The Pentagon’s New Map — War And Peace In The Twenty-First Century, by Thomas P.M. Barnett

(Putnam Adult, 2004; 448 pp., $26.95 — ISBN 9780399151750)

At first glance, it appears that the title of this book gives more credit for acumen and foresight to the Department of Defense (DoD) than that department deserves. However, after reading the book, it emerges that the “map” has no clear destination or routes. We are still searching for something to replace our decades-long strategy. The role of the DoD is being reshaped by new demands imposed by the changing international security environment. The employment of military power is less relevant to the process of global change. The bi-polar order has collapsed and has been followed by an integrated world economy.

Barnett begins by explaining how the rules of war (and peace) changed with 9/11. He uses an actual map (in the front and back covers) to show the boundaries of the new world and how the maps shape a grand strategy. His world is divided into the functioning core of those economies being integrated into a global whole and the non-integrating gap of those who have failed to do so (so far).

Barnett is an original thinker who has honed his skills as a strategic researcher and professor at the Naval War College and during work on strategic futures in the Office of Secretary Defense. He has devoted his research to a multi-year search for a grand strategy for a future worth living in. He writes in an informal and even breezy style, which probably helped him sell his briefings to increasingly significant audiences, although his presentations have met with misunderstanding and resistance.

This book is not for the casual reader. It’s too soon to tell how it compares with the works of Alfred Thay Mahan and Emory Upton, but it’s in the running. Readers with an open mind on this subject should examine the New Ordering Principle and the Global Transaction Strategy.