Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Monday, November 14, 2011

The World According to Tom Barnett

The PowerPoint will never be the same after Thomas P.M. Barnett. In the time following 9/11, Barnett began using his presentation, or brief, called The World According to Tom Barnett, to get across his idea of the "big picture" and the role America should play in the twenty-first century.

His thesis was simple: take a world map, draw a circle around the areas where violence occurs on a regular basis and then ask, why? His answer is connectivity. As the nations become further globalized, wars are found within what Barnett calls the non-integrating gap. The world according to Tom Barnett sees the United States playing a key role in shrinking the gap.

Now I originally saw the brief on C-SPAN in 2003 and I remember being so impressed that I recorded it when it was replayed later that evening. Barnett's theory may not be fully correct, but he joins men like Samuel Huntington in seeing the world through the eyes of a map and a story that explains it.

Catholics are in need of their own macrohistorical metanarrative - but watching Barnett's brief is a great way to see how effective we can be if we use a map and tell a story. It's worth checking out.

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