks that lie ahead. This administration comes in very committed to this concept. We`re going to build the military of tomorrow today.
So Art Zabrowsky calls me soon after 9/11, knowing that my project`s been shot out from under me, somewhat literally, and says, Come work for me. We need rationales. We need an explanation of the world that says not only that we`re transforming because we`re a rich and technologically capable country and thus can have a, you know, well-endowed and technological enabled military, but that we`re doing this transformation of the U.S. military in response to real changes in the international security environment that we think we now understand, in part, thanks to 9/11, that a certain world has been revealed to us.
That`s when I start putting together this briefing, which I deliver throughout OSD -- I do it 150 times, roughly, to 4,000 or 5,000 DoD officials -- that tries to explain a new way of looking at the world, a new way of understanding the spread of globalization, the connectivity between national security and economics, and says, This is where the global war on terrorism fits within. This is the larger reference.
And that receives good purchase within this administration. They let me brief it all over. It becomes an "Esquire" article. That becomes a book. That`s why I`m here.
LAMB: I want to get -- I want to get beyond the -- I want to get beyond the language. OSD stands for?
BARNETT: Office of the secretary of defense.
LAMB: DoD stands for?
BARNETT: Department of Defense.
LAMB: If someone were to walk inside the U.S. Naval War College -- first of all, where it is?
BARNETT: It`s in Newport, Rhode Island.
LAMB: How many people would be inside it?
BARNETT: You`re going to see a staff of 200 or 300. They`re going to process officers, graduate degrees, about 500 or 600 a year, from all over the U.S. military, primarily from the U.S. Navy and Marines. But they also process hundreds, or several dozen each year of foreign military.
LAMB: And what do they get when they`re there?
BARNETT: They get a master`s in national security studies.
LAMB: And then you mention the Center for Naval Analysis. Where is that?
BARNETT: That`s in Alexandria, Virginia. That`s where I started when I got out of Harvard with a Ph.D back in 1990, at the end of the cold war.
LAMB: How many people are in that organization?
BARNETT: That is a federally funded research development center. It`s like the Rand Corporation. It basically works for the Department of Navy, although it has other clients, as well. That`s about 400 analysts. So it`s a pretty sizable organization.
LAMB: And most people in there have what, Ph.D.?
BARNETT: A lot of them do. And a lot of them do what they call operations research, kind of -- they`re scientists. I was sort of an odd duck there, in that I was a soft scientist, I was a political scientist.
LAMB: What`s the Center -- no, the Institute for Public Research? Is that a (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BARNETT: That`s a division within the CNA Corporation.
LAMB: Is there, by the way, a Center for Army Analysis or a Center for Marine Analysis or a Center for Air Force Analysis?
BARNETT: Yes, there are those kinds of -- those kinds of federally funded research and development centers and there are private corporations that do that kind of work, as well. There`s also an Army War College in Carlisle. There`s an Air Force War College, Air College, down in Alabama, I believe. Those are different from, for example, West Point, which does the undergraduate degree for the Army, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, those kinds of situations.
LAMB: At one point in your book, you say you wanted to be a Paul Nitze.
LAMB: What does that mean?
BARNETT: Well, I mean, what was frustrating for me, going through and getting a Ph.D. in political science in the 1980s was that all the rules with regard to how the cold war worked had been kind of figured out by the time I got on the scene and started studying them in a serious fashion in the 1980s. It was all fairly, you know, carved in stone. It was called strategic arms limitation talks, and we knew what was our part of the world and the Soviets knew what was their part of the world, and we had all sorts of unwritten rules that said this is how we interact with one another.
And so it was fairly -- it was fairly stolid. It didn`t change too much. You could master the field by memorizing, you know, a pretty small list of players and historical events. And it just wasn`t a very dynamic arena, as I looked at it. I thought I was just going to come in and have a career in Soviet studies. I got a master`s at Harvard in that first and then got a Ph.D. in political science. I thought I`d be doing arms control treaties for the course of my entire career. All gone.
LAMB: You live where now?
BARNETT: I live with my family in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, actually on the island where the Naval War College is located. It`s the original Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay up in Rhode Island.
LAMB: And other than writing this book, what do you do for a living?
BARNETT: Well, what I do for a living is I`m a senior strategic researcher at the War College. I conduct workshops. I conduct research. I write reports. We have various clients that we work for, help them do strategic planning within the U.S. government. We`re sort of like an in-house consultancy at the War College.
LAMB: What is strategic planning? In other words, what other kind of planning is there?
BARNETT: Well, strategic planning, which the military engages in, in a way that`s different from, I would argue, the private sector, is that they engage in truly long-term thinking. I mean, the military -- DoD is one of the rarest places, where you can have a career where they routinely ask you questions like, Help us understand this particular dynamic in the year 2025, OK? You go to a McDonald`s Corporation, you go to GM, they may go out five or ten years, but there are very few places that really think down the pathways of potential global futures to the degree that the Defense Department does.
And that`s fascinating. It`s challenging. But when you think about it, what the Pentagon really does primarily, as opposed to the commands around the world that we have -- what the Pentagon does is it spends most of its time imagining future war, creating a force to wage that future war, and processing intelligence that supports that definition of future war.
So to tie it to something current today, the debate about the 9/11 intelligence failure -- I`ll tell you about it, and I write it in the book, in my mind, there was no failure, OK? I knew exactly upon 9/11 that there would be smoking memoranda found within weeks and that there would be somebody within the intelligence community who had been screaming their head off in the days and weeks and months up to that point.
Why that doesn`t penetrate up the ranks in the Pentagon is that the Pentagon decided in the mid-1990s, when they got far enough away from the old Soviet threat and started looking around for something familiar to plan their future war against -- because it takes a long time to build all these ships and these aircraft, tremendous lead times in development -- they got fixated on a China, 1991 Taiwan Straits crisis. And so that became, and still is in much of the Pentagon, the preferred vision of future war. China, Taiwan Straits, 2025.
We run a lot of so-called secret war games, where the unclassified description is, A large unnamed Asian land power with an unhealthy interest in a small island nation off its coast, OK? And it`s a secret who that is, except everybody knows it`s China. So if you look at the planning guide that`s inside DoD right now, with regard to the technologies we pursue, the force structures -- meaning the mix of ships and aircraft and whatnot that we buy -- you will see China looming throughout these documents as the dominant planning assumption.
So when the Pentagon is focused on that definition of future war and is building for that and only wants to hear intelligence that supports that, people can be screaming their heads off throughout the intelligence community about an al Qaeda in the days, weeks, months leading up to 9/11, that does not penetrate up the ranks. I mean, the Pentagon simply wasn`t interested in that until 9/11 made them interested.
LAMB: Let me ask you about the most political statements you make in your book.
LAMB: At one point, your wife is afraid you`re becoming a Republican.
LAMB: What does that mean? Are you not a Republican?
BARNETT: Well, I`m a registered Democrat. I tend to vote Democrat. It`s an odd thing to be a Democrat who works with the military, which is overwhelming Republican. I`m comfortable in that -- in that milieu because I like to be the skeptic in the room. I like to be the contrarian. And if you`re going to be a contrarian in the military environment, you`re probably going to have to be a Democrat. But that`s the family background I come out of. I had a grandfather who ran as a Progressive.
LAMB: In Wisconsin.
BARNETT: In Wisconsin, for the Senate. And so that`s the kind of background I come from. I will tell you, though, I tend to describe myself more like a Tony Blair Democrat. I tend to get lumped in, because of the work I`ve done with this administration -- and I`m not a political appointee, I`m just a government worker who was elevated for 20 months to a certain position in the office of the secretary of defense and therefore became known for that.
LAMB: And that was when you were the...
BARNETT: Assistant for strategic futures in the Office of Force Transformation.
LAMB: In the Office of Force Transformation.
LAMB: Is there any easier way of saying force transformation?
BARNETT: No. I mean, that`s one of those Pentagon buzz terms. What it means is this is the office that imagines the changing nature of war and is trying to get the rest of the Pentagon to move in the direction of accepting the challenges of the information age and, in effect, moving us off kind of the industrial era models that we`ve had for decades.
LAMB: Who did you answer to? Who were your assistants?
BARNETT: Art Zabrowsky.
LAMB: And what was his title?
BARNETT: He is the director of the Office of Force Transformation in the office of the secretary of defense.
LAMB: And who does he answer to?
BARNETT: Don Rumsfeld, secretary of defense.
LAMB: What I`m trying to do is to simplify this to where people get, who don`t have any idea about any of this, and language and all that...
LAMB: ... where they -- they can get to the point, should they go buy your book -- and what would you say to someone, who is drowning right now in language, about why they should buy this book.
BARNETT: Right. Well, I think what you`re going to find when you read the book is it is written -- it avoids the jargon, by and large, and it is written in a very conversational tone. It sounds like listening to me talk about things across the table, as opposed to kind of a high concept, Here`s a great race throughout history, and here are all sorts of high concepts I`m going to throw at you in reckless abandon.
It is interwoven with a history of my career as a strategic planner, which, in effect, takes you inside rooms that you don`t normally go inside, tells you what it is to put together a Power Point briefing, to deliver a Power Point briefing in some of these insider arenas, to talk to people who are doing the strategic planning and helping them imagine the future of war and these kinds of situations that I don`t think the public really understands, and yet it really determines the kind of force that we have, so that when we`re in an Iraq right now and we are short of certain things and we don`t have these certain things, those are all based on decisions we made on what we bought over the last 10 years, and those were based on strategic planning.
LAMB: What`s a Power Point briefing?
BARNETT: Well, it`s a hard thing to explain but, I mean, most people understand what a Power Point briefing is because it`s infiltrated large aspects academia and education and they`re fairly common in the business world. But inside the defense community, the Power Point briefing is the dominant mode of idea transmission, much more than a policy memorandum, much more than an article or a book you can write.
LAMB: What`s it look like?
BARNETT: It`s a series of slides that are projected behind you. And you stand up and deliver a narration to these slides. Now, the classic way you see it in movies and whatnot, they show you overhead satellite pictures. It`s fairly static pictures. And they describe, you know, Here we`re looking at -- Here we`re looking at -- Here we`re looking at. The kind of stuff I do, because it`s very conceptual, and what I`m trying to do is explain a way of thinking about the future of the world -- my presentations tend to be highly animated.
LAMB: You actually say in the book you`re pretty good at this.
BARNETT: Well, I will tell you, people have been telling me throughout my career that I`m one of the best Power Point briefers. And it`s a -- I will say that with some humility, in the sense that it`s a very odd skill and it doesn`t -- people don`t understand how powerful it can be inside the Pentagon because it doesn`t have that same sort of power outside the Pentagon. The closest thing you see to that type of activity is probably your weatherman standing in front of a screen and all sorts of animations and maps and stuff like that changing behind him as he describes something.
Well, I basically do something like that, except the tableau that`s behind me is the future of warfare and I`m describing where the world is going, in terms of how regions are coming together and moving apart, and I`m trying to sell a vision for where DoD, the Defense Department, fits in a U.S. foreign policy strategy long-term that says, This is the world we seek to create. This is the happy ending we`re trying to bring about.
LAMB: Let me then jump to another easily understood point. You say we should take out Kim Jong Il.
BARNETT: Well, one of the arguments that I make is that if you`re going to be serious about a global war on terrorism, what you`re going to end up having to do is integrate these regions that are historically poorly connected to the outside world, meaning the regions that are poorly connected to the global economy, as we understand it. People talk about globalization and they make it sound like it wasn`t there 20 years ago. It`s everywhere now.
LAMB: Define that.
BARNETT: It isn`t...
LAMB: Define globalization.
BARNETT: Globalization is a connectivity of communication networks. It`s a connectivity of people travel, idea movement. It`s connectivity of economic trade and a movement of money. It`s goods and services and ideas and traffic and all sorts of connectivity that develop in a mature fashion among the most mature economies, OK?
In the aftermath of the Second World War, that core that grows out, this new core of a global economy, was based on North America, Western Europe and Japan. If you listened to the World Bank around 1980, big chunks of what used to be the Soviet bloc sort of start coming on line because China starts to open up to the outside world, India begins to change over the `90s, the soviet Union breaks up. We`re talking about some of the big economies in Latin America. You`re talking about the tigers in Asia. They start to integrate with this global economy.
So I talk about a core, a functioning core of the global economy, which is roughly two thirds of the world`s population. And then I distinguish that from what I call the non-integrating parts of the world. And the reason why that`s important...
LAMB: The gap.
BARNETT: The gap. What I call the non-integrating gap.
LAMB: I mean, before we go, you`re talking about two different things. This word comes up all the time -- core and gap. Core is two thirds of the world?
LAMB: And gap is the other third.
BARNETT: That is poorly integrated to the global economy.
LAMB: Name some of those.
BARNETT: I would run it from left to right on a map. It`s the Caribbean rim. It`s the Andes portion of South America. It`s most of Africa. It`s the Balkans. It`s the Caucasus. It`s Central Asia, Southwest Asia and much of Southeast Asia. How I develop that swathe of the world and call it the non-integrating gap -- what we did was, we simply took and placed on a map the almost 150 military interventions we`ve engaged in since the end of the cold war. So...
LAMB: When did the cold war end?
BARNETT: For me, 1990. So I`m talking about the last 14 years. Where have we gone? Because the Soviets go away and we get out of the bipolar competition with them. And you say, What`s the natural demand pattern that the world exhibits, in terms of what I call the exporting of U.S. security? What are the situations that demand our attention, that attract our interventions?
LAMB: A hundred and fifty times?
BARNETT: A hundred and fifty times. And all I did was, I drew a line around that -- that figure.
LAMB: And you have that map in the book.
BARNETT: Right. And I say, What unifies these regions? And what I find is these regions uniformly are less connected to the global economy than that functioning core. And what`s interesting is, that functioning core, there is no war in it. There is no mass violence.
LAMB: They`re not always democracies, though.
BARNETT: No, not always democracies. But what I talk about in the functioning core is that you`re -- what I see in these countries are that they`re consistently seeking to synchronize what I call their internal rule sets on economics, markets, politics, and whatnot, with the emerging global rule set that...
LAMB: I`ve got to stop you again because you use this a lot -- rules set.
BARNETT: Rule sets.
LAMB: Sets, S-E-T-S.
LAMB: Rules -- is it rule sets?
BARNETT: Rule sets.
LAMB: OK, rule sets.
BARNETT: Rule sets.
LAMB: Yes. And you use that all the time.
LAMB: What is a rule set?
BARNETT: Well, as I explain at the beginning of the book, one way to think about a rule set is it`s the way the game is played. It`s the rules of the game, OK? So American football has a rule set. American baseball has a rule set. Hockey has a rule set. The U.S. economy has a rule set. The way the U.S. engages militarily with the outside world has a rule set.
LAMB: And you say it`s changed in 1776 and in -- jumping ahead to 1861, or all the years, it seems like, when war happened.
BARNETT: Yes. Because usually, what war represents is that the rule sets have gotten so dangerously out of whack that there is such either anger or dissatisfaction in the system that somebody tries to change the system through war, OK? And the argument I make about the 1990s is that globalization had spread so dramatically to such a larger portion of humanity, that what happened was, was that the connectivity raced ahead of the security rule sets, and the economic rule sets raced ahead of the political rule sets.
Here`s an example. You get connectivity in the Internet, and you have new definitions of dangers, like stalking on the Internet. And until you create a law that says stalking on the Internet and create a name for it, there`s a rule set gap there. There are people abusing new forms of connectivity to do dangerous and bad things, and until you create a law that says, That`s wrong, I`m going to call that wrong, here`s a new law, there`s a gap between those two rule sets, OK? Same thing with, say, identity theft. You get the connectivity of the modern age, and people can steal your identity. Until we come up with this phrase, identity theft, it wasn`t even really illegal. That`s where the economics and the connectivity get ahead of the politics and the security.
LAMB: Go back to Kim Jung Il.
LAMB: Take him out.
BARNETT: Well, here`s that argument about disconnectedness defines danger. So I look at the world and I say, Show me the places that are poorly connected, I`ll show you the violence, I`ll show you all the wars, all the genocide, all the ethnic cleansing, all the terrorists that we care about. So when I see a country that`s disconnected from the outside world, inevitably, bad things are happening. Because who wants to disconnect a society from the outside world? Somebody who wants to rule that society in an authoritarian fashion. And when you give them that kind of power over people, they tend to do bad things to those people and they tend to do bad things to their neighbors. They tend to become a threat.
So I look at a Saddam Hussein. I look at a Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il in North Korea is one of the most disconnected societies in the world. Three million people, we estimate -- we can`t even tell -- we think three million people died of a famine in the late 1990s in North Korea. Why? Because Kim Jong Il refused to let the food shipments come in to deal with this famine. He preferred to keep his control over his people than to allow them to be fed. And on that basis, he was, I would argue, criminally negligent in the death of three million people, half a Holocaust. Does anybody know about this? It`s a very untold story. It doesn`t make the newspapers. Why? Because North Korea is so disconnected, nobody knows what goes on there. It`s like Stalin killing 20 million people in the 1930s. We couldn`t figure that out until decades later.
So when I see a Kim Jong Il and I see that kind of disconnectedness, I say, by definition, this is a bad guy. And I will argue, if you want to make globalization spread and if you want the rule sets that come with that globalization to encourage collective security and to reduce the incidences of war, you`ve got to push connectivity for all it`s worth and remove from power those who try to enforce, involuntarily, disconnectedness on any society. So Kim Jong Il is a roadblock. He makes Northeast Asia a worse place than it would be with his departure.
LAMB: By the way, back to your Power Point briefings. How many times have you given one?
BARNETT: I`ve given probably a thousand or more.
LAMB: How many people usually in the audience?
BARNETT: Anywhere from -- I do -- sometimes -- I`ve done ones for senior leaders, where it`s the one guy in the room, and I`ve done them for as many as 500 or 600, where there`s another 2,000 or 3,000 that might be watching on video communications, you know, broadcast around the world.
LAMB: And how many other people are there in this town like you that give Power Point briefings?
BARNETT: Well, there are a lot of people who get Power Point briefings. What I get told a lot after Power Point briefings is that they`ve never seen anything quite like mine. I mean, mine stuff tends to be -- because it is high concept and because it doesn`t race through history and because it presents a lot of big ideas, to get that across to people, you have to make it entertaining and you have to make it dynamic. So my presentations tend to be highly theatrical. It`s almost like watching a show. In fact, people have said that I could probably take it and put it on Broadway and charge money for it in that kind of manner.
LAMB: Most guys like you who give Power Point briefings don`t end up getting in "Esquire" magazine.
LAMB: And they don`t end up writing books that are on -- you know, that -- this book is -- I can`t even see -- who published this book?
BARNETT: G.P. Putnam`s Sons.
LAMB: Yes. So it`s a -- it`s a...
BARNETT: Serious house.
LAMB: ... serious trade publication -- I mean, trade...
BARNETT: A mass -- a mass book.
LAMB: Mass books.
BARNETT: Yes. Not a trade publication, in effect.
LAMB: Right. Well, but it`s a trade book, they call it, in the hardback nonfiction category. The question to you, though, is, how did you get this into an "Esquire" magazine?
BARNETT: Well, I`ll tell you, I spent most of my career across the `90s making these arguments about how national security had to come closer and understand this process of globalization. And what I heard from the Pentagon was, It`s a complicating factor. You know, We don`t do global economics, we do war. So the only way I could get into people`s offices was to create this very compelling, entertaining Power Point presentation. And I knew that most of the `90s, I was getting in because I was awfully entertaining, because people loved the Power Point. They thought it was fascinating. They didn`t know what any of it meant, in terms of how it connected to national security.
But I knew that something would come down the pike that would make those connections more clear. 9/11 did that for me, OK? At that point, my description of the world and saying, Look where we go with our military interventions. We go to the most disconnected parts of the world. It`s where globalization hasn`t taken root. All of a sudden, the arguments about why we wage war and why we seek peace in this environment are intimately connected to a globalization. That becomes a package and a message that has broader appeal than just DoD.
And so I started briefing it outside of DoD, and on that basis, I started briefing it to private sector industries, like international financial community, to information technology community, which understands this kind of stuff, and my tendency to employ information technology metaphors in my language -- it makes perfect sense to them. I mean, this is a world they recognize.
And so when I say, This is where the Pentagon and war and peace and the arguments of national security fit within, you know, the great unfolding of this globalization process, that private sector says, I understand. This is good information for me as a businessperson. You get that kind of reputation, you start giving speeches to industry groups. "Esquire" comes along, and in the summer of 2002, they say we`re going to do a "best and brightest." And they are looking for a strategist, and they are looking for a strategist who expresses a new definition of how war and peace operate in this world because they say after 9/11, things have changed.
They ask around. They`re told, Hey, you got to see this guy. He`s got this brief. It`s weird as hell. He gives it all the time. He`s kind of a cult figure inside the Pentagon. People really like him. They`re not sure exactly what to do with him, but he gets to brief everywhere. So go see this. They send a guy up to -- Andrew Chayefsky (ph), one of their reporters, up to the War College. He sits through two hours of the brief. I do it just for him. And he says, This is unbelievable. I`ve never seen anything like this. I didn`t realize people even thought this way inside the Pentagon. I mean, I can`t believe they pay you to do this.
And so they picked me as one of their best and brightest. They put me in the December issue. At that point, "Esquire" says, We got to see this brief. I come down, I brief the staff. They give me some advice on how to dress better, as you would expect from "Esquire." And they say, That one image that you`ve got in here, this map, as soon as that comes on the screen, they say, We have got to get that map inside of "Esquire" because the world and our readership doesn`t understand this larger rationale for the war on terrorism that this administration is conducting. They just don`t get it.
I mean, the fear factor in the American public is, in effect, Where are we going with this? I mean, we`re going to do Afghanistan. We`re going to do Iraq. Where are we going with this? Where does it end? What`s a happy ending? Give me a finish line. Describe how this ends. And once you get what the map is, you get a description of how the world works, where war fits within how that world works, and it gives you a sense of progress -- you know, judgments of measures of effectiveness. We are doing better when we do this. We are doing worse if we do that. It gives the American public some way to judge the actions of this administration, which I would argue they`ve explained in a poor fashion in terms of the grand strategy. They just say, basically, Trust us on this. So...
LAMB: What do you think, by the way, of George Bush and what he`s done so far?
BARNETT: Well, let me get -- let me get all the way to the book here, and then I`ll answer that question.
BARNETT: Because I have a tendency to jump around, and it makes it harder for...
LAMB: And so do I, so we`re in bad shape here, if we`re not careful!
BARNETT: So I write the article for "Esquire," and it does -- you know, it`s passed around the Pentagon. It`s passed all over the world. I get foreign military secretaries of defense calling me up saying, Wow, this is -- you know, we were looking for this kind of -- this vision of the future coming out of DoD because this is one we recognize. This is one a Brazil or an Australia can understand, and it makes sense to us, because the usual way the Pentagon talks about war, some gigantic war with another great power 20 years from now, we can`t even play in that venue. But when you talk about globalization and these small conflicts, that`s something we can marry up to. So you realize it`s not just the American public that`s looking for this, there are a lot of allies out there who want this message.
At that point, the agents start coming after you, and they say you`ve got to take this message to the American public. And I say, you know, I`m a weird guy, mostly I do this briefing, I can`t translate that to the outside world. And they say, well, you did it in the "Esquire" article. So write a book like the "Esquire" article and explain your industry, explain who you are and what you do and the role you play.
So I cut a deal with Mark Warren, who`s the executive editor of "Esquire," and I say, you come and be my personal editor on this book, let`s see who we can we sell it to. We sell it to GP Putnam & Sons, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I got Neil Nyren, the editor in chief, who`s Tom Clancy`s editor, which, you know, has a certain cache in the national security community, and we say, you know, we`re going to write this book. It`s going to be part high concept, it`s going to be part an autobiography of the vision and how this has come about. Because I`m a nobody as far as the world is concerned. I have a certain stature inside the national security community, but nobody knows who I am outside.
So I have to explain who I am and how I came up with all of these things for it to be a sellable concept, for people to say I not only believe it, but I trust you as a source.
So we write this book. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we`re going to make it translatable to a mass audience, and what we`re getting so far in terms of the response we`re getting from readers is it is understandable. They can follow it. They can track it, and it gives them a sense of some comfort and optimism. It`s fundamentally a very optimistic book.
LAMB: But in the end, you actually probably reach more people through "Esquire" magazine than you do through the book sales, right?
BARNETT: Well, it`s hard to say. "Esquire" is big. I mean, I hope the book will reach a large audience, and GP Putnam & Sons certainly helps. I mean, they`re not in this business to produce copies that only the elite read, or even worse, one of those books that everybody talks about but nobody actually reads. They want to push this as a book the average citizens can read that will give them a sense of empowerment with regard to how they can interpret, you know, all these buzz phrases, all this global war on terrorism.
LAMB: George Bush.
BARNETT: George Bush. You know, what I basically say in the book is, I think the way to think of him historically is much like -- not a Woodrow Wilson, certainly not a Ronald Reagan, and certainly not some sort of reaction to his dad.
The way I look at it, George Bush is, I say he`s very much like a Harry Truman. He`s at a point much like after the second world war, where we`re confronting what looks like a very different international security environment. One we haven`t seen before. And so he is in a very difficult spot of having to put together, in effect, a new national security vision, strategy, and a foreign policy establishment that supports that. OK?
And to build something that will outlive his presidency, to create strategic concepts that other administrations, Democrat and Republican, can pursue over time.
I try to deliver that in this book. I mean, I sell it quite openly as a successor to the Cold War strategy of containment. Like they did back then, define the bad areas in the world, the things that have to be contained, and try to shrink them over time. I`m doing the same thing here with this "Pentagon`s New Map."
LAMB: Do you find that what he did in Iraq was right?
BARNETT: I make the argument that if you want to deal with terrorism, I mean, there are like three ways you can deal with terrorism, roughly. You can put a firewall off of America as much as possible to keep it secure against bad things coming in from the outside. I don`t think you can stop bad things coming in from the outside. OK? So I think there are limits to that.
You can try to kill terrorists as quickly as possible. But my argument would be, they`re going to grow them faster than you can kill them.
I think what you have to do is you have to deny terrorists and terrorist networks the outcomes they seek. And I would argue that the outcomes they seek, like a bin Laden, is basically to take a chunk of humanity and disconnect it from the rest of the world, that they find so corrupt and pollutive in terms of its cultural influences.
So bin Laden, I would argue, historically is not unlike a Lenin and the Bolsheviks a century earlier, in a different era of globalization, who said, I am going to break off a chuck of humanity away from the capitalist world, and to do that, I have to find pre-capitalist societies, like a Russia, get in there early, hijack them from history, and take them down a different rule set path, where our rules are very different from your rules, and there`s going to be a lot of disconnect between our bloc and your bloc.
And when I see that kind of disconnectedness develop between large chunks of humanity, invariably they start looking at each other as enemies. And there`s danger, and there`s conflict, and there`s insecurity.
So when I see a bin Laden saying, in effect, I want to grab the Middle East and pull it out of the world because I think this globalizing world is going to destroy the Middle East that I know and love, and I refuse to see those cultural influences change a Saudi Arabia, or an Iraq or something like that, he`s trying to do the same thing that Lenin did a century earlier.
Now, how do you tie an Iraq situation into that? The only way you`re going to deny the terrorists the outcomes they seek in the Middle East is to connect the Middle East to the world. And the only way you can connect what is today a very poorly connected Middle East to the world -- basically, all they trade is oil and all they take in is money, and other than that they don`t really have much interaction with the outside world, compared to other regions. I mean, in terms of percentage of trade, the foreign direct investment it attracts, the travel, the communication networks. It is stunted in terms of connectivity. And getting more stunted over time, I would argue.
The only way you`re going to stop a bin Laden from trying to pull off what he`s going to try to pull off in the Middle East is to connect a Middle East faster than he can seek to disconnect a Middle East from the outside world.
Now, to do that you have to take out those entities or those agents within that security community there, which is very insecure, I would argue, who stand in the way of that.
And Saddam Hussein was a tremendous force of disconnectedness. He created insecurity throughout the region. He kept the Iraqi people tremendously disconnected from the outside world, so disconnected that when we took down Saddam there was almost a global mini boom in the satellite telephone industry, because that was the only way you could get a call out of Iraq, because there was almost, you know, no cell phone industry there. It was that amazingly disconnected.
So when we take down an Iraq and try to connect an Iraqi society to the outside world, we create, and I would argue what the Bush administration argues is, they seek to create a big bang, a transformative kind of moment that says, look, this is the connectivity that`s possible. We`re going to bring you into our world, and by bringing you into our world, we`re going to deny the outcomes that a bin Laden would seek, which is a very isolated, authoritarian rule for the Middle East, that probably has very, very little interaction with the outside world. And as a long-term pathway for that region, I see only danger and repression and terrorism coming out of it, just like we saw between us and the Soviets.
LAMB: So it was a good idea?
BARNETT: I think it`s a good idea. I think it`s a long term idea, and I think the way it was sold to the American public was probably not so good. And I think it reflects the fact that in effect, in the global community we don`t have a rule set, if I can use that term, we don`t have a rule set A to Z, you know, from the beginning to the end, that says this is how you process, rehabilitate a politically bankrupt state.
What`s an example of such a rule set? I would say we have one for economically bankrupt states. It`s called the International Monetary Fund`s sovereign debt, Chapter 11. OK? You can be Argentina and have a debt crisis. You will go into that IMF process at point A, come out at point Z; you`re rehabilitated, with no bias against you at that point.
We do not have one for processing a bad, politically bankrupt leadership that nobody wants, that everybody wants to see gone. OK? So the world wanted to see a Saddam Hussein gone, but we didn`t have a system for getting Iraq from A to Z. What we have is the U.N. Security Council that goes the first few steps by saying, we indict you with this resolution, we indict you with that resolution. Then they turn it over to who? There is no executive function in the international system that says, OK, I will act on those indictments, I will take him down for you. OK? We sort of have one called the U.S. military. But there, you only have a military that gets you to the point of the removal of power.
We don`t have an international organization or a rule set that says this is how we build your nation back up after we take down your leadership, and this is how we reintegrate you into the global community.
LAMB: Let me read a quote from your book, to see if you remember this quote. "Don`t those idiots in the White House realize they`re destroying the concept of deterrence? For heaven`s sakes, does this mean we`re supposed to attack China tomorrow because they have nukes and might use them against us?" Who said that?
BARNETT: My mother said that. My mother said that after she saw the speech, the historic speech where George Bush enunciated the concept of preemptive war as a new cornerstone of U.S. national security strategy. And what I say in response to that argument is that you have to understand, there is one rule set on security that exists within those globalized parts of the world. OK? That says, in effect, there is transparency among states in terms of security issues. There is collective security. There`s mutual assured destruction as a concept to avoid nuclear war among great powers.
That`s a fairly stable rule set. OK? There has been no war among great powers since we invented nuclear weapons well over half a century ago. OK?
None of that changes with this new enunciation of preemptive war, because that enunciation of this new concept of preemptive war has nothing to do with that functioning core of globalization. We`re not talking about China, we`re not talking about Russia, we`re not talking about any of the great powers with nuclear weapons going at it. What we are talking about are actors and rogue regimes inside those non-integrating parts, where the rule sets on security have not yet extended, where globalization hasn`t taken deep root. It`s in those situations where we don`t believe we can deter people, where the rule sets on mutual assured destruction and those kinds of things that keep us secure in our nuclear arsenals and strategic balances don`t apply.
So when Bush and this administration effectively enunciate the concept of preemptive war, what I say is, you got to understand, there are two different security rule sets. One that governs the part of the world that are integrating, and one that governs the part of the world that is not integrating. In effect, there is a lack of rule sets there. And in that more scary environment, I think it is reasonable to say if we find a Saddam Hussein or a Kim Jong Il or an al Qaeda and we don`t believe they can be deterred, it makes sense to preemptively wage war against them, if we suspect they`re getting weapons of mass destruction.
LAMB: Is your mother still in Wisconsin?
BARNETT: Yes, she is.
BARNETT: She lives in Boscobel.
LAMB: Where is that?
BARNETT: Small town, southwest Wisconsin. She has just published the third volume of her compendium, which examines the history of female protagonists in English and American mystery literature. She`s up for an Edgar later this week.
LAMB: What`s an Edgar?
BARNETT: An Edgar is the award for mystery writers.
LAMB: What does she do?
BARNETT: She has -- she met my dad in law school in the mid-1940s, after the second world war. My dad was in the Navy. She quit law school. Had nine children. At the end of nine children, worked in social services for about 20 years. Retired. Went back. Took her LSAT. Went back to law school in her 60s. Became a lawyer, had a career in that. Retired, and then started writing this great historical compendium examining the role of female protagonists in English and American mystery literature, which is almost kind of a "Lord of the Rings" breadth of work, and she`s up for several awards this year from the mystery writers and mystery fans of America.
LAMB: I take it she`s a Democrat.
BARNETT: She is very much a Democrat.
LAMB: And what about your father?
BARNETT: My father just passed away about a month ago.
LAMB: A month ago?
LAMB: How old was he?
BARNETT: He was 81. He was a small-town attorney for about 45 years. He was -- he was Atticus Finch.
LAMB: And he`s another Democrat?
BARNETT: Yes, he was. He was a Kennedy delegate. A lot of Republicans go on further back. His dad was a staunch Republican. Always blamed my mother for turning him into a Democrat. We joke inside my family, the seven siblings, as to which of us, as we get older, is kind of turning Republican.
And again, I tend to vote Democrat. I`m a registered Democrat. I don`t have any problem working with Republicans at all. I mean, my job as a government worker and working in the national security community is to make sure that America has the best possible defense. So I`m interested in George Bush succeeding, or Bill Clinton before him, or whoever follows George Bush, because I`m interested in America being secure.
LAMB: And your wife is a Democrat?
BARNETT: My wife is an ACLU, card-carrying member. She`s very much a Democrat.
LAMB: So by -- did they get mad at you for supplying this document here that -- it reinforces what George Bush is doing.
BARNETT: Well, there`s a certain amount of concern in my family that what I`m doing is helping reelect George Bush. But you know, I see that the challenge of explaining where we are in history and what we really need to accomplish in this global war on terrorism and how we need to link national security issues to a larger understanding of how the world works economically, and this process of globalization`s historical unfolding, I see all those things as far more important than whether George Bush gets a second term or not.
So, I see a lot of good things in this administration in terms of the responses they`ve made to change the Defense Department and to change national security strategy since 9/11. I think they`ve done a poor job of explaining that to people. I think they leave a lot of things unsaid. And so there is this fear of, where are you going exactly with this? How do we know, you know, what`s progress? Where`s the happy ending?
And so I want to see those holes filled. I want to offer that vision to America. I think it`s a tremendously optimistic vision. If it helps explain a Bush administration and makes it more amenable on that level and helps them get reelected, I don`t care one way or another.
LAMB: You tell us on a number of occasions in the book you`re a Catholic. Why is that important to know?
BARNETT: Well, I think it explains the focus on rules. The Catholic Church, very much a rule-bound sort of organization. There are rules for this and rules for that. And so I grew up in a Catholic grade school education, fundamentally interested in the rules. You know, how things work? What are the rules of thumb? What`s the conventional wisdom? What are the unspoken rules? What are the written down rules? If you master the rules, it`s mastering the system, it`s mastering the definitions of success.
So throughout my career, I`ve been very good at getting grades or promotions and those kinds of things throughout an academic research sort of a career, because throughout, I`ve been very careful and I`ve made a lot of effort to kind of figure out what the rules were everywhere I went, and to exploit those possibilities as much as possible.
So it`s been my outlook on rules that says, when you get to this point in history where things seemed like they`ve changed dramatically from a Cold War, where the rules were kind of clear and static for decades, a new situation -- DOD, the Defense Department, after the Cold War looked at the world and called it chaos. And I said no, that`s not good enough. We can`t explain the world as chaos. Because how am I going to know where to go with my troops? How am I going to know where to wage war or, you know, pursue peace? I mean, I can`t make any decisions on chaos. That just sounds like a strategy of no strategy.
So I`ve spent a career, almost a decade and a half, trying to figure out how the world works and how it makes sense to argue that America plays an important role in making that world work.
LAMB: You`re how old?
BARNETT: I`m 41.
LAMB: Daughter Emily got cancer.
BARNETT: When she was 2.
LAMB: How old is she now?
LAMB: What impact did that have on you?
BARNETT: Well, it impacted me a lot in the sense that, you know, I`ve come to Washington to be a political military analyst, to be a policy wonk of any sort. Fundamentally, it`s hard to be somebody as optimistic who promotes positive visions of the future because the Washington game is largely about tearing down other people`s ideas.
So the career I had up until she got cancer in 1994 was a fairly caustic, typical kind of -- I wrote negative reviews of other people`s concepts. I was a specialist as decrying why your policy, your plan, your proposal was desperately dangerous and should be stopped. I was adept at that sort of research and that sort of game.
When Emily has her cancer and it reorders your sense of priorities and what you want out of life. I decided at that point I was going to stop being somebody who wrote about why other people`s ideas were bad, and was going to start writing about a positive definition of a future, and why this positive vision was good. And so I stopped quoting other people, started quoting myself. I started -- stopped tearing down other people`s ideas and started building up my own.
And I got to a point in the work about two or three years after Emily`s cancer where I thought I can`t do anymore within the DOD community to understand how the world works in a larger sense. I have to -- I have to gain access to other people and other ideas.
And what the War College offered up in Newport was this unique research partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond trader firm, where they had asked the War College to come together with them and help think about the future of the world and how globalization and national security were coming together. That became the New Rules Sets Project that I had with Cantor Fitzgerald, and specifically with a retired four-star admiral, who was one of the senior people at that point in Cantor Fitzgerald, a guy named Bud Flanagan. And it was an amazing exploration of how the world worked, and it was in that process that I started to get a sense of the rules and started understanding there were more ways to look at China, for example, than to say this is a possible strategic competitor of the United States down the road, and we should plan war against the China. That there were other possibilities.
LAMB: Go back to the Cantor Fitzgerald. How many died in the World Trade Center?
BARNETT: Well, from Cantor Fitzgerald, I think it was upwards of -- somewhere between 650 and 700. About two-thirds of the people.
LAMB: Did you know any of them?
BARNETT: I knew quite a few of them. I mean, we did a series of workshops there. All of them were at World Trade -- World Trade Center 1, on the 107th floor, at Windows on the World restaurant. So we did a lot of planning at Cantor Fitzgerald. We met with the senior leaders there and did a lot of planning of the workshops and interpretations and analysis of the workshops. So I knew not only the people who worked at Cantor who were the stars, but I knew the people who were the security people and who cooked in the kitchen. And I mean, all the ordinary people that were there too.
And you know -- I was -- it was stunning to have all that tremendous loss of life. I don`t pretend to have anywhere near the loss of the people who actually worked there, because these were acquaintances and these were colleagues, and they meant a certain amount to me, but you know, I don`t -- I don`t pretend to have suffered as much as those people, by any measure.
LAMB: How many days had you been -- before you had been in the World Trade Center on September the 11th?
BARNETT: Been there two or three dozen times.
LAMB: But I mean, how soon before that happened had you been there?
BARNETT: Well, we met with some senior Cantor people about four days before the attacks, and I was set to meet -- I was going to be there probably on a Tuesday morning, probably about 8:30 in the morning, having breakfast with Bud Flanagan and Phil Ginsburg (ph), two of the senior people at Cantor that we worked with. Probably would have been sitting right there on the 105th floor about two weeks after 9/11. And it was just an accident, like it was for anybody who was there.
LAMB: But again, September 11 situation is a need for a new rule set?
BARNETT: Yeah. I mean, Emily`s cancer was sort of a need for a new rule set in my family. It reordered my life, my definition of what was good and worthy in my life, and I think 9/11 was sort of the same sort of shock to the system for the U.S. political system, and the national security community. It sort of said, hey, here`s a new way of thinking about crisis and instability and threats in the world, and we have got to have new rules for dealing with this.
LAMB: Have we got them yet?
BARNETT: Well, I mean, you fly on a plane, do you think we have some new rules in terms of how you fly on a plane? Yes, there has been quite a few rules there. There`s been new rules regarding the nature of how we treat information in our society, the nature of privacy. We have new rules for what`s considered criminal behavior, terrorist behavior, un-American behavior. There has been a lot of new rules, I would argue, that were put upon the American public and the system since 9/11.
The Patriot Act is a new rule set, which scares some people and makes other people feel more secure.
The preemptive war concept is a new rule set. So we have created a ton of new rules since 9/11, and, you know, all those new rules are frightening to people, I would argue, because they`re different, they change behavior, they ask new things from us, and until you provide a vision that says this is why it makes sense, this is why it represents progress, here is how I can describe a better world in 10 or 15 years, that will come from these sacrifices, that will come from having your sons and daughters and husbands and wives, you know, engaged in these activities across the world -- because it is real sacrifice. And these are, you know, important people that we lose each and every time.
LAMB: In your book, talking about -- you have got a big book here talking about the Pentagon map and the future and rule sets. But on page 365, you start talking about raging debates, and you talk about the profession of television and the media.
LAMB: And you say: "I simply cannot watch most of these shows for more than a minute or two without sensing that my strategic IQ is dropping with each idiotic soundbite offered, often hurriedly, so lest the buzzer on the countdown clock drown them out. Most of these discussions focus on generating more questions than answers...
LAMB: ... because questions are what keeps you from tuning in, but the cumulative result of this flood of unanswered answers is a public that often feels overwhelmed by current international events, when simply put, we need not be." Television doing a disservice?
BARNETT: I think it is in many ways. I mean, a venue like this, where I can talk about a book for 25, 30, 45 minutes, or get a chance to do that on talk radio, I mean, you get a chance to discuss a complex book, complex material, a big vision that describes how the world works and where we need to go. I say, try to soundbite this book in 35 seconds in an explanation on of these countdown shows. It`s hard. Because what you get in that kind of tight timeframe environment, is you get people shouting at each, you know, basic phrases, and the focus is on the tactics of the day. How are we going to get out of Fallujah? How are we going to deal with the uprising in Basra? You know, what, how can we describe what happened in the last 24 hours? How can we describe what we`re going to do in the next 24 hours?
And the public needs that kind of reporting to a certain extent, but with 24-hour broadcast news networks, we also need to see a lot more discussion of the long-term strategy.
LAMB: You get inside the Pentagon, when you brief, and inside corporations when you brief, and have you ever briefed the Congress?
BARNETT: I have. I briefed Mac Thornberry`s group on the Hill.
LAMB: Do they sit...
BARNETT: And I briefed the House of Commons over in England.
LAMB: Do they sit still long enough to hear the point?
BARNETT: Absolutely. Absolutely.
LAMB: Would you say to the public, if they saw what goes on inside the Pentagon, with these hundreds of people devoted to analysis and strategic planning, that people are going through these issues?
BARNETT: They are. They`re thinking very strategically. But you know what? The material that`s developed there that drives a lot of these decisions creates these situations where people say, how did this happen? And you get these tell-all memoirs that we`re flooded with now, what did they know and when did they know it? All backwards looking, all focused on details. Nobody looking to the forward. I mean, that`s where this kind of book, I think, play a certain unique role, because it says let me take you inside those rooms, let me show you how these long-range strategizing sessions unfold. Let me show you the contents that`s involved and how they impact decisions that you think are controlled by, you know, unnamed forces.
LAMB: For instance, you go way out in the future, like 2025, where you say we might need an Asian NATO?
BARNETT: Absolutely. And that`s one of the reasons why I wanted to take down a Kim Jong Il. Because I see, for example, right now, a plan within the Pentagon that`s been recently publicized in "The New York Times" to create a missile shield to deal with the threat coming from North Korea. It would protect Japan. South Korea doesn`t even want to be involved. It would protect Singapore and others.
LAMB: Good idea?
BARNETT: Well, they say it`s about North Korea. What anybody who looks at this picture notices automatically is China is on the other side of that line too. And they will say what this is really about -- unless you believe Kim Jong Il has a very long future -- it`s about creating some sort of deterrence or shield from Chinese missiles.
LAMB: General Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex.
BARNETT: And driving policy. Right.
LAMB: We have $450 and above billion defense budget.
LAMB: Is it enough?
BARNETT: I think it`s more than enough. I mean, if all you want to do is defend this country, I can defend the country for about $100 billion. If we`re spending $400 billion, we`re doing something besides defending this country. And my argument is, what we`re doing is we`re exporting security around the planet and making the world a more better and stable place.
LAMB: Good idea?
BARNETT: I think it`s a very good idea, because I think we`re the only country that can actually pull it off. And that when we do that, we create peace and prosperity that benefits us in a tremendous way.
LAMB: Shouldn`t some of the others -- I didn`t mean to interrupt -- but shouldn`t some of the others pay for this?
BARNETT: That`s the question I was going to make -- that was the point I was going to make.
They do already. OK? We float $130, $140 billion in treasury bonds, first quarter of 2003. Four-fifths of that money was bought by foreigners. Guess who the two biggest buyers were? Japan and China. OK? That`s a transaction. When I accuse this administration of waging war within the context of war and not explaining war within the context of everything else, that`s what gets you a charge of unilateralism. Did we wage war unilaterally in Iraq? Well, if you don`t count who paid for that war, then I guess we did. But if you count who pays for it, then you understand that that`s a transaction. And if you don`t make China and Japan happy with that transaction, they`re going to stop buying that service, called U.S. military and military interventions.
LAMB: Did you ever have people like Paul Wolfowitz or, to jump to the political side, Karl Rove call you up and say, go Tom go, we love what you`re saying?
BARNETT: Well, I don`t -- I don`t operate at that level, and I try not to operate on that level on some level -- in most instances, because once you get up into that level, then you get caught up into the political debates, and it`s hard to have a vision that could be apolitical, or as "Esquire" likes to call it, maddeningly apolitical. It`s hard to tell, unless I reveal it to you, whether I`m a Democrat or Republican, because I make arguments that seem to fit both camps.
I try to stay out of that Paul Wolfowitz/Karl Rove kind of level, because once you get caught up in it -- it`s -- you get politicized. And I prefer to be operating on a level where I`m talking to the captains and the colonels in the militaries, the guys who are going to run this military 10 years from now, because if I capture them, I capture the future.
LAMB: On the cover of the book, it says Thomas P.M. Barnett. Before we close out, what does P.M. stand for?
BARNETT: My mother named my Thomas Patrick Barnett. When I took my wife in marriage, she said if I`m taking your last name, you`re taking my last name. I said I`ll fit it between my middle name and my last name. So M stands for Moisley (ph), my wife`s maiden name.
LAMB: Here is the cover of the book. It`s called "The Pentagon`s New Map: War and Peace in the 21st Century." Thomas Barnett, our guest, and we thank you very much.
BARNETT: Thanks for having me, sir.
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