Keeping Score for the First Debate


How will you keep track of tonight's debates?  Forget calibrating the orange tint control on your TV, watching the sweat bead count or wondering why John Kerry's bio omitted his PhD from the Abbot and Costello School of Communications. Instead get a copy of Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, and turn to page 197.

Pay attention to Barnett's 'new rule set' in his model of globalization. Barnett posits four foundations of freedom as vital to our survival and security as a free and prosperous nation: 1) movement of people (human capital) ; 2) movement of energy (oil and gas);  3)movement of financial capital (foreign direct investment); and 4) the US security umbrella (export of US military security to keep markets open.)

Barnett's thesis, as profound as George Kennan's famous 1946 telegram to the State Department setting the ground rules for the Cold War, describes the how 'labor, energy, money and security  (must) flow as freely as possible from those places in the world where they are plentiful to those regions where they are scarce.'

Barnett describes the 'Core' countries, largely western—style, free market, democratic governments, having money and security, needing to intervene and transform the 'Gap' countries, largely dysfunctional theocracies or dictatorships, where labor and energy are plentiful.

Globalization means bringing the Gap states into the Core through systematic elimination of disconnectedness in the Gap.  Disconnectedness, of course, is the mission of radical Islam, with the intent of isolating a third of the globe from the world of nations and its energy resources along with it.  Security through military force is the pre—requisite for the new rules; only the US can provide that security; and the American people must have the will to spend both treasure and blood to secure the pathways for globalization necessary to defeat disconnectedness.

As you watch President Bush and Senator Kerry tonight, keep Barnett's four elements of his 'New Rule Set' on a 3 by 5 card and see which candidate comes closest to understanding and displaying the leadership and conviction needed to implement the new rule set.  Kerry will argue that Iraq has no relevance to the new rule set.  Bush will argue the Iraq war is not some isolated event unrelated to the new rule set but is central to globalizing security and introducing new forms of government vital for free flows of people, money and energy.

Thomas Barnett sums it up in the final words of his chapter on 'The Core and the Gap'

' ...the wars that will define this era of globalization will be quite symmetrical:  we will seek to extend globalization's connectivity, and those who oppose us will seek to derail globalization by disrupting that connectivity... Bin Laden  (and now Zarqawi) ( has) the expressed goal of forcing the Core to clamp down on its borders, seek energy elsewhere, take its investments elsewhere and 'bring the boys back home'...' Globalization's most crucial strands of connectivity (the flows of people, energy, money security) helps us understand the nature of the grand historical struggle we now face... It helps us understand why our loved ones won't be coming home anytime soon...and why America's continued role as security Leviathan across the Gap is necessary not only for keeping the violence over there but making sure that globalization makes it over there."

So will the winner of tonight's debate have read Thomas Barnett's book? You be the judge.

Geoffrey P. Hunt   9 30 04