I want to present an award. I'm calling it The Most Ridiculous (Yet Still Frightening) Article of the Week. And the winner is.... drumroll....
The Next Five States by Thomas Barnett (in Esquire magazine)
The author begins his essay by bemoaning the fact that he will be the first Barnett in several generations to be born and die under the same flag. That is, unlike his father, grandfather, and all the way back to his great-great-great-great-greandfather, Barnett has not seen the addition of a new state to our United States during his lifetime. So, what's a man to do? You guessed it. Propose a plan for American imperial expansion.
No, seriously. And this was in a men's "lifestyle" magazine. For real.
Here are the "next five states" to join the union, according to Barnett's plan.
1. Cuba (Barnett thinks that if we are able to acquire "Red State Cuba", that we will probably see the addition of "Blue State D.C." to balance it out. So this is really a two-fer.)
2. Puerto Rico
3. northernmost Mexico (which Barnett sees as a "Texas subdivision")
4. El Salvador and/or Panama (he calls them "dollarized economies")
5. westernmost Canada (to his benefit, Barnett does clarify with the statement: "I'm not kidding")
(6.) Barnett also mentions--you know, while we're at it--that we could take (back) any or all of the 563 "tribal nations" within the U.S. borders. That would add not only 57 million sqare acres of territory to our beloved country, but also (wink, wink) the presently untaxed casino revenues.
The only thing I can say in defense of this article is... hmmmm.... I'm thinking.... oh yeah, at least Barnett doesn't go for the obvious new potential-states of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's to his credit, I suppose. Instead, he stays close to home. Although he does offer some "justification" for each of his choices, it's not clear that these justifications amount to much more than the proximity of his selections for putative statehood.
In sum, the argument goes something like this: "Let's get 'em. Because they're there."