Tom Barnett’s Famous Powerpoint

Tom Barnett’s famous Powerpoint presentation can now be viewed online, courtesy of C-SPAN. The briefing takes 90 minutes and is followed by 1 hour of Q&A.

Having read The Pentagon’s New Map several months back and having some time now to digest and consider his ideas, I was oddly curious and strangely compelled to see the famous Pentagon briefing that started it all. Having watched it, I have to say I’m struck by one overwhelming feeling: his sense of optimism. I might even say he’s an idealist.

Tom envisions a world where a super-empowered UN, with a much expanded Security Council serving as an Executive (he recommends the G-20), decides where and when the US intervenes to enable the Core to take a bite out of the Gap.

I have to say I’m deeply torn by this idea. The Realist in me laughs. But the Idealist in me is intrigued:

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Havel & the UN

Instapundit has a remarkable vision: Vaclav Havel in Kofi Annan’s place.

Update:Chris Muir’s has returned and his Dec. 6th is on Havel (and Annan). (The link doesn’t seem to work; but our sympathy and thanks go to Mr. Muir, who has made many a moment happier.)

Update: Primary sources: Havel’s op-ed, Havel’s Taiwanese speech, Palous’s column.

Update: In another news story, Havel demonstrates that he certainly isn’t “campaigning” for the post and it also reveals his – it seems to me quite transparent and honest – perspective. (Or that to use Gerwitz’s point and Peggy Noonan’s words – he “has two of them”.) His respect for others is clearly not determined by power – in his op-ed, he takes those to task who would blame our hyper-power for their problems and here he declares his respect for the vulnerable. (More on both stories below)

Some people mistake bravery for standing up to a relatively benign management; others look at each situation and determine responsibility and solutions. The former are not brave; they are irresponsible and passive. Havel doesn’t make that mistake because he doesn’t take a perspective that concerns power as much as truth nor complaints as much as solutions.

Further update: The Czechs, aware of the similarity between Castro’s government and the one they knew quite well, are taking a stand on the EU reconsideration of ambassadorial sanctuary; see the WSJ column by ambassador Martin Palous. A former dissident in the Velvet Revolution, he presented the 1999 resolution condemning the Castro regime at the meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. He argues

Precisely because we lived a communist dictatorship and saw firsthand how totalitarian mechanisms worked to crush the spirit and the foundations of moral structures, we feel the obligation to speak up on behalf of the brave Cuban people. We know well their situation of being harassed, blackmailed, ridiculed, persecuted and jailed. From our own experience we also know the crucial importance of international pressure to the dissident struggle.

See Palous in a recent Texas visit.

Further Update: Nov. 29: Reynold’s editorial for WSJ.

Further Update: Dec. 1: Prompted by Rummel, checked out Diplomad. Entry on the UN by these saavy State Dept. types. It does, of course, take the attitude toward the UN of most of the commentators.

Meanwhile, however, bumperstickers have arrived (at a site with many links to other enthusiasts).

Havel’s eloquence both in his op-ed on the United Nations role and in Taiwan are excerpted in the extended entry:

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The UN is for lazy people

On the way home, I listened to a good interview on the radio with Jed Babbin promoting his new book Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think. The book sounds promising, but based on Amazon reviews, it’s more of a quick summary rather than an in-depth review.

Part of his thesis is that the UN takes traditional diplomacy and puts it into a useless debating forum without action. Babbin argues that because no action is taken, the UN actually makes war more likely. This got me thinking, perhaps there is a simple reason why leftists love the UN – they’re lazy. The UN wants to be the socialist government for the world. Take the world and put it into one centralized pot. But like all socialist governments, this breeds laziness and freedom from responsibility. Why try if the U.N. will take care of it? Got a problem? Leave it up to the U.N. If not their selling point, it’s the model they want to create.

Why do leftists love socialism? Because they don’t have to work. No job? Don’t worry, the government will take care of it. Got a problem? Leave it up to the government. When you look at its track record, the U.N. hasn’t done much in terms of results. But I think for the left, it presents an easy out. Lazy…

One of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes is “We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” It captures the essence of the fighting spirit of old. If diplomacy fails, F-U we’ll go it alone.

Here’s my leftist translation of the same quote: “We shall take it to the U.N.; we shall seek to pass resolutions against it; we shall study it in committees and subcommittees; we shall invoke clauses and bylaws; we shall never act unilaterally.”

Not exactly the stuff that captures the imagination.

Another Reason not to vote for Kerry

I’m no expert on international relations, but it always seemed to me we were strong enough and big enough; our job–duty–is to stand beside those who believe as we do – in free elections, a free press, a judicial system that aims at rule of law. If Israel seems occasionally uncomfortably tribal, it is a good deal less so than the countries that surround it. But what is Kerry’s plan? Note Kristol’s column. Also, observe Krauthammer.And the delightful new blogger, Kudlow.

As someone who grew up surrounded by Czechs, Latvians, and Cubans, I’ve always felt we have a duty not to throw the smaller nations, especially those with whom we share values, off the sled to distract the wolves. (Not that I think Israel will take being tossed over very calmly and its relatively martial attitude may lead to crises we will not be able to ignore. Good for them. Even worse for us.) Nor are the wolves likely to stay long satisfied. I remember Taborsky talking about sitting behind, as secretary to, Benes in that build up to World War II that so easily sacrificed the Czechs. All the sentimentality (based on guilt perhaps) of Casablanca and The Third Man can not ignore the fact that they were sacrificed, a sop to wolves, who only became stronger.