History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Sunday, October 10, 2004

    A Microscopic Application of Burnett's Core/Gap Thesis in Iraq

    This will be the first part of a series devoted to the subject of bringing Iraq into the Gore.

    For those of you who haven't heard of it before, the Gore/Gap thesis is method at examing the world in the 21st century, more specifically, at dividing the world into two groups: The Core, composed of inter-connected and technologically, ecomonically, socially advanced state, and The Gap, composed of isolated, primitive or failed states which lack the traits of those states in the Core. This concept was created by academic/analyst Thomas Barnett, who has written a book on the subject: The Pentagons New Map. He also has a weblog, which can be found here.

    The Core and The Gap provide us a way of examining crisis and conflict in the 21st century. The problem, according to Barnett, is that most of the conflict in the 21st century is going to rise in the Gap. In the Gap we find poverty, ignorance, tribal conflict, massive famine and pestilence, repression and tyranny. Almost always those things go together. When we describe nations in such fashions we can easily group together nations like Saudia Arabia, North Korea and the Sudan, despite great geo-graphic differences. Barnett believes that because of their situations, those nations in the Gap are breeding grounds for terrorists and dictators who will threaten the security of not only the Gap, but the Core as well. Saddam Hussein, Ossama Bin Laden and Kim Jong-il are three examples of figures who arose in the Gap and have used the conditions there to threaten both Core and Gap. The solution to this problem is not to simply the "kill the terrorists wherever you find them", because in the end terrorists will keep on appearing, and will do so at a pace faster than you kill them, until you eventually have to put into effect Wretchard's Three Conjectures Scenario. The solution is to shrink the Gap. Since the Gap is the primary breeding ground of terrorists, by shrinking the Gap you reduce the amount of terrorists generated. Eventually, by eleminating the Gap completely, you dry up the source, and the threat to the Gore will cease to be.

    The problem with the Gap is that it lacks basic infrastructure, and inter-connectedness to the rest of the world. North Korea is the perfect example of a Gap nation. It is the most isolated nation in the world, with literally no contact between its people and the rest of the globe, save by a handful of party elite. This isolation contributes to ignorance, and helps enable despots to gain control of large populations and bend them to their will. Hence, you have a deifed Kim Jong-il. To reduce, to shrink, the Gap, you need to build infrastructre and connectivity within nations in the Gap, while at the same time providing for stability. This includes economic aid, security assisstance, as well supporting globalization abroad. A map of the Gap, which I am unable to find at the moment, is a map of the least globalized nations in the world. Spreading Globalization is a key method of shrinking the Gap. South Korea is an example of a nation that is in the Core now, but was in the Gap not too long ago. Its connectivity is one reason among many why it is in the Core. So by spreading globalization you help reduce the Gap.

    Iraq is a central pillar in the US strategy to shrink the Gap, which I will explain in the next installment of this series.

    On to Part 2...

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