Does the number of men you train to kill other men predict whether you are a Core state or a Gap state?Â
An essential problem, given the tasks that lie ahead (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
I see essentially four million-man armies out there: U.S., Russia, India, China. A fifth wheel would be NATO (with the body core really being Turkey).
You put those resources in rough combination (frenemies competing and collaborating economically and security-wise) and there’s no question that there’s enough Core-wide resources to pool against the tasks of shrinking the Gap. You put them largely at odds with each other, then the hedging requirements will gobble up most of the important budget, and in the U.S. that means a Leviathan that continues to grab the lion’s share of acquisition, keeping emerging SysAdmin capabilities as strict lesser-includeds.
So here’s my problem: China buys for Taiwan, India buys for Pakistan (and vice versa), and Russia optimizes to intimidate its near-abroad but may soon–if we play this wrong–redirect for the West. The U.S. already still spends way too much hedging on the past, and with a “league of democracies” mindset, will likely hold onto that strong bias, meaning we inevitably sub-optimize and sub-perform on any SysAdmin jobs in the Gap, thus encouraging more competition (Why trust the U.S. to get it right on stuff you find vital? and/or Why not challenge or compete directly with a tied-down/perceived-as-incompetent U.S. in these venues?). The more that proxy war/quasi-imperialistic competition kicks in, the heightened mistrust makes for even more intra-Core hedging (and spending) by all involved.
Meanwhile, I see essentially five million man armies – Â China, the United States, India, Russia, and North Korea. Â If the quoted post was serious, we should realign our strategy with a view as North Korea as an ally in helping to shrink the Gap. Â Obviously the author of the quoted post opposes this — he advocates war with North Korea.
But of course North Korea is a Gap state. Â That Pyongyang trains a lot of men to kill doesn’t make it a Core state. Â Likewise, Russia is a Gap state. Â That Moscow trains a lot of men to kill doesn’t make it a Core state.
Reading the quoted post, I feel like I’m back in 1990, reading some columnist who says “This is the perfect opportunity! Â Saddam Hussein is a New Core political, generating New Rules! Â What… are you going to let Kuwait set our foreign policy?”
If I’m wrong, tell me why.