Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Because They're There

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."


Steven Thomas said...

Whoa! That article is so absurd, and part of me wants to think he's kidding... and I can't tell. And it almost doesn't matter, because even if he's kdding, it's still crazy.

But then again, if you read Walt Whitman's Democracy in America way back in the 1870s, even he believed that Cuba would eventually become part of America.

And if it weren't for Fidel, kicking out the U.S. mafia, it just might have been.

I wonder why the Esquire guy didn't include Guam?

kgrady said...

A way more interesting article idea:

"Five States We Wish We Could Give Back"

Doctor J said...

kyle, great idea.

Massachusetts, California, New York, Michigan, Orgeon

Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippu

Brooke said...

I remember taking a bus tour of London and being shown a TexMex restaurant where an actual embassy of Texas once stood. (Check it out at
I remember my response to friends on the tour (who were collectively incredulous) was, Well, it's too bad Texas didn't STAY it's own country! Think about it - the Bushes, Enron, oil greed... The United States would be better off without it! lol

Edgewise said...

Mr. Barnett has learned of and taken note of your post:

That's how I came across your blog.
Interesting site.

Since you (and your readers) found Barnett's piece interesting, maybe you might want to take a look at this:

ANNEXING MEXICO Solving the Border Problem Through Annexation and Assimilation
by Erik Rush

Don't know who this Rush guy is (only came across this book ad recently, never heard of him before), but the reviews on Amazon, at least thus far, are positive.

Say, you're Tenessean, right?
William Walker's home state, right?

Especially interesting considering that at least "northern" Mexico and at least 2 Central American states are cited by Barnett:

After the resurgence in interest in United States immigration policy in the spring of 2006, William Walker again came to the attention of popular culture through printed T-shirts and posters emblazoned with his likeness, name, and the phrase "We Tried" (Boston, Chicago, St. Louis).
[snip] (Emphasis added.)

At least compared to the Good Doctor, Mr. Rush purports to be advocating something nonviolent and legal.

Edgewise said...

BTW, you ever read Juan Enriquez's "The Untied States of America: Polarization, Fracturing, and Our Future"?

Here's an interesting tidbit I gleamed from it; apparently,so far, no American president has been buried under the same US flag under which he was born (and it'll probably be the same for some time when it becomes "she").

Something to think about.

Meanwhile--speaking of Texas--it might interest you (or your readers) to note that China **might** be learning from Texas history (not to mention possibly Hawaii's history) and applying it to Africa:

"Still Scrambling"


All of this begs one of the great questions in international relations: how far will Chinese policy evolve as it gets further entwined in Africa? Will it participate more in UN peacekeeping operations? Will it give direct aid rather than soft loans? Will it start to take sides in African politics, as has happened in Zambia? Africa could be the anvil on which a new Chinese foreign policy begins to be forged.

Mr Alden is also good on some of the more obscure aspects of China's engagement with Africa. It is, for instance, not just big state-owned companies that are piling into Africa: small and medium-sized ones are there too. Much of the investment and trade is directed from the government in Beijing, as one would expect. But individual Chinese provinces have also been forging their own ties and doing their own deals with African countries or regions. Fujian and Zhejiang have been encouraging emigration to Africa as a source of remittances and of new jobs.[...]

Might there be a Chinese Stephen Austin on the horizon? Maybe China will be adding more than "just former colonies" to itself. Who knows what this might mean for us?
Can't blame Barnett for suggesting this. He's not the first, and he won't be the last, and adding any addition territory and population to us can't help but be a net gain for us in the long run. And anything that adds to America's power will be good overall for the world as well.

Well, anyhow, that merely my humble opinion....

Anonymous said...

I think you should research Thomas Barnett's credentials and accomplishments before you dismiss his essay in Esquire as "absurd". Hint, he is well-known enough to warrant his own Wikipage.

And who said this was about American IMPERIALISM, which implies conquest under duress. Was the formation of the EU "european imperialism", or a damn good strategic economic decision willing entered into by various nation-states? Anti-American rhetoric makes people blind to the fact that some nations might welcome closer economic and government ties with the United States and see such a move as a benefit. The additions might also provide beneficial stimulus to a struggling America, as well. Why on earth would a win/win be something "frightening"?