Enhancing trade relations between economically advanced states and developing countries would further global security in the future, as long as the advanced states protect themselves in the meantime from negative influences, a nationally recognized strategic thinker said during a lecture Wednesday.
Thomas Barnett spoke at the University Center Auditorium and shared his views on the current and the future state of global relations.
Barnett’s lecture began with a discussion of the various stances prominent 21st century thinkers take on the issue of globalization. The first was of political scientist Samuel Huntington, who contends that some states will never become players in the global economy. The second was of Thomas Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times who holds the opposite view that though some people still have not entered the global economy, eventually they will.
Barnett took Friedman’s view one step further in defining his view on the future of globalization.
“Some have it (globalization) now. Some don’t. And it’s inevitable that when the spread happens, it will generate conflict if not approached properly,” Barnett said.
Barnett backed his prediction by discussing past conflicts that resulted from globalization. He cited the historical threat of globalization on traditional, male-dominated societies. Globalization subtly reconfigured the conventional hierarchy of men as leaders and disproportionately empowered women. This trend has resulted in great conflict in countries where cultural tensions have led to violence and death, Barnett said.
He proceeded to map globalization’s future conflicts around the world. He labeled all economically advanced countries the “Functioning Core” and other countries the “Non-Integrating Gap.” The “Core” consists mainly of the United States, Western European countries, China, Japan, Russia and Australia.
Most of developing countries occupy regions in South America, Africa, most of Asia and the Middle East. All of the “Core” countries are linked to the global economy and follow rules of international trade, while the “Gap” does not.
Barnett said the “Gap” has been reducing in size as globalization is slowly spreading. However, since many terrorists have come from “Gap” countries, he said one of the best ways to move toward reducing terrorism and peacefully entering globalization is for developing nations to form alliances with “seam states,” or countries that are on the border of the “Gap.”
Barnett said three things are needed for this to be accomplished. First, he said, “Core” countries must improve their ability to withstand and mitigate 9/11-like “system perturbations.” His second point was that the “Core” must discretely filter out the “Gap’s” worst exports — such as pandemics, narcotics and terrorism — without affecting human migration trends.
“It is essential to keep immigration as wide open as politically feasible,” he said.
Barnett’s third point was to enhance and protect the “Core’s” security.
“Shrink the ‘Gap’ by exporting security to the worst sinkholes located there,” he said.
Making these countries stable, he said, will bring more investment to the global economy and create stronger linkages with the outside world. This can eventually create conditions to stabilize most countries, Barnett said.
The final result will be reduced international violence, when countries would become reliant on one another for economic prosperity and have reasons to avoid conflict, he said.
Barnett also noted that, since the end of the Cold War, U.S. military deployments have been in “Gap” countries.
David Jenkins, a junior in computer engineering, said in an interview after the lecture that Barnett’s ideas are pragmatic.
“His message was eye-opening. If all countries can become globalized, then war would decrease so much. That seems realistic.”