A Post-Modern Nimrod

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u201CThe
peasants of the Old World tell a remarkably uniform tale of
a mad hunter from the North and East who claimed to rule the
world in the insane conviction that he had conquered God with
his arrow. Such… was the archaic and mysterious Nimrod, the
mighty hunter of the steppes, who shot an arrow into the sky…
and when a shower of blood ensued believed he had conquered
God and won for himself the universal kingship. The story
is based on a genuine hunting ritual of great antiquity, but
the literary reports all chill with horror at the thought
of a man who first turned his arrows from the hunting of beasts
to become u2018a hunter of men,' who founded the first great state,
invented organized warfare, and u2018made all people rebellious
against God.'u201D

[1]

Ancient
literati may have quailed at the Nimrodian program, but contemporary
spokesmen for power are made of sterner stuff. Thomas P. M.
Barnett of the U.S. Naval War College is one such: a sort
of Midwestern Oswald Spengler, keen to throw Destiny's dice.
Barnett, whose program is revealed in his book, The
Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

(New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2002), was trained by only
the best Cold War liberals at Harvard, the school that gave
us napalm. He has been called a George F. Kennan for the new
century. He seems more a reduced James Burnham for a very
brief century.

Like
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, Barnett seems to have
a Self that is universal. It expresses the deepest needs and
wants of the very cosmos. Literary critic Quentin Anderson
notes, in passing, that Emerson may have u201Csimply carried on
the activity of being or becoming u2018Emerson'….u201D

[2]

In reading Thomas Barnett, one gets at times the impression
that his work is all about the activity of being or becoming
Barnett.

Barnett
is all things to all people. Given competing visions, he can
affirm them all, as long as they are imperial and grand. He
is bipartisan and non-sectarian. He believes that once his
sheer clarity and strategic genius hit home, all Presidents
and administrations of whatever party will carry out his program
forevermore.

Barnett's
now famous
map
is the conceptual
center
of his book. His vision is more and more cited,
and he may have created a following. This means big trouble,
as we shall see.

[3]

In addition, Barnett means to create a new language whose
very framing will force those who buy it to accept his grandiose
prescriptions for u201Ca future worth creatingu201D (The
Pentagon's New Map, p. 5, his italics). The effect is
somewhat like having Oliver Cromwell come back as a motivational
speaker, who then divides his time between Pentagon briefings,
Rotary Club meetings, and doing commentary on Fox News.

Barnett
is not, of course, the only man with a plan just now. Joseph
Nye, dean of the nicer liberal imperialists, has repackaged
u201Csoft power,u201D Walter Russell Mead wants balanced and nuanced
US world rule, and even Harlan u201CShock and Aweu201D Ullman has
a manifesto out, although he speaks mainly in military terms.
Barnett seems more dangerous than the others, however, because
he has catchier phrasing, trendier slogans, bolder strokes
of simplification, and always, his map.

THE
ARGUMENT UNFOLDS

Working
amidst u201Chard, or physical, scientists,u201D Barnett writes, he
u201Cwas forced to introduce a lot more rigor into [his] thinkingu201D
and to develop u201Creproducibleu201D concepts grounded, apparently,
on u201Creal-world statistics.u201D The notions thus derived can be
u201Creplicate[d]… in mind after mindu201D (p. 19).

The latter
proposition seems, in this case, most unfortunate.

Barnett
doesn't want to make war against a mere tactic — u201Cterrorismu201D
— he wants to crusade against his own abstraction, u201Cdisconnectedness,u201D
in behalf of another one: u201Cconnectedness.u201D This may be the
first u201Cwaru201D fought for-and-against verbal nouns. Along the
way, globalization becomes so reified that it u201Chas
a pastu201D and, evidently, a great future. A great deal can and
must be sacrificed, it seems, to a particular reading of this
(by now) irritating construct.

Thus:
u201CWhether we realize it or not, America serves as the ideological
wellspring for globalization. These united states still stand as its first concrete expression. We are
the only country in the world purposely built around the ideals
that animate globalization's advance: freedom of choice, freedom
of movement, freedom of expression. We are connectivity personified.
Globalization is this county's gift to history…. More important,
to abandon globalization's future to those violent forces
hell-bent on keeping the world divided between the connected
and the disconnected is to admit that we no longer hold these
truths to be self-evident: that all are created equal,
and that all desire life, liberty, and a chance to
pursue happiness. In short, we the people needs to become we the planetu201D (p. 50, his italics).

Emerson,
Whitman, Father Abraham, the St. Louis Hegelians, Woodrow
Wilson, and many others will turn in their graves, if we fail
to impose this vision on the world.

Next,
Barnett opens up his half Marxist/half neoclassical jug of
economic moonshine. Whichever it is, it is determinist — with
no human actors to be seen, just vast impersonal forces (so
to speak) — with problems built into the market economy at
the ground floor (p. 51). You and I just knock around somewhere
on an indifference curve with disaster looming, and wait for
just the right institutions and u201Crule setsu201D in the form of
big government to save us.

Human
beings do reappear, but mainly as u201Cbad actorsu201D and heroic
(US and allied) rule enforcers. All this has brought us to
the notion of u201Crule setsu201D (pp. 9–10 and passim),
which Barnett deploys to refer to laws, agreements, rules
of warfare, and (most importantly) whatever it is that the
US just did and would like to justify.

u201CAmerica
can only increase its security when it extends connectivity,u201D
globalization, and the lot. u201CIt is not enough for the Core
to survive. It must growu201D (p. 56). The u201CCoreu201D refers, of course,
to those advanced industrialized nations who play by the same
rules, roughly North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New
Zealand, and a few others. u201CNew Coreu201D refers to China and
the East Asian u201Ctigers.u201D This leaves what Barnett calls u201Cthe
Gapu201D — the great sink of failure and despair, which Americans
must both fear and rehabilitate. Everywhere, we must u201Csellu201D
our u201Cnew rule sets,u201D lest u201Cother culturesu201D reject them u201Cas
reflecting an American biasu201D (p. 57).

Along
the way, we learn a bit more about Barnett, his career, his
power lunches, etc., than we would like to; but this need
not keep us. His critique of other Pentagon defense scenarios
is interesting (pp. 57 ff), but his sensible remarks concerning
the two (or 2 ) war scenario and a competing one involving
war with China, do not exactly compel intellectual assent
to his alternative. Soon enough, u201Casymmetrical warfareu201D appears,
giving the reader a justified fright, since u201Cthe sources of
mass violence have migrated downward, or from the state
to the individualu201D (p. 85). At the same time, we learn that
Good States have learned to compete economically rather than
militarily. Wars today are internal; they are civil wars and
separatist wars

Barnett
does not like separatists and exclusionists, with one exception.

Barnett
writes, that the US spent the 1990s u201Cbuying one type of military
while operating anotheru201D (p. 96). The US should have prepared
for dirty little wars. The fact that u201Casymmetrical warfareu201D
simply means that sometimes the wogs fight back, is lost in
the shuffle. Already in 1966, Carroll Quigley speculated,
that light defensive technologies might benefit weak states
vis–vis strong states, and revolutionary movements vis–vis
established orders.

[4]

Contemporary
wars of the Iraq I and II kind u201Care wars between the system
and renegade statesu201D or even u201Cnonstate actors and the system.u201D
The usual business now comes up, about u201Cfailed statesu201D which
are u201Cindirectly a source of threat to the United Statesu201D
(pp. 86–88). This represents our first meeting with one
of Barnett's characteristic postmodern inversions. Time was,
when we were said to be u201Cthreatenedu201D by hostile states;
now, it seems, the very absence of an effective state is as
great, or a greater, threat to us. It therefore behooves us
— along with the rest of the Core — to go around building
substitute states in these places, before their disorder spills
across their porous borders and injures us.

But,
as argued by political scientists Youssef Cohen, Brian R.
Brown, and A. F. K. Organski in 1981, a good many Third World
conflicts u201Care defensive in nature: they are all brought about
by the aggressive expansionism of the state,u201D especially where
u201Cstates are still involved in the primitive accumulation and
centralization of power resources.u201D These writers suggest
that, u201Cover a relatively long period of time state expansion
will generate violent conflictu201D and thus u201Cit is the progression
toward greater order itself that produces much of the relatively
greater violence we find in new states.u201D They conclude that,
u201Cthe evidence strongly suggests that the rate of economic
development is related to both the rate of state expansion
and collective violence in a way that runs contrary to the
way postulated by the dominant view on such matters.u201D Further,
u201Cstate expansion seems to produce much more violence than
economic growth…. Rather than state expansion being an antidote
for the violence produced by economic modernization, our rather
limited evidence shows that it is economic modernization which
is the antidote to the violence produced by state expansion.u201D

[5]

Barnett
recounts how 9/11 ended idle speculation about war with China,
and how his map of doom – already worked out, he tells
us, by 1996 — came into its own (pp. 105 ff). And what do
we get from this map? We get an inverted core-periphery analysis,
which in effect accepts the description of the world put forward
by socialist historians Immanuel Wallerstein and L. S. Stavrianos.
Indeed, the result looks quite a lot like a map of 19th-century
European colonial empires, with a few additions and subtractions.
Odd, that these places are still troublesome after all the
efforts made to civilize them. Odd, too, that these places
have a rough correspondence with known world oil reserves.

Barnett's
map and matching ideology do not, he says, amount to an imperial
vision. The United States is not an empire. After all, would
an empire have u201Cbeggedu201D contemptible u201Clittleu201D UN members
to permit it to go to war? (p. 119). The obvious answer is,
that an empire would do that, if it wanted borrow legitimacy
from an institution it had invented in an earlier phase of
imperial planning.

For Barnett,
it is not about empire; it is all about globalization: u201CKnowing
where globalization begins and ends essentially defines the
U.S. military's expeditionary theater,u201D he writes. Globalize,
and u201Cthe world will reshape your future far more than you
can possibly hope to influence the world in returnu201D (pp. 121–122).
This sounds a bit like Marx on u201Calienatedu201D labor, but no matter.

America
must lead the battle for globalization. After some u201Chard compromisesu201D
Americans hardly recall (like the u201CCivil Waru201D!), u201Cwe have
become — a multicultural free-market economy whose minimal
rule sets (telling us what we cannot do, not what we must
do) allow for maximum individual freedom to go where we
want, live where we want, and conduct our lives how we wantu201D
(p. 123, my italics). This is our u201Cexperimentu201D; and it qualifies
the US as world savior and final court of appeal. A u201Cnew security
contract between America and the rest of the worldu201D has arisen,
so that, now, u201Cu2018homeland defense'u201D is the same as u201Cu2018Core security'u201D
(p. 142).

Noting
increased US intervention after the Soviet collapse, Barnett
brags that u201Cthe U.S. military is the only force in the world
capable of traveling long distances and actually doing something
significant once it gets thereu201D (p. 149).

And some
of us had thought it was Fed-Ex!

The map
of these interventions revealed u201Ca shape… encompassing the
Caribbean Rim, the Andes portion of South America, virtually
all of Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the
Middle East, and most of Southeast Asiau201D (p. 149). Barnett
faults the Bush administration for not having grasped the
whole Core-Gap idea as yet (p. 156).

So
the gist of everything in the context of everything else,
is just this: The peaceful industrial democracies of the
Core, led by (guess which) trigger-happy Super Power, will
bring the New Core up to civilized speed, while suitably bombing,
invading, occupying, and assisting the Gap, until everyone
enjoys FDR's various freedoms and peace and plenty reign everywhere.
An honest day's work to be sure, but u201Cweu201D are up to it, armed
with our usual can-do, know-how, Yankee restlessness, and
the new map.

RACE
CARD PLAYED

Barnett
pulls more arrows from his quiver as he goes. He derides terrible
liberal-left hysterics who worry that his plans amount to
u201Cu2018perpetual war.'u201D Cynics, he says, u201Cblame the Gap for its
own problems….u201D Salonfhig right-wingers say the project
is just too big to do, while bad right-wingers u201Cadvocate a
sort of civilizational apartheidu201D for the Gap and u201Cprefer
segregationu201D — so they are just like Osama bin Laden. (pp.
159–160).

One has
to admire such a deft playing of the race card in such a cause.
Barnett takes on the persona of a universal Earl Warren deciding
Brown v. Board of Education for the world. Will the forced
busing be inter-oceanic? We begin to see that Barnett has
no sense of where state coercion occurs or what it
is. Apparently, there is never anything like coercion inside
nice liberal Core states.

DEMOCRATIC
PEACE DIMLY SHADOWED

Under
the slogan u201Cshrink the Gap,u201D Barnett contrasts the u201CHobbesianu201D
Gap with the u201CKantianu201D Core and its u201Cperpetual peace.u201D The
Gap is u201Cless free, on averageu201D with low life expectancies
and a young population. Thirty-one of the thirty-six main
terrorist groups u201Coperate primarily inside the Gapu201D — although
here I suspect Barnett has spared us some historical details
and context (pp. 160–166).

This
is good stuff. Barnett is scaring stuffy old bourgeois aldermen
into funding midnight basketball so the ghetto won't get them.
He foretells u201Cthe Gap's progression [from] Hobbes to Locke
to Kant, or from conflict to rule sets to peace….u201D Three philosophers
for the price of one, and it will work wonderfully, provided
the absurd assumptions of the currently popular u201CDemocratic
Peaceu201D theory are true.

[6]

Leaving
aside the dubious Dim Peace business, there is another question
on hand: is democracy itself free of problems? Apparently
not, and this is precisely the thesis of a forthcoming book
by the historical sociologist Michael Mann. Focusing on ethnic
cleansing, he writes that u201Cmurderous cleansing is moving across
the world as the world modernizes and democratizes.u201D In a
passage rather unfavorable, ceteris paribus, to connectedness,
he writes: u201Cwe never find murderous cleansing among
rival ethnic groups who are u2018separate but equal.'… After all,
if South African apartheid had actually lived up to its own
ideology… involving u2018separate but equal' development between
the races, Africans would never have revolted. They revolted
against the fact that apartheid was a sham….u201D

[7]

Now,
if state building as such causes massive strife and
if compulsory connectedness within states under construction
does not guarantee tranquility, however democratic the states,
then an imperial crusade to impose democracy worldwide may
not be the royal — or even republican — road to eternal peace
and prosperity.

Nevertheless,
for Barnett, u201Cshrinking the Gapu201D reduces the danger to us
all: an admirable shakedown.

NEW
u2018RULE SETS' SUITABLE FOR EXPORT

America,
Barnett asserts, is u201Cintimately identified with a historical
process that some within the Gap fear will destroy the world
they know and love — and they are right to fear itu201D (p. 167).
I think we can second the motion. u201CAmericau201D — by which he
means the US federal regime, headquartered in the u201Cten miles
squareu201D — has been doing just that at home for some time.

After
1945, Barnett writes, the US, selflessly set up the existing
world economic order, i.e., embedded corporatism

[8]

(my term); and now the US must u201Cplay a similar system-administrator
role in the realm of international securityu201D (p. 168). And
here he begins unwinding his favorite analogy: US foreign
meddling as a kind of internal police work. After all, the
US u201Chas spent the last half century trying to extendu201D its
domestic u201Cinternal-security rule set around the planetu201D (p.
171).

Anyhow,
arms control is dead and future US intervention is all a matter
of where. The US will farm out some peacekeeping and social
service jobs to allies. There is no exit, ever (p. 173).

US diplomacy,
so to speak, will involve u201Cno negotiationu201D with a u201Cbad actor.u201D
No: u201Cyou simply keep ratcheting up your demands for compliance,
and when the regime cannot comply and cannot be provoked
into a precipitating action by your constantly growing military
pressure, you preemptu201D (p. 175, my italics). This used to
be called aggression, but why quibble? While Barnett presents
this proposed diplomatic style as wholly new, we have seen
it before, at Ft. Sumter, in the run-up to the Spanish American
War, in the months before Pearl Harbor, and in the planning
for Operation Northwoods.

[9]

Still,
setting it out so openly does make for a breath of cynically
fresh air, as do Barnett's variations on the theme that u201Cu2018might
makes right.'u201D Really, since Europe won't spend money on security,
u201CAmerica earns a certain right for unilateralism in the Gapu201D
and needs legal leeway (no war crimes for u201Cusu201D) in the Gap
(pp. 175–176). We shall return to Mr. Barnett's notion
of u201Clawu201D a bit later.

Warming
to his subject, Barnett writes that, in the good work of u201Cexporting
securityu201D the US will u201Cwant lots of small, Spartan-style facilities
dotting the Gap.u201D Further: u201Cwe are never leaving the Gap and
we are never u2018bringing our boys home'u201D (pp. 178–179).
u201Cu2018Disconnected defines danger,'u201D he says (p. 182).

Well,
that'll scare the bourgeoisie and make them hand over
their wallets.

It's
not about instability, he continues; it's about justice. After
all, the Cuban government seems perfectly stable, but
Barnett, for various reasons, wants to include Cuba in the
Gap. Nor is the Core-Gap business anti-Islamic, it's anti-fundamentalist,
and fundamentalism in the Gap u201Cis still mostly about external
networking…. Religion used to be like that in America, say
a hundred years ago or right up to the point when we created
a social welfare systemu201D (pp. 186–187). Well, thank God
for FDR.

u2018ECONOMIC'
DETERMINISM RESTATED

In the
interest of shoring up the foregoing, Barnett unleashes his
peculiar brand of economic determinism. Along the way, he
seems to assume all manner of state policies into the
economy and then attributes the results to economic activity
as such. It would seem, then, that the determinism is as
much political as u201Ceconomic,u201D but this is by the way. The
result is a sort of inverted Leninism.

u201CFour
flowsu201D are essential for the ongoing health of globalization,
according to Barnett. These are: immigrants from Gap to Core,
energy from the Gap to New Core (mainly China), money from
the Old Core to the New, and u201Csecurityu201D from Core to Gap.
He issues some prescriptions to make everything work (p. 192).

Europeans
must quit being u201Cxenophobicu201D and import millions of happy
workers, who can pay taxes to support failing welfare states;
and ditto for the terrible Japs. Why, if they imported all
the new folks they need, well, u201Cit wouldn't be Japan anymore;
that would be an entirely new country. I personally believe
that would be a better Japan….u201D (pp. 209–211).

Mr. Barnett
would like a different Japan. There is no arrogance
shortage when he is on duty. Can the Japanese be consulted,
or would that be an excess of democracy?

The key
to keeping the Four Flows going is, of course, the US, u201Cthe
honest brokeru201D wherever it goes: u201Cour security product is
a known commodity,u201D hence rising u201Cglobal demandu201D [!] for it.
Indeed, u201CU.S. security is the only public-sector export from
the Core to the Gap that matters….u201D This export makes it possible
for otherwise cowardly businessmen to engage in foreign direct
investment. To make globalization go, the US undertakes the
u201Crehabilitationu201D of the Gap: u201CWe are backfilling political
rule sets to realign them with economic rule sets that had
leaped aheadu201D (pp. 237–242).

Evidently,
if there were to be less investment here, and more investment
there, and if trade were to flow along somewhat different
routes than it does now, it would be the end of life as we
know it. It is the revolutionary destiny of the US to keep
trade going in the proper channels. It is worth a few score
wars, especially since we won't call them wars.

PERPETUAL
NOT-QUITE-WAR FOR PERPETUAL NOT-QUITE-PEACE

In pursuit
of the Single Approved Path to Prosperity, the US makes u201Cother
states feel more secure.u201D You bet. u201CSometimes exporting security
means training their future military leaders at our schools,
like the Naval War Collegeu201D (p. 231) — or, the School of the
Americas, one could add.

At a
time when a new strategic doctrine is born every week, Barnett
announces his preference for u201Cwar within the context of
everything elseu201D (p. 260, his italics). It is hard to
see what this can possibly mean. I suppose he is saying that
most strategies run aground because one or another u201Cvariableu201D
can't be controlled. Therefore, the solution is to
control all the key u201Cvariables.u201D Good luck.

Barnett
claims to have sold his vision to u201Cyounger officers, the
ones who will run this world in a decadeu201D – and the mask
of social concern seems to be slipping. But never mind, even
if younger officers will run the world in a decade, u201Cthe United
States Government [is] the greatest force for good the world
has ever knownu201D and u201Cthe U.S. military is the single greatest
instrument of that good as wellu201D (p. 270, my italics).

Barnett
spends a good part of his book reiterating how great and incomparable
the power of the US state and military is. The very Catholic
Lord Acton said something about power corrupting…. One might
therefore wonder whether or not all its enormous power might
deliver u201Cthe greatest force for goodu201D etc. into corruption.

Such
possibilities do not seem to trouble Barnett, and they will
probably not trouble his cadre of Decembrists, should he manage
to train one up: the Age of the Power-Point Napoleons lies
before us.

THE
FORCE FOR GOOD: APPLIED U.S. IDEALISM

So how
will the aspiring US praetorians accomplish their manifold
philanthropies? Barnett writes: u201Cwe are now waging wars on
individual bad actors throughout the Gap.u201D But if the US is
fighting individuals, how is it u201Cwaru201D – in the sense of Waco
and Ruby Ridge, perhaps?

One way
involves a typically American substitution of technology for
thinking: u201CWe will close on a standard of warfare where an
unmanned aerial vehicle operating on the other side of the
world can locate, identify, and kill a terrorist within eight
to nine minutes — all at the push of a button.u201D Poised thus
on the edge of utopia, u201Cwe can render organized mass violence
of all sorts essentially obsoleteu201D (p. 272). Comment is hardly
needed.

And so
we return to the beginning: u201Cto those who held broad lands…
the arrow was the high and holy symbol of possession; to those
who cultivated those lands it was u2018looked upon… as the appropriate
missile of the robber, or of one who lurks in ambush.' The
antithesis is complete: there is no understanding between
Abraham and Nimrod because each is sure the other is mad.u201D

[10]

Actually,
Barnett supplies suggestive evidence as to who is mad.

He describes
u201Cthe three-front waru201D — here, in between, and there — u201Cwhere
nothing is sacred and no one is ever absolutely safe.u201D To
fight back, the US must unleash a u201CSystem Perturbationu201D to
destroy the other side's u201Crule setsu201D (pp. 274–277).

Unhappily,
the US needs u201Ca new lexiconu201D so as to be understood (p. 287).
More integration of Gap and Core is needed, because u201Cdiminished
expectationsu201D drove 9/11 (pp. 284–285). And thus the
old domestic American liberal-sociological explanation for
crime goes global, as US military might bestrides the globe,
looking for u201Croot causes.u201D Sustaining and purifying the world
system, u201CAmerica will resume its historical role as the most
revolutionary force on the planetu201D (p. 294). The whole thing
begins to resemble Soviet propaganda, even if it lacks the
Soviets' intellectual seriousness.

THE
RIGHT HAND KNOWS WHAT THE LEFT HAND IS DOING

With
so much at stake, it quickly develops that we really need
two militaries: a u201CLeviathan forceu201D to blow up everything
in its path, albeit with much hailed u201Cprecision,u201D and a u201CSystem
Administrator forceu201D (hereafter: u201CSisyphusu201D [my suggestion])
to do the social work. This is the logical consequence of
insisting that the US welfare-warfare state be universalized
for the Good of All. Of course Barnett hates it when people
joke about the social work army. This is serious business,
after all, and indeed it is.

We have
the u201Crightu201D to rule because we invented globalization and
we do so, because u201Cwe can and because it is goodu201D (p. 301).
To conduct our worldwide philanthropies, the US military must
get back u201Cto its original roots,u201D (p. 302) which I imagine
involves Indian wars and burning Atlanta and Columbia and
shelling Charleston every so often.

u201CAmericau201D
— whatever that means to Barnett — becomes in effect, the
long-awaited World State, which will deal with u201Cbad individual
actorsu201D everywhere (p. 304, his italics). No child left behind,
no bad actor unbombed, and no soul unsaved.

Now comes
a dubious analogy from physics: owing to u201Csecurity deficits
in the Gap,u201D power vacuums arise, filled by u201Cbad actorsu201D
(p. 306). Note the interesting twist (another inversion)
on the old power vacuum argument. No longer do we fear that
some rival empire will step in (as in the Philippines); now
the horrific threat is that someone local will run a locality.
The war must go on, until all that is local, bad, and u201Cpastu201D
is stamped out by the universal and good. The future's ahead.

One is
reminded of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, whose
speech at Cooper Institute in November 1867 counted Indian
tribalism, feudalism, states rights, and German disunity on
the side of evil, and centralization, larger states, and Union
on the side of good.

[11]

Meanwhile,
the US government does well by u201Cexporting sovereign debt,u201D
i.e., swindling the world market with paper dollars worth
less and less, but u201Cthis seemingly unfair transactionu201D is
yet another US good deed because the US is exporting u201Csecurityu201D
in exchange for the paper (pp. 308–309). As the happy
process rocks along, u201Cthe Core gains the greatest military
contractor the world has ever seenu201D (p. 314) — and humanity
scales new heights in the long march from status to contract
to contractors.

The Two-Model
Army will keep humanity from flying apart into separateness,
segregation, apartheid, ethnic exclusivity, and the Horrors
of the Past. Sisyphus — the System Administrators – u201Cwill
export security nonthreateninglyu201D and u201Cbuild nations wielding
nonlethal technologies appropriate to the policing systems
they will generate as legacies to the succeeding political
orderu201D (p. 320). Naturally, u201Ctransparencyu201D is mentioned.

Sisyphus
u201Cwill be thoroughly multilateral, bureaucratically multilingual,
and able to coexist peacefully with any nongovernmental organization
or private voluntary organization on the scene.u201D Its bureaucrats
will be older, married, etc. u201CThe Leviathan force will remain
under military lawu201D but outside the jurisdiction of the International
Criminal Court. Presumably, it will have military music to
go along with the military u201Clawu201D — to steal a comparison first
made by Robert
Sherrill
. The Sisyphus u201Cwill not be bound by Posse Comitatus
restrictions on operating within the United States. It will
be a far more police-like force, connected to society and
always available for insertion into homeland security operationsu201D
(pp. 321–322).

The Sisyphuseans
will u201Cu2018serve and protect' both at home and overseas. To its
detractors, the System Administration force will be a u2018mobile
police state,' pure and simpleu201D but no, it will practice
u201CCore justiceu201D and all is well (p. 322). But this is not an
argument, and the Sisyphus does look like a mobile
police state.

And the
slow-motion American coup picks up speed.

Leviathan
will require u201CSpartan launching-pad bases around the Gap,u201D
but its forces u201Cwill largely surge from bases within the continental
United States to interventions overseasu201D (p. 324). Is this
the return of warriors-as-nomads?

[12]

The National
Guard will go into the Sisyphus, as will the recently created
Homeland Security Department (or Heimatsicherheitsbro)
(p. 325). I wonder what this will do for enlistments in the
Guardia Nacional? All in all, it is a strange fate
for what used to be the state militias to be hijacked as imperial
occupation forces.

Bear-hugging
u201Cthe future worth creating,u201D Barnett writes: u201CMy definition
of just wars is exceedingly simple: They must leave affected
societies more connected than we found them, with the potential
for self-driven connectivity either restored or left intactu201D
(p. 326).

Let us
rephrase this experimentally (we Americans are great experimenters):

u201CMy definition
of just bank robberies is exceedingly simple: They must leave
the smallest number of tellers and customers dead, while stimulating
local commerce via an imagined Keynesian multiplier effect,
once the money is spent in approved markets.u201D

Being
u201Cliberators, not mere protectors of the status quou201D gives
the u201CAmerican way of waru201D a u201Cmoral edgeu201D (p. 328), or certainly
a surplus of cant. u201COur wars need to expand the good, not
simply check the evil.u201D During the Cold War, we u201Clost track
of America's revolutionary story line, which sees us remaking
the world in our own image of freedom, connectivity, and the
rule of lawu201D (p. 329). Yes, we have met the Jacobins, and
they are us.

u201CWe simply
go after bad guys, using weapons with a real moral dimension,
such as smart bombsu201D and such extraordinary u201Cpower, armed
with moral principle should equal a real grand strategy.u201D
Thus: u201CWhen a Special Operations soldier laser-guides a bomb
into a bad guy's house, killing all inside, but sparing all
around, we are saying that America owns the consequences of
its wars.u201D This is, Barnett avers, a u201Cuniquely American
way of waru201D (pp. 330–331).

Certainly
it involves a uniquely American form of self-deception.
And u201Ckilling all inside, but sparing all aroundu201D suggests
that Barnett spends a bit too much time in the Old Testament.
That – or the US government is in fact God walking
on the earth.

There
are parallels, of course, to Barnett's embrace of permanent
frontier war:

u201CThe
prospect of a constant state of war on the Eastern border
filled him with satisfaction: it would he said, help build
a strong race and prevent Germany from sinking back into European
decadence…. Hitler's idea of u2018world domination' is not to
be understood as a permanent state of peace, but as a constant
state of war with the assurance of German pre-eminence: with
a number of small armies it would be possible to dominate
a large number of peoples permanently.u201D

[13]

Now let
us rephrase the above paragraph to suit the present case.
Mutatis mutandis, we have:

u201CThe
prospect of a constant state of peacekeeping by bombardment,
invasion, assassination, and social work filled Barnett with
satisfaction; it would he said (or implied), keep globalization
going, and give the decadent Europeans healthy outdoor work.
Barnett's idea of u2018world domination' is not to be understood
as a permanent state of peace or war (as understood in days
of yore), but as a constant state of postmodern war-and-peace-together-again
with the assurance of US pre-eminence: with a number of small
armies it would be possible to dominate a large number of
peoples permanently so as to bombard, uplift, and civilize
them.u201D

HOBBESIAN
UNDERPINNINGS

Barnett's
map-based educational project seems an impressive structure.
He has invoked the name of Hobbes to support his claim that
only the US can bring law and order to the Great Frontier.
Is this enough?

Belgian
jurist Frank van Dun writes:

The
idea that the state is a form of organized lawlessness is
a recurrent theme in liberal thought. It underlies the many
attempts to civilise or tame what Hobbes aptly called the
u2018Leviathan.' The aim is to institutionalise constitutional
checks and balances…. In other words, the liberal idea implies
that, at least in times of peace, the state should be controlled
according to law. In many ways, this constitutional approach
was very successful…. Nevertheless, constitutionalism was
more effective as a source of legitimacy than as a check on
the powers of the state. Liberals all too easily acquiesced
in the state's claim to represent or embody the law…. The
state, the institutionalised form of (preparedness for) lawless
war, came to be regarded as a necessary institution of lawful
peace.

Van Dun
adds: u201CTo the extent that liberals subscribed to this view
— and they did so en masse — they conceded the main
point of political ontology to the apologists of statism:
that war, not peace, is the normal or natural condition of
human life. This is perhaps the most basic axiom of
statism. It implies that there is no natural society, no u2018spontaneous
order' (as Hayek would say). Man plus man equals war. The
whole of the statist philosophy is contained in that simple
statement.u201D

[14]

To say
that security must precede law, is to say that law (or justice)
is the will of the stronger. On this point, I think we can
present Hobbes and Barnett with a Scottish verdict of u201Cnot
proven.u201D The political scientist Anthony de Jasay writes of
such Hobbesian models:

The
statist solution to satisfying the enabling conditions of
an economic order that is both beneficent and spontaneous,
is visibly defective. A weak state, especially one with no
stored-up reserves of legitimacy, lacks the wherewithal; it
has little taxing power to extort it; there can be no efficient
economy to extort it from, because the state has lacked the
wherewithal to provide the enforcing order that could make
it efficient. A strong state, supposing it is logically possible
prior to an efficient economy, could find the wherewithal;
but no reason is furnished why it would choose to refrain
from using its strength in ways that would probably be more
harmful to an efficient market than the much-dreaded mafia.
For cogent reasons, it is almost bound to invade and override
property rights instead of protecting them, to impose the
terms of contracts rather than to enforce those the parties
choose, to engage in ever more substantial redistribution
of wealth and income, for this is the logic of the incentives
under which states operate.u201D

[15]

It begins
to seem that Hobbesian states are as much impediments to,
and destroyers of, economic life as they are u201Cpreconditionsu201D
of it — if indeed they are that at all. From around 1500 A.D.,
modern, abstract bureaucratic states have treated pre-existing
social bodies and institutions as rivals to be forcibly overcome.
Social bodies outside the state have increasingly existed
on sufferance, their existence a concession of the
state.

Political
theorist David Gross summarizes the process:

u201CIn the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the state went on the
offensive against virtually every kind of intervening body
existing between the individual and the state itself…. Only
the public and private corporations, the communal guilds,
the local social groupings, and the numerous customary institutions
compatible with what the state saw as its higher raison
d'tat were sanctioned. Even though many of the intermediate
bodies were historically antecedent to the state, they had
to be legitimized by various governmental agencies in order
to have the right to continue operating.u201D

[16]

A certain
kind of u201Cindividualismu201D grew up alongside the all-embracing
state. Gross writes: u201COne of the principle assumptions of
the period around 1800 was that of the state as a liberator
of the individual. It was the state, after all, that was given
credit for freeing the individual from the dead-weight of
tradition, the individualist's chief bte noire.u201D

[17]

It is
not clear that the bargain was a very good one. Gross notes
some possible drawbacks, including a kind of u201Cindividualism
based on a convergence of the private ego and the will of
the state, an individualism that expressed itself in terms
of nationalistic or patriotic sentiments. The type of individualism
that took this route lost its merely personal character
and found in the nation the most solid foundation for a stable
identity. Paradoxically, this form of individualism fulfilled
its original, particularistic goals only by transcending and,
in a sense, universalizing them: the nation-state simply became
the self writ large.u201D

[18]

As states
colonized time via mass public education, they spread their
new gospel of freedom within – and only within – the
state. In their telling, Gross observes, u201Cprogress became
virtually synonymous with the growth of the centralized state,u201D
and the state became the demiurge of history, which u201Cdrives
and pushes the world forward to actualize its potential; if
it were not for the state as a catalyzing agent, history would
remain static, tradition-bound, and incomplete.u201D

[19]

This
is rather like Barnett's view of things, although he has,
it must be admitted, found the One True State, the One which
will complete the work of Spirit in History. Of course any
selves not grounded on identification with that state may
suffer. This will not matter, I suppose, because (to paraphrase
an old joke about Baptists) being a Hobbesian doesn't keep
you from sinning, but it does keep you from noticing it.

AN
EXCESS OF CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, HISTORICAL AND ECONOMIC

In presenting
what may seem to some a convincing system, Barnett benefits
from the general American ignorance of history. His own view
of history seems utterly conventional, and on this infirm
foundation he raises the mighty superstructure of his world-saving
project. Thus he writes: u201COur entire society was built by
people who refused to accept the old waysu201D (p. 151). This
could use a little refining.

In addition,
Barnett tends to assume the legitimacy and rightness of all
past US exercises in organized violence. He decries our failure
to lead the world after World War I by joining the League
of Nations (p. 195). He takes as given the whole u201Cdemocratic
peaceu201D theorem, which in practice operates as a rationalization
of past Anglo-American military successes.

Barnett's
chief methodological breakthrough consists of having everything
both ways. It is an important prop of his system. Thus, he
wants the tools, toys, and payoffs of military adventurism,
but shies away from the old social-militarist story in which
mass sacrifice of blood and treasure leads to social rebirth.
Instead, we shall sacrifice just the right amount of
our children and wealth, as determined (doubtless) by econometric
u201Cmodeling.u201D Otherwise, we shall go about our business protected,
warned, and supervised by a benign and minimally intrusive
police state. As he puts it: u201CIn my mind, if the Pentagon
does its job right, the rest of the country gets to go about
its business with as little change as possibleu201D (p. 53). This
calls to mind the classic British imperial posture of arrogant
complacency mixed with occasional bouts of hysteria about
losing some of the lads on the Northwest Frontier.

For the
tender-minded, Barnett can be the most sentimental bleeding-heart
liberal; for the tough, macho types, he offers thunderclaps
of TNT, bolts of righteous American lightening sent halfway
round the world.

As for
economics, Barnett sees the essential u201Ctransactionu201D within
the Core as a fair exchange of inflated US dollars for the
export of US security services. But where is the demonstrated
preference?

[20]

I, for one, will believe the proposition that this is
a market exchange, when the foreigners show up, gold in hand,
and sign a formal, written contract for X-amount of
security for X-amount of money, with details fully worked
out in the fine print. Short of that, Mr. Barnett's proposition
is of no more force than any other implicit u201Csocial contractsu201D
to which he may refer.

Further,
even if leaders of another state make a written agreement
with US leaders involving money and security, neither Barnett
nor anyone else can show that such an agreement bespeaks actual
u201Cconsentu201D or demonstrated preference of the citizenry of the
two states. All we know is that specific members of one ruling
class agreed on something with specific members of another
ruling class. This is hardly an u201Ceconomicu201D transaction or
the workings of a real market, by any stretch of the imagination.

As things
stand, US u201Coffersu201D of protection come, to one degree or another,
with an implied threat. It seems doubtful this should really
be termed the innocent u201Cu2018export' of U.S. security u2018services'
to regional u2018markets'…u201D (p. 198).

Historian
Thomas McCormick seems more realistic when he observes, that
u201C[t]he twin functions of the hegemon as global banker and
global policeman lead it to overinvest in multinational adventures
abroad and in military production at home. It becomes easier
and more profitable to live off one's overseas dividends and
rents (to become a rentier economy) and off state-subsidized
military contracts (to become a warfare economy) than to sustain
high investment levels in the civilian industrial sector….
Hegemony necessarily rests on both military and economic power,
and the dilemma facing a maturing hegemon is that it cannot
sustain both.u201D

[21]

US leaders
chose to do things this way; it is not obvious that
their decisions reasonably impose an obligation or exchange
on any states or peoples anywhere.

Barnett's
neo-mercantilism approaches Karl Polanyi's view, that markets
are unnatural and have to be imposed by states. This view
led Polanyi to oppose markets; it leads Barnett to espouse
force. Unify the world through bombing, etc., and markets
will follow.

Barnett
therefore reduces global economic activity to a set of slogans:
u201CLook for resourcesu201D; u201CNo stability, no marketsu201D; u201CNo growth,
no stabilityu201D; u201CNo resources, no growthu201D; u201CNo infrastructure,
no resourcesu201D; u201CNo money, no infrastructureu201D; u201CNo rules, no
moneyu201D; u201CNo security, no rulesu201D; u201CNo Leviathan, no securityu201D;
u201CNo will, no Leviathanu201D (pp. 198–204).

But these
notions are of little use precisely to the extent that they
fail conceptually to distinguish state coercion from market
exchange. It is one thing to say that rules – and broadly
speaking, law – are preconditions of trade; it is quite another
to say that only states can provide rules and law. It is even
less believable to be told that only a benevolent hegemonic
power can provide the rules — and a single version, at that – needed for the entire world.

Barnett's
view seems to be, u201CNo empire, no trade.u201D Yet trade has a way
of breaking out in unpredictable directions and the chief
business of states, for hundreds of years, has been to suppress,
restrain, or take revenue from traders.

[22]

The notion that the state is the indispensable friend
of trade needs some revising. Of course if trade must,
for some reason, only flow in certain approved channels, the
person holding such a view will want a hegemonic ordering
of the world, whatever the price.

And,
speaking of trade flowing in approved channels, Barnett complains
along the way, that wicked, wealthy Muslims u201Chold somewhere
in the range of one-fifth of a trillion dollars in personal
savings,u201D noting that u201C[i]nternational financial firms are
trying to figure out a way to unleash all that potential investment
power….u201D How dare these guys keep their own money! They are
clearly guilty of anti-Keynesian u201Choarding.u201D More international
regulation will be necessary.

Even
worse, informal Islamic banking is u201Cexploited by terrorist
groups because they leave no paper trail.u201D Barnett's fear
seems to be that, somewhere, something may be going unregulated.
A new u201Crule setu201D is needed! (pp. 218–219). We may chalk
it up to the war on liberty and privacy, here and abroad,
demanded by all those whose chief article of faith is u201Ctransparency.u201D

[23]

In the
same vein, Barnett decries the specter of the u201Ccrony capitalism
rifeu201D in Asia (p. 228). There is no crony capitalism in the
Core, of course, and the Chinese are slowly coming around
to our high standards. Actually, there is plenty of corporatism
in the Core, plenty of interpenetration of businesses and
states, but since it is not especially kinship-based, and
has no taint of Confucianism, it escapes the charge of crony
capitalism.

Western
corporatism, properly understood, is nothing but the loveliest
liberal pluralism. There is no room in Barnett's world for
any system of trade other than a neoliberal institutionalism
(embedded corporatism) u201Cthat emphasises an elaborate machinery
of inter-governmental cooperation.u201D Implicitly ruled out is
any notion of u201Cunilateral free trade… from belowu201D or u201Cliberalism
from belowu201D as championed, for example, by the classical liberal
economist Wilhelm Rpke.

[24]

This is rather unfortunate, since the latter vision does
not require — or justify — wars for commerce.

But,
by now, only the nave can really believe that u201Cglobalizationu201D
— as seen by its US promoters — is actually about trade.
What is being globalized is the bureaucratic state, US division.
This seems to have rather little to do with the old-school
free traders' goals of increased prosperity by way of voluntary
exchange.

LAW
AND JUSTICE, SKETCHED IN PENCIL FOR QUICK REVISION

To eliminate
crony capitalism, oppression, etc., Barnett proposes to inflict
the proper u201Crule setsu201D on the world. He seems to prefer this
rather lithe notion to u201Claw,u201D although u201Clawu201D is already seen
to be endlessly malleable in the saved and justified nations.
u201CThe fewer the rules you have, the more war you have,u201D he
writes (p. 23).

This
does not seem the least bit self-evident. It is not hard to
imagine having too many u201Crules,u201D and without further
consideration of the content of the rules, we are getting
nowhere.

Barnett
brags of our (American) u201Cfreedom of action within minimal
rule setsu201D p. (296). He has apparently never seen a complete
set of the US Federal Code, much less all the supplementary
administrative u201Clawu201D rulings and regulations. Elsewhere he
writes: u201CUntil there are equal rules, we are not all equalu201D
(p. 54, his italics). But again, the content of these
u201Cequalu201D may have some bearing on whether or not we have any
freedom.

u201CReal
freedom exists within defined rule sets,u201D says Barnett (p.
124), but alas for the long-run certainty of the law,

[25]

u201Cthe discussion of security rule sets is a never-ending
process, just as it is inside our country, where the Supreme
Court is constantly revising definitions of our most basic
legal principlesu201D (p. 178). His notion of law resembles that
of the apologist American Journal of International Law,
where US bombing of Stockholm, should it occur, would be said
to have generated a new customary u201Cruleu201D of international
u201Claw.u201D

If the
courts, among others, constantly u201Creviseu201D our u201Crule setsu201D
for us, then the laws are not very stable, are they?
So why obey the ever-shifting laws? Because they are right.
Why are they right? Because they're the law…. and so
on in a never-ending circular argument.

Barnett
shows an incurable, perhaps deliberate, and certainly fatuous
navet about easily ascertainable facts about US law, actually
existing American democracy, and the like. Thus u201Cour police
are permitted to use deadly force within our society: much
of the time they do it preemptively. Frankly, that's the ideal.
We want the bad guys stopped — if necessary, dead in their
tracks — before they can do someone great harm. That is an
amazingly difficult responsibility we impart to our police,
and our confidence in doing so is driven primarily by our
faith in the legal system….u201D (p. 171).

Our u201Cfaith
in the legal systemu201D is not up to the job Barnett gives it,
especially since he has told us, a few pages on, that the
u201Clawu201D is being made up from day to day.

Taking
his domestic police model into the wider world, Barnett writes:
u201CCIA operatives steering their own unmanned aerial vehicles
now have the okay to conduct assassinations of terrorist targets
upon sighting…. That is a new rule setu201D (p. 268, my
italics). On the contrary, it is at best something that state
apparatchiks might get away with.

Of his
Leviathan force, he writes: u201CLike the SWAT team within any
metropolitan police force, it will enter and exit crime
scenes as dictated by circumstancesu201D (p. 323, my italics).
Post-moderns like to tell us about the ambiguity of language,
and I can't help asking whether, when the Leviathans u201Center
and exit crime scenes,u201D these will be scenes of their own
crimes, or will the crimes be someone else's?

(u201CDamn,
Sarge. We leveled the wrong house! Can't youse guys read street
numbers?u201D)

Barnett's
working model for US foreign policy is a drug bust gone more
wrong than usual, and the u201Cusualu201D is not a terribly high standard.

So the
u201Clawu201D changes to meet the needs of policy, the SWAT teams,
at home and abroad, enforce the u201Claw,u201D and u201Cyounger officers…
will run this world in a decadeu201D anyway: not a very inspiring
future, all in all, especially in the context of Barnet’s
comments on might making right and, supposedly, right making
might (pp. 310, 315).

At this
point, there being no stable notion of law, we might fall
back, I suppose, on a vague notion of justice, on some minimal
kind of morality. But we are denied even this, since the Official
Morality on offer, much like Jacobin, Bolshevik and National-Socialist
morality, looks to be largely instrumental to the success
of an historical project. Where it is not a tool, it is merely
decorative. With no law and no morality, we are swept toward
the flinty New England rocks of US u201Cidealism,u201D to be dashed
to ideological bits.

Barnett
sings hymns of praise to the US Government and the radiant
new world it can create (pp. 287–288). The US cared
about Iraq's future, bless our hearts. Like any welfare-warfare
state ideologue, Barnett plays the u201Csufferingu201D card well;
whether he plays it sincerely or tactically, we cannot know.

America
is caring, Barnett writes, u201Cbecause we are a nation built
on universal ideals of freedom and equality, not limited to
definitions of ethnic identity or u2018sacred land'u201D (p. 301)
— the latter point entailing, of course, the usual exception
for our Heroic Ally in the Middle East. For some reason, the
US needs to create greater disconnectedness in Palestine…
(p. 293).

AMERICA'S
COSMIC SALVATIONAL MISSION

Having
exhausted law as a believable basis for Barnett's u201Crule
sets,u201D we find ourselves back in the territory of u201Cthe greatest
force for goodu201D etc., that is, we find ourselves dealing with
US u201Cidealism.u201D As Barnett writes, in an outburst of US egotism:
we have u201Creligious freedom, political expression, the right
to own propertyu201D (my personal favorite) and we u201Chave long
debated whether our good fortune imparts to us special obligation
to share this dream with others….u201D (p. 295). The US only seeks
to extend u201Cour rulesu201D because they work so well and
because we are so wonderful; u201Cit is our liberty road show.u201D
He adds: u201CWhat is sacred about America is not our land, but
our union, and our union can and should be extended — first
through collective security, then economic connectivity, and
finally political community.u201D To do less is to shut the poor
Disconnected everywhere out of the Radiant Future; it is to
adopt an u201Cexclusionary ideologyu201D (pp. 296–297, his italics)
– and of course every good American knows that discrimination
is always and everywhere wrong.

The goodness
of the future and the evil of the past recall how Emerson's
u201Cmingling of the immediate and the prospective murders time
and kidnaps ideals, originally nursed in the manifold culture,
into the imperium of the self.u201D

[26]

But even if the future is ahead, and ineffably Good,
why is bringing it into being our (that is, Americans')
burden? One answer might be u201Cliberal guilt,u201D as explained
by James Burnham:

u201CThe
guilt of the liberal causes him to feel obligated to try to
do something about any and every social problem; to
cure every social evil…. the liberal must try to cure the
evil even if he has no knowledge of the suitable medicine
or, for that matter, of the nature of the disease; he must
do something about the social problem even when there
is no objective reason to believe that what he does can solve
the problem — when, in fact, it may well aggravate the problem
instead of solving it. u2018We cannot stand idly by while the
world rushes to destruction… or women and children are starving…
or able men walk the streets without jobs… or the air becomes
polluted… or Negroes can't vote in Zenith… or immigrants live
in rat-infested slums… or youngsters don't get a decent education…'
or whatever. The harassed liberal is relentlessly driven by
his Eumenidean guilt.u201D

[27]

Burnham
adds: u201CWithin the universe of liberalism there is no point
at which the spirit can come to rest; nowhere and no moment
for the soul to say: in His Will is our peace.u201D

[28]

Whether
Barnett himself feels liberal guilt is perhaps beside the
point; he is more than ready to use it as part of his case.
And now we are back on the familiar ground of American political
theology, with its Protestant and post-Protestant varieties
well tangled together in a great mental thicket. There is,
for example, Barnett's rather Emersonian claim, that by getting
wholly rid of the Gap, we u201Cmake the self all-inclusiveu201D (pp. 297–298). Richard M. Weaver wrote of
Emerson: u201CWhen we meet in actual life a person whose conduct
seems to say, u2018What I am doing is the right thing because
I am the one who is doing it,' we set it down as arrant egotism.
But what are we to say when we encounter the same idea shored
up by philosophical speculation and claiming some authority
from mystical intuition?u201D

[29]

And what,
indeed, are we to think when the mere identity of those
doing something is proposed as proof of its rightfulness,
and this is made the basis of an entire foreign policy? We
find ourselves face to face with that Protestant zany, Samuel
D. Baldwin, whose book, Armageddon, or the Overthrow of
Romanism and Monarchy; the Existence of the United States
Foretold in the Bible, Its Future Greatness; Invasion by Allied
Europe; Annihilation of Monarchy; Expansion into the Millennial
Republic, and Its Dominion Over the Whole World (Cincinnati:
Applegate & Company, 1854), already tells the story in
its title.

In
addition, a more or less secularized utopian republicanism
has long added to the heady brew on which Barnett and other
crusaders can draw. Thus John Adams, u201Cconservativeu201D as he
is said to have been, wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1813: u201COur
pure, virtuous, public-spirited, federative republic will
last forever, govern the globe, and introduce the perfection
of man.u201D

[30]

One begins
to wonder if Barnett, actually believes in these longstanding
American utopian phantasms, which arise (mainly) from a specific
kind of Anglo-American Protestantism. But perhaps religious
u201Cdenominationu201D doesn't matter too much, when the object of
one's worship turns out to be the world's most successful
state apparatus.

Barnett's
theses serve to deepen the conviction that US foreign policy
— in its more doctrinal moments — involves the projection
of American religious manias and deep historical traumas onto
the world. As historian William Appleman Williams observes,
Puritans u201Cexternalized Evil, thus making it an object to be
overpowered rather than an internal, human weakness to be
contained until transformed…. This propensity to place Evil
outside their system not only distorted the Puritans' own
doctrine, it inclined them toward a solution which involved
the extension of their system over others.u201D

[31]

The historian
Ernest Tuveson writes: u201CIf history is theodicy, if redemption
is historical as well as individual, if evil is to be finally
and decisively bound through great conflicts, God must operate
through cohesive bodies of men; there must be children of
light and children of darkness geographically, and
the City of God and the City of the World should be susceptible
of being designated on maps.u201D

[32]

Barnett wishes to provide such a map, although I would
not trust him any further than I would a dyslexic Church Father
who sought to distinguish the City of Dog from the City of
Nam.

Barnett
has somehow exempted Americans, and especially the overgrown
state that so kindly watches over their every activity, from
any possibility of sin, original or otherwise. Original sin
is gone from the Core — mostly – because all the sin has been
shoveled into the Gap, or at least into the concept
of the Gap. Like the mainstream, u201Cliberalu201D Protestant clergy
who just couldn't get enough of World War I,

[33]

Barnett is keen on bringing about the Kingdom of God
on Earth, no matter the costs.

Such
a program of salvation-within-the-world, which refuses the
modest goal of improving things as we go, calls to mind modern
political Gnosticism, as studied by Eric Voegelin, with its
u201Ctotalu201D projects in which all must participate and for the
achievement of which no expenditure of force and treasure
can be too great.

[34]

Such cosmic, ideological commitments undercut Barnett’s
posture of cold-blooded, mathematical rationalism, if he believes
in them; if he does not, he begins to seem very cynical indeed.

AN
IDEOLOGY OF IMPERIAL RIGHTEOUSNESS

Barnett
also rediscovers, implicitly, a doctrine favored by any great
empire, namely: u201Cthe claim that it alone possesses authority,
imperium, over the peoples of the world.u201D Along with
this claim comes u201Cthe pretension to universality and uniqueness.u201D
History itself has willed the empire, and therefore u201Cit owns,
or ought to own, the present; and being established eternally
the future belongs to it.u201D Finally, u201Cthere are no legitimate
alternatives to oppose its claim.u201D

[35]

Gnostic
or otherwise, Barnett's rhetorical strategy has traces of
malign genius. He redefines geopolitical space, so that all
those places Americans thought were u201Coutsideu201D and u201Cforeignu201D
become u201Cinsideu201D and u201Cinternal.u201D Thus all our forward bases
and excessive, unthinking firepower will point inward,
into failed places with bad actors, individual subjects
who somehow got u201Cinsideu201D our big new global townhouse, like
rats or roaches in the carport.

Describing
a political dualism of the ancient world, Hugh Nibley writes:
u201CHighly characteristic of the hierocentric doctrine is an
utter abhorrence of all that lies outside the system. The
world inevitably falls into two parts, the heavenly kingdom
and the outer darkness, a world of monsters and abortions.
Whoever is not of the frithr [peace] is a nithung
[villain], without rights and without humanity. All who do
not willingly submit to Alexander or Constantine are, according
to Dio Chysostom and Eusebius, mad beasts to be hunted down
and exterminated. For the Romans, all the world is either
ager pacatus or ager hosticus, says Varrou201D

[36] – pacified space or hostile space.

What
Barnett has done, and done rather well, is to create the mirage
of a single, horrific threat to the civilized world: the Gap.
He does so by throwing an array of differing societies, states
(u201Cfailedu201D or not), cultures, and even religions, into a residual
category that gives things a false appearance of unity. Our
prospective enemies are united, apparently, by their very
disunity, disorganization, failure, u201Closerhood,u201D attachment
to the past, and so on. Hurricanes and fire ants, too, come
from the Gap, but Barnett has not mentioned them.

But there
exists a much more economical explanation for what little
u201Cunityu201D does exist across the so-called Gap. That explanation
very simply is that, for various reasons, the United States
messes with these places. That these peoples do not take to
being messed with is, for some, proof of their evil. It seems
only human.

As sociologist
Ian Roxborough noted in 2002, u201Crather than an u2018ideological'
or u2018religious' reaction to globalization, or a deep clash
of cultures, what we may be witnessing is a nationalist response
to American assertiveness in the world…. And these nationalist
rages are likely to be responses to quite specific actions
on the part of United States.u201D

[37]

It may
well be that a continued campaign against these societies,
whether under the Bush Doctrine or the Barnett Doctrine, will
create more of the very unity said to exist already. The cost/benefit
analysis of that future will be interesting to contemplate.
The real costs may be quite tragic, especially if policymakers
and public are alike bemused by the map bestowed upon us by
a terrible simplifier.

Notes

[1]

Hugh Nibley, u201CThe Arrow, the Hunter, and the State,u201D
Western Political Quarterly, 2, 3 (September 1949),
p. 338.

[2]

Quentin Anderson, Making
Americans: An Essay on Individualism and Money
(New
York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1992), p. 9.

[3]

See Karen Kwiatkowski, u201CNew
Map, Same Bad Destinations: A Review of The Pentagon's
New Map
u201D (June 7, 2004).

[4]

Carroll Quigley, Tragedy
and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time
(New
York: Macmillan, 1966), pp. 1207 ff.

[5]

Youssef Cohen, Brian R. Brown, and A. F. K. Organski,
u201CThe Paradoxical Nature of State Making: The Violent Creation
of Order,u201D American Political Science Review, 75,
4 (December 1981), pp. 904, 907–909.

[6]

See, for example, Christopher Layne, u201CKant or Cant:
The Myth of the Democratic Peace,u201D International Security,
19, 2 (Autumn 1994), pp. 5–49; Ido Oren, u201CThe Subjectivity
of Democratic Peace,u201D International Security, 20,
2 (1995), pp. 147–184; Joanne Gowa, u201CDemocratic States
and International Disputes,u201D International Organization,
49, 3 (Summer 1995), pp. 51–522, and Gerard Radnitzky,
u201CIs Democracy More Peaceful than Other Forms of Government?u201D,
in Hans-Hermann Hoppe, ed., The
Myth of National Defense
(Auburn, AL: Ludwig von
Mises Institute, 2003), pp. 145–212.

[7]

Michael Mann, The
Dark-Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing

(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004), Ch. 1,
pp. 5, 7. The book is due out in November. And see Ch.
5
). See also Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy:
The God that Failed
(New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction
Publishers, 2001) and Gordon Graham, The
Case Against the Democratic State
(Charlottesville,
VA: Imprint Academic, 2002).

[8]

On the supra-national coordination of corporatist economies,
as a substitute for genuine free trade, the gold standard,
etc., see John Gerard Ruggie, u201CInternational Regimes, Transactions,
and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic
Order,u201D International Organization, 36, 2 (Spring
1982), pp. 379–415.

[9]

On Operation Northwoods, see James Bamford, Body
of Secrets
(New York: Anchor Books, 2002), pp. 82–91.

[10]

Nibley, u201CArrow, Hunter, and State,u201D p. 343.

[11]

Charles Sumner, u201CAre We a Nation?u201D, in C. Edwards Lester,
Life and Public Services of Charles Sumner (New York: United States
Publishing Co., 1874), pp. 58–613.

[12]

See Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, Nomadology:
The War Machine
(New York: Semiotext(e), 1986),
a suggestive work, which unfortunately adds much postmodern
confusion to the subject. Hugh Nibley was a pioneer in this
field: see u201CThe Arrow, the Hunter, and the State,u201D pp. 328–344,
u201CThe Hierocentric State,u201D Western Political Quarterly,
4, 2 (1951), pp. 226–253, and u201CTenting, Toll, and Taxing,u201D
Western Political Quarterly, 19, 4 (1966), pp. 599–630.

[13]

Ernst Nolte, Three
Faces of Fascism: Action Franaise, Italian Fascism, National
Socialism
(New York: Mentor Books, 1969), pp. 516–517.

[14]

Frank van Dun, u201CPhilosophical Statism and the Illusions
of Citizenship: Reflections on the Neutral State,u201D in Boudewijn
Bouckaert, ed., Hayek
Revisited
(Cheltenham, UK: Locke Institute, 2000),
p. 94.

[15]

Anthony de Jasay, u201CThe Cart before the Horse,u201D in Contending
with Hayek: On Liberalism, Spontaneous Order and the Post-Communist
Societies in Transition
, Christoph Frei and Robert
Nef, eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 1994), pp. 55–56.

[16]

David Gross, u201CTemporality and the Modern State,u201D Theory
and Society, 14 (1985), pp. 62–63.

[17]

Gross, p. 64.

[18]

Ibid., p. 66 (my emphasis). Individual identification
with the State-Self seems to be the key to the sundry Emersonian
selves discussed by Barnett.

[19]

Ibid., pp. 69–71.

[20]

On u201Cdemonstratedu201D as opposed to u201Crevealed preference,u201D
see Murray N. Rothbard, u201CPraxeology, Value Judgments, and
Public Policy,u201D in The
Logic of Action
, I (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar,
1997), pp. 87–89, u201CToward a Reconstruction of Utility
and Welfare Economics,u201D ibid., pp. 211–254.

[21]

Thomas J. McCormick, u201CWorld Systems,u201D Journal of
American History, 77, 1 (June 1990), pp. 129–130.

[22]

De Jasay, u201CCart before the Horse,u201D p. 62.

[23]

On Arab migrant workers' remittances to their home
countries and the informal (banking) mechanisms involved,
see Kiren Aziz Chaudry, u201CThe Price of Wealth: Business and
State in Labor Remittance and Oil Economies,u201D International Organization, 43, 1 (Winter 1989), pp. 10–145.
Chaudry's main complaint seems to be that, in some instances,
Arab states cannot sufficiently tax this money and
thus the state remains unformed and u201Coutside society,u201D thereby
depriving people of modern u201Ccitizenshipu201D — that rather
unfortunate bargain made by our ancestors.

[24]

See Razeen Sally, u201CThe International Political Economy
of Wilhelm Rpke: Liberalism u2018From Below,'u201D Millennium:
Journal of International Studies, 26, 2 (1997), pp.
321–348, quotations at pp. 324, 330; and Classical
Liberalism and International Economic Order (London:
Routledge, 1998).

[25]

For this concept, see Bruno Leoni, Freedom
and the Law
(Los Angeles: Nash Publishing, 1972
[1961]).

[26]

Quentin Anderson, The
Imperial Self: An Essay in American Literary and Cultural
History
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), p. 225.

[27]

James Burnham, Suicide
of the West
(New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House,
1964), p. 195.

[28]

Burnham, Suicide of the West, p. 204.

[29]

Richard M. Weaver, u201Cu2018Work with the Word': Southern
Literature and Thought,u201D in The
Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver
, George M.
Curtis III and James J. Thompson, Jr., eds. (Indianapolis:
Liberty Press, 1987), p. 52.

[30]

Quoted in Merle Curti, u201CUncle Sam as a Missionary,u201D
Journal of Higher Education, 11, 9 (December 1940),
p. 472.

[31]

William Appleman Williams, The
Contours of American History
(Cleveland: World Publishing
Co., 1961), p. 96.

[32]

Ernest Tuveson, Redeemer
Nation: The Idea of America's Millennial Role
(Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1968), p. 141 (my italics).

[33]

See Richard M. Gamble, The
War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great
War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation
(Wilmington,
DE: ISI Books, 2003).

[34]

Eric Voegelin, u201CWorld-Empire and the Unity of Mankind,u201D
International Affairs, 38, 2 (April 1962), pp. 170–188, and The
New Science of Politics
(Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1987 [1952]).

[35]

Leo Paul de Alvarez, u201CImperialism: The Threat to Existence,u201D
Intercollegiate Review, 2, 5 (April 1966), pp. 312–313.

[36]

Hugh Nibley, u201CThe Hierocentric State,u201D p. 244. Nibley
notes that Mongols and Muslims have also held the same dualistic
view (p. 245).

[37]

Ian Roxborough, u201CThe
Hart-Rudman Commission and the Homeland Defense
,u201D September
2002, pp. 3, 23 (my italics).

September
28, 2004

Joseph
R. Stromberg [send him mail]
is holder of the JoAnn B. Rothbard Chair in History at the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
and a columnist for LewRockwell.com
and Antiwar.com. With David
Gordon
, he is writing an intellectual biography of Murray N.
Rothbard. See his War,
Peace, and the State
.

Joseph
Stromberg Archives

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