< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: The Better Barnett

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Better Barnett

I took a little heat for a post of mine which criticised aspects of the Barnett hypothesis. All well and good, and from my view, enjoyable.

But let me laud Dr. Barnett as well from time to time. There is a "better" side of him in my opinion, one which sometimes gets lost in the seemingly frenetic shuffle he makes day to day.

This post of his is the better Barnett. Indeed, it is Barnett at his best. I'll quote the relevant portion:

Now, Gingrich, among others, are reviving the talk of WWIII that a lot of excited pundits were tossing about right after 9/11.

I consider this approach to be as wrongheaded as the End Times thinking: it's a form of escapism that turns the definition of war on its head.

All true, well formulated, and timely. Tom goes on to describe a list of dispostive factors weighing against the WW-III analogy. The most central issue is easily overlooked:

Fourth, the scale here is all wrong. Not just the tiny percentages of combatants, but the tiny amounts of death. This whole "world war" since 9/11 hasn't yielded a good week's worth of WWII dead.
Exactly. Easy to skip this point as some sort of bravado, but that's what makes it all the more true. We fought glorious wars, and this ain't one of them. A commander who misses the place the battle "shall be fought" is someone who will most likely end up captured. WW-III is not the battlefield here, long, grueling, tedious raids and counters are the battlefield. A nation that mobilizes itself for a massive D-Day styled invasion is a nation two steps away from being held hostage.

This is Barnett at his best. Plain, simple, and stimulating.

Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't point the subtle (though direct) similarities between my earlier criticism and what Barnett views as a suitable analogy. He argues the "Long War" where are in is akin to the settling of the West...
I'm pushing the far longer concept (I'm a big believer of Abizaid's Long War concept) of the settling of the Wild West.
Or if you want to be real precise, more like the settling of the East. I agree with Tom, and it appears, he agrees with me. The question remaining is whether or not America is ready for the Wild West again.