An interesting post by Tom, that fits nicely into the thrust of my chapter, “An outbreak of democracy: The threat of the collapse of the military-industrial complex” in a volume to be edited by Mike Tanji:
East and West, intertwined and imperative (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
But as this piece nicely argues, informing me wonderfully as a result (and I am grateful, because I have been staying up nights on this very notion), the restructuring argument links the “getting the Core’s house in order” logic to that of shrinking the Gap.
In effect, what this piece says is that the globalization model of the past quarter century that saw America provide virtually all the global Leviathan services and the lion’s share of consumer demand (an implicit Marshall Plan) is broken (I prefer the term, “consummated” or “completed”). But no matter the term you use, it has come to its useful end, this model. We can’t take on more debt nor more global security burden–we are tapped. These are my essential arguments in Great Powers.
China’s political evolution hasn’t progressed to the point where it can rapidly take on those twin burdens: they just don’t have the internal deal-making counterparty capacity to gin up the domestic demand via mortgages, credit cards, etc (they can’t turn into America-like overnight and thus buttress our recovery, and somebody’s got to for globalization to move forward), and they don’t have the vision nor wherewithal to step into a junior partnership role on global security. In short, we simply have not done enough, nor have they themselves, to prepare themselves for this moment.
Update: Mark highlights a debate on disengaging from the Middle East.