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Must-See TV (for Wonks): DC’s ‘Red Hot’ Author Tells All, Live on C-Span

Dec 20, 2004


WASHINGTON Dec. 20 -- Thomas P.M. Barnett is sizzling.

He was just anointed "red hot" by the Washington Post for his new book, "The Pentagon’s New Map."

Earlier this month, Barnett gave a much-discussed lecture at the Pentagon's annual Highlands Forum (link broken, but see description here).

The Council on Foreign Relations called it a “tour de force.”

But if you weren’t among the few dozen invited to Highlands this year, and if you were not watching the Patriots and the Dolphins on Monday Night Football tonight, you could catch it all on C-Span.

The cable channel tonight hosted a live call-in program with Barnett, following a playback of his Highlands lecture, which will be cached in the next day or so on C-Span's website.

To oversimplify, Barnett says the central conflict in the world, for public diplomacy as well as the military, is between the “core” developed nations and the “gap” nations that are both less developed and disconnected from development, globalization and growth.

The Islamic world, Barnett writes, is an example of the disconnected "gap." But the major force faced by the U.S., he said tonight, is not Islam but China.

There is a “huge internal gap” in China, he said, with hundreds of millions of rural poor who form China’s own “gap” – as opposed to its rapidly developing “core.” He described this chasm -- and rate of growth -- as “unprecedented in human history.”

Six months ago, Barnett discussed his then new book on C-Span’s “Booknotes” program (watch the video and read the transcript here).

To emphasize the difference between the developed “core” and the less developed “gap,” Barnett tonight spoke starkly:

“You are better off as a dog in the United States,” he said, “than as a human being in other parts of the world.”

Now, Barnett hosts a blog to which he invites all comers and comments. He calls the site “the DVD version of the book,” complete with “deleted scenes” and “director’s commentary”.

For those who want an inside view of the inside-the-Beltway debate on public diplomacy, global development and military strategy, check tonight’s Must-See TV, televised live worldwide by C-Span, and soon to be cached for your convenience at

One can summarize Barnett’s argument by echoing the ubiquitous London Underground loudspeaker announcements: “Mind the Gap.”


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