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October 05, 2009


david ronfeldt

very interesting paper about iranian involvement down south, adam. i’m glad you are tracking and posting about this trend.

the iranians seem to be on the cutting edge of new modes of post-modern conflict. their naval forces in the gulf are into small-unit swarming. and here faraway, they are probing through “proxy penetration” as you say. i hope we are up to coping with this non-westphalian behavior.

the trend is, of course, broader than iran and its endeavors. for example, the more i learn about the afpak region, the more i’m struck at how many different actors — all kinds, state and non-state, formal and informal, good/bad/ugly, from all sorts of outside places — are involved, often at mixed or crossed purposes. i even read now that, if we succeed there, the likeliest biggest benefactor won’t be us; it’ll be china. in some ways, that could be good — but it makes for an odd new world, one that is more about multiplexity than multipolarity.


Iraq was similar in some respects. Despite our eventual semi-stabilization of hte situation Iran was the biggest benefactor.

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