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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
A blog 'for independent minds'
Iran: Stupid, Stupid and More Stupid
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
Nov. 25, 2013 11:12 a.m.



This has been a great year for new non-fiction books, and I’m about to burden everyone with another magnificent book–Out of the Mountains; the Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla, by David Kilcullen. This is yet another synthesis book, this time focusing on the evolving nature of warfare to be immersed in coastal, connected cities, as opposed to the traditional mountain prototype. This book shows how cities become the new battleground, separate from the rural hinterlands, as they use basic technology and geography to further break down the nation state.

While Kilcullen doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about the role of the nation station in destablizing other nation states (he does address the role of Pakistan in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the role of Iran with Hezbollah), his book does provide a fantastic bibliography that has to be seen to be believed.

In a nutshell, what is apparent is that sanctions against Iran that are aimed at its economic heart are only going to work to the extent that the sanctions hit the “dark network” of Iran’s secondary economy. Yes, Iran is involved in the normative trade of nation states, but its connection to Hezbollah is equally important. Hezbollah isn’t just a terror network anymore. Through technology and connectivity, Hezbollah has become a transnational non-governmental agent, capable of projecting global power, deeply enmeshed in both legal and non-legal trade.   With its links with other terrorist organizations, Hezbollah can operate on seven continents, and be just as involved in textiles and the manufacture of paper plates as it is in drug running, guns and the sale of terrorism consulting. The growth of open source and virtual currency provide the lubrication for its economy to function entirely separate from a public economy. Curiously, the more a terrorist group becomes entangled in the global economy, the more its terror forces become less important. But Hezbollah is currently at war not only with a number of American allies, but it is actively involved in acting contrary to American policy in places like Syria.

When Obama was elected, many people in the world thought that the advantage of Obama was that he was versed in the growing internationalism of the post-nation state era. In short, that he was a vandal, not a Roman. It has been astonishing that either Obama and Kerry don’t understand the growing importance of post-nation state dark networks, or they act as if they don’t. If you believe that the real threat to world peace from Iran is nuclear weapons, then the deal in Geneva makes some sense. If you understand that the global community has just traded a freeze on the nuclear program in exchange for lessening of the specific sanctions that feed Iran’s dark network abroad, then you understand the Israeli position that Obama just committed national suicide.

This concept of the growing lack of importance of the nation state in the world is not new. In fact, I could identify at least six major works that tie the trend to climate change, open source technology, the spread of the internet, you name it. Part of being hip and informed in this century is understanding that the trend toward globalization allows for the establishment of these networks. W.  and most Americans learned that in 2001. The point should have been driven home in 2008 in Mumbai, and the Arab Spring forces the point. Even in America, Obama supporters fail to recognize that the Tea Party is more about globalization than it is about short term political power.

I really don’t understand the Iran agreement–it makes absolutely no sense. I would like to know whether the agreement reflects blindness by this administration or just plain stupidity. Or maybe a need to score political points during a downward spiral by selling a bad deal as a political breakthrough. The irony is that in an era o growing connectivity, what Americans really need to do is turn off their devices, and head for the library for some real education as to the world that is leaving us behind.

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