Sign Up

Militarization and Globalization

What's the correlation between militarization and globalization?

September 5, 2003

What's the correlation between militarization and globalization?

Thomas P.M. Barnett, Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and a Pentagon advisor, has lots of guts — because he goes where few people have gone so far. He establishes firm rules between countries' degrees of globalization and the need for U.S. military involvement. Our Read My Lips feature presents Mr. Barnett’s views on the road ahead. Hold on to your seats.

What is the relationship between military involvement and globalization from a U.S. perspective?

“A country’s potential to warrant a United States military response is inversely related to its globalization connectivity.”

What about the importance of economic integration?

“It all has to begin with security — because free markets and democracy cannot flourish amid chronic conflict.”

Why does the United States have a keen interest in promoting globalization?

“If a country is either losing out to globalization — or rejecting much of the content flows associated with its advance — there is a far greater chance that the United States will end up sending forces at some point.

What are the incentives for countries to open up to the forces of globalization?

"If a country is largely functioning within globalization, we tend not to have send our forces there to restore order to eradicate threats.”

What are defining features of countries not globally integrated?

"Where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, you'll find regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder — and most important, the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists.”

Conversely, what characterizes globally connected nations?

"Where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows and collective security — you'll find regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living and more deaths per suicide than murder."

Could U.S. diplomacy bring endangered nations back on track?

“Diplomacy cannot work in a region where the biggest sources of insecurity lie not within states — but within them.”

Does the United States provide some kind of pro-globalization insurance?

“It is always possible to fall off this bandwagon called globalization. And when you do, bloodshed will follow. If you are lucky, so will American troops.”

How does your concept apply to al-Qaeda?

"There is good reason why al Qaeda was based first in Sudan — and then later in Afghanistan: These are two of the most disconnected countries in the world."

What's the bottom-line as far as security is concerned after September 11, 2001?

“Globalization’s ‘ozone hole’ [countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, fully cut off from the forces of globalization] may have been out of sight and out of mind prior to September 11, 2001 — but it has been hard to miss ever since.”

Looking at the developing world, where do you best see the full spectrum of globalization?

“India is a microcosm of globalization: the high tech, the massive poverty, the islands of developments, the tensions between cultures, civilizations and religions. It is too big to succeed — and too big to let fail.”

Our Read My Lips feature is based on excerpts from Mr. Barnett’s website New Rule Sets and a recent article that appeared in the March 2003 issue of Esquire.