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International Relations Theory Book Review on The Pentagons New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett - Essay Example

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Disconnection and alienation are two processes that have been much discussed in many academic disciplines, from a philosophical perspective as well as a sociological one. These two processes are often seen as both a symptom and a cause of the (post)modern condition…
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International Relations Theory Book Review on The Pentagons New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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International Relations Theory Book Review on The Pentagons New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett

Most significantly, the events of September 11, 2001 have prompted a reappraisal of the global threat dynamic that had existed prior to that date. Moreover, the continued destabilization of certain regions in the world such as Africa has given rise to a culture of war, and retribution in the region, a culture that is bread early in the hearts, minds and behaviors of its youngest members. Two works that address these concerns, Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, and Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone, expose the dangers and the deleterious effects of disconnection, the former on a global level and the latter on a personal level. In reviewing these two works, this paper will highlight some of the responses and reactions to the phenomena of disconnection and alienation both strategically and in terms of a personal narrative.
Barnett's hawkish approach to foreign policy is borne out of a growing concern that the fundamentally dynamic nature of globalization is splitting, swiftly and irrevocably, the world into two paradigmatically opposed groups. The first represents what he refers to as the "Core," or functioning core of globalization. This group includes North America, most of South America, Japan, Australia and Europe, India, and China (Barnett 174). Constituting approximately 4 billion people, this Core is marked by relatively stable governments, rising standards of living and more deaths due to suicide rather than murder. This core represents the communicatively networked, financially robust and mostly secure regions of the world. These regions lie in fundamental contradistinction to the "Non-Integrating Gap" or Gap. These Gap populations include, parts of southwest and southeast Asia, the Middle East, almost all of Africa, and the Balkans. These Gap populations are marked with politically repressive regimes, mass and socially omnipresent conflict, and widespread poverty and disease.
Ishmael Beah is a former child-warrior from Sierra Leone, and discusses his mind-blowing experiences as a young solider for the RUF in his memoir. The work recounts the horrible atrocities that he both was witness to and perpetrated in his unfortunate position. The rest of his family, brutally murdered in a village raid his isolation and disconnection from family and friends, and his introduction to a dark world of murder, death, and drugs permanently ripped away from Beah any innocence that childhood offers. Recounting both the making and unmaking of a child-solider: from the consumption of a dangerously explosive drug cocktail of cocaine and gun-powder called "brown brown," to the mass indiscriminate killings of civilians and enemy combatants alike and finally to the rescuing by UNICEF field workers-Beah's calm delivery belies a devastatingly isolating and alienating experience in the forests of Sierra Leone.
The primary thrust of Barnett's argument is that a reimagining of the World Map must be undertaken by the Pentagon and other security agencies, if the United States and by extension the rest of the Core is to remain secure. Prior to September 11, 2001 threat analysis models assumed that only countries of similar military and economic stability could represent legitimate threats to American sovereignty. Thus throughout the Cold War, we prepared ... Read More
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