The admiral is of course a brilliant man with a stellar list of accomplishments in his four decades of service. But neither does it hurt that the attitudes Barnett imputes to Fallon mesh so closely to his own, whether it be the surge in Iraq, engagement with Iran, partnership with China, economic “connectedness” or contempt for the wicked neocon dullards who’ve gone and bollixed everything up, when it was all running so smoothly before.
So fullsome is Barnett’s praise on this latter point that the admiral apparently felt compelled to issue a rebuttal:
Asked about the article yesterday, Fallon called it “poison pen stuff” that is “really disrespectful and ugly.”
On his own website, and in his typically self-effacing style, Barnett says that the “article speaks for itself,” and “provided magnificent context to judge (the admiral’s) strategic thinking.”
No one with the least familiarity with the admiral’s career and reputation could doubt for a moment that he is as brilliant and visionary a strategic thinker as Barnett paints him to be. But one can wonder whether all of the vivid contrasts Barnett strikes between the admiral’s thinking and that of the administration were more important to sell the story than they were to tell it.