Mountainrunner’s review of Brave New War was greeted thusly by John Robb:
Knew it was going to happen. Oh well. To tell you the truth, I kinda expected more push-back to an outsider like me from the “conference crowd” guarding the walls around the counter-terrorism money/fantasy machine in Washinton. This guy is the only one to do so publicly.
Respondingly publicly, MR wrote:
I don’t know that I am trying to protect the “money/fantasy machine”, mostly because I don’t know what he means (a little help?). However, it does sound bad and I would probably agree the “money/fantasy machine” needs to be whacked based on name alone. Whatever it is, my issue with the book pivots on his failure to include and factor in purposes and support systems into the analysis of his guerrillas. Insight into these two not insignificant data sets can’t be dismissed or ignored, but that is just what BNW does.
At the time, I noted this was a humorous way to turn the other cheek. However, MR is wrong. The “money/fantasy machine” is a vital part of shrinking the Gap.
Earlier, Curtis commented on Tom Barnett’s view of 5GW:
he resolution to the Barnettian paradox is not something Barnett himself has offered: a true 5GW approach. Although he speaks in the language of co-optation, he uses the term when addressing inter-national relations; e.g., that Iran can be co-opted. Barnett does not descend to the street level although he does support improving the lives of the persons on the street; [Tom Barnett] has yet to formulate a clear plan for co-opting the many individuals of which nations and corporations are comprised. For the most part, he seems to assume that nation-states and corporations, if they only do the right things, will be received as benevolent dictators â€” or, scratch that term, as benevolent superempowered entities.
He may be half right. Many people seek saviors of one sort or another; many are happy to delegate responsibility for the things they themselves cannot touch or do not have the time or motivation to fix themselves â€” or do not understand, themselves. The crux of the Barnettian paradox involves the manner and method of assigning these delegations so that the general man-on-the-street can rest easily knowing his prosperous future is assured. Even within the Core, much doubt about this process of delegation exists; various superempowerments within and without the Core threaten to upset faith in the systems of the Core.
For his theory of 5GW, Barnett needs to reduce the footprint of his preferred superempowered entities, and this will require a re-think about how they operate â€” in fact, perhaps also about who they are.
In an unrelated post, Mountainrunner himself says much the same thing:
To this end, when operating in conflict/post-conflict environments were the host state needs to be rebuilt, certain tools are missing from our tooklit that demonstrates our commitment to the mission to the host, facilitates capacity building, and deepens host nation commitment, and capability, to the mission, and perhaps most importantly, enlists the locals into their own success.
Both posts can be summarized like this: America needs to subvert her own population, to enlist Americans, to shrink the Gap. Most thinkers are stuck in a low-G paradigm, so obvious solutions are for “everyone to pitch in” (0GW), “organize everyone to shrink the gap” (1GW), write harshly-worded letters (4GW), etc.
However, a 5GW solution is wiser. If shrinking the Gap is a public policy option, it could be rejected. Shrinking the Gap is a long-term process, and should be insulated from politics as much as possible. We have a model of how to proceed.
The Global War Against Communism was a successful, multigenerational effort by the United States to defeat the Communist world, to spinter the Soviet Union’s support, and ultimately to turn the USSR’s constuent republics against themselves. This was done by institutionalizing the war, building up a military-industria complex for the leviathian … what John Robb describes as a “money/fantasy machine” and Tom Barnett decries a generation after the Cold-War ended.
Think about that.
The anti-Communist 5GW that was built up at the beginning of the Cold War is still functioning in spite of widespread recognition that is has been obsoleted by its own success.
The anti-Disconnectedness 5GW that must be built up at the beginning of this Long War must be similarly durable. Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, globalists and internationalists, they come-and-go. They’re electoral defeats and victories are as rational as which town is hit by which tornado, which Senator uses an anti-asian slur that was current among North African Jews a lifetime ago, and other quirks of fate. Shrinking the Gap is too important to be left to chance.
Rather than decy a “money/fantasy machine” we need to build our own.
We need to build a Military-Industrial-Systems Administration-Complex.
We need a Virtual Department of Everything Else.
We need to Shrink the Gap.