July 21, 2004

Barnett's Implicit Villains

In The Pentagon's New Map something always bothered me about the disconnection of the Gap states. They are so weak that unanimous efforts by Core states could never be resisted. The Gap leadership that thrives on disconnection could never maintain that state alone. They had to have something helping them out. The Iraq sanctions regime and subsequent Coalition of the Willing invasion brings the dark secret out into the open. The disconnecters in the Gap have allies in the Core, allies that command power and respect in the highest diplomatic and economic councils.

No Gap country is entirely disconnected. After all, the Great Leader must have access to first class health care, toys and gee gaws that his own society cannot produce, and above all weapons to maintain his security against his own people and his neighbors. That requires trade and with it, connectivity.

But the connectivity threads must be kept spider web thin and must not be a path that just anyone can walk down. No, trade is done in barter, with huge bribes and outlandish commissions, or in unsavory items such as addictive drugs, banned weapons, and human flesh. The people who provide the connectivity must, as much as possible, be unsavory types that will show the worst of the outside world to those who they come in contact with, providing a justification for their country's isolation.

The power brokers who do the major deals and pocket so much money from these spider web connections also know that they are on an impressive gravy train that will continue as long as general connectivity does not come to that society. They must maintain their position in the Core and never actually admit that they are in favor of maintaining disconnectedness but they do and they are.

In Eastern Europe, when the wall came down, whoever had invested in the east bloc countries as the only western presence in their field were largely swept aside. The popular western cigarettes, the popular drinks, all of that market share swiftly disappeared in an avalanche of new competition offering better quality, lower prices, or even just variety.

The same dynamic will happen in every country that is pulled into the Core from the Gap. A certain class of politicians and traders will have their economic interests in the place devastated and they will be tempted to lobby against intervention, against reform, because they only see their short term interests and don't really care about the pathologies that spill out of the Gap.

Update: Iraq Now points out how business interests that were highly invested in the old system are still causing mischief where they can.

Posted by TMLutas at July 21, 2004 10:33 AM