April 13, 2007

Means over Motivation

Tom Barnett has an intellectual gem of an article on India that provoked two completely seperate riffs on my part. Here's the second.

America's monomaniacal focus on means over motivations continues apace. So exciting to have the realists back running things!

I've noticed that a great deal of anti-americanism goes through the exact same process, the persistent discounting of american intention and motivation in favor of an analysis of America's means (great) and a fearful reaction to the potential threat completely disconnected from the robust governing aparatus of our political system.

I believe the problem is largely one of poor connectivity in the media sphere. The world is woefully underinformed as to the actual state of american politics (as we're underinformed about the rest of the world's take on things). Go read the international press and you will find the most fantastic stories about how the US runs its countries and not just in far off Bangladesh or Zaire. A good deal of Canadian and UK coverage is downright clueless despite the shared language (and in Canada's case, shared border).

That leaves the depressing question of how to right the global media sphere so that it is possible for free polities to make realistic judgments of foreign intentions and relegate the means over motivation crowd to the dustbin of history. It's a tough job.

The only thing that I can come up with is a radical improvement in freely available tools for analysis and volunteer and professional open databases at least at the sophistication level of Wikipedia that assemble the raw data into something that can build enough confidence that we will bet our country's future on it. Couple that with much improved automatic translation software and you have the ability to view not only the dominant media that somebody is willing to pay to professionally translate but the underground media that may be highly influential and informative regarding the question of national motivation/intention without ever making it outside the border of a country.

Conceptually it's not that hard to do. The practicalities are going to take years but when it happens, we're going to gain a big jump in our ability to process states from the Gap and into the Core.

Posted by TMLutas at April 13, 2007 11:59 AM