Iran: Step Forward Maj. General Steve Jobs
There is only one revolution tolerable to all men, all societies,
all political systems: revolution by design and invention....
--- R. Buckminster Fuller
The recent dramatic events in Iran have indefinitely sidelined the hard-line mullahs. I'm referring to the mullahs of the rabid US neocon cohort and their corresponding absolutists in Iran.
Mere weeks have consigned John McCain's infamous "Bomb, Bomb Iran" to history's lamentable anachronisms. The "collateral damage" of conquest now has a face: Neda's. Millions more Iranian faces join her in our mind. And we like them!
We like, not just: the westernized youths of Tehran. We also like the fearless black-clothed women who took the beatings; who answered back; who gathered the stones to be used against the firearmed Basij.
We even like some of the "towel-head" (see: prejudice, 9/11, Iraq) mullahs. Such as Mehdi Karroubi -striding with arms aloft in defiance; marching to Qoba mosque amidst a cheering, seething mass -yearning for a vote that counts.
We can now even discern the difference between a laudable reformist mullah and his neoconservative compatriots. Our former black and white vision is colored with nuance.
The Iran invasion is indefinitely postponed.
But the paradigm-shifting implications of Iran's uploaded uprising have yet to seep into our geopolitical thinking and strategies. In retrospect, we should have dropped cellphones and laptops on Iraq --then sat back and awaited the inevitable. It would have saved the lives of thousands of US troops and a hundredfold that number of civilian lives in "Saddam's" Iraq.
Admittedly, iPhones aren't cheap, but they come far less expensive than cruise missiles. And every dictatorship deserves to get free weapons of mass communication. Not merely to enable us see every repressive atrocity inflicted by a regime on its population, but to grant the society a communications mirror within which to see itself. And thus to change.
The ethos of Star Trek, series one, was to leave the alien cultures which the Enterprise visited, to resolve their issues of social evolution themselves. (Spock was surely a Democrat!) That ethos ebbed over decades of US foreign 'adventures', and vanished entirely in the wake of 9/11. The eUprising in Iran brings it firmly back into focus.
As the internet and communications revolutions take hold, the microchip is the pragmatists' new weapon of choice. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the military-industrial complex are suddenly strategically less relevant than Apple, Nokia and the civilian-electronic complex.
We no longer require a David Petraeus as much as a Steve Jobs.
We need special e-forces to drop anonymizing software such as Tor -deep behind enemy DSL lines.
Repressive regimes around the world are struggling to contain their populations behind electronic Berlin Walls. Battling the insatiable quest for unfettered internet systems. We've already had such a battle in the developed Western economies. The illegal music downloader's won it.
The Pentagon should be talking to the Pirate Bay founders.
'Command and Control' is yielding to 'persuade and network.'
The victims in Tiananmen Square remained largely faceless and the truth took months to be fully documented. In Iran, the victims are being webcast. One victim: Neda --turned from faceless to globally iconic in a matter of hours!
But Iran's events were less a revolution than a social evolution. The regime attempted the tried and trusted tactics of the past. But each bullet turned into a nail in its own coffin. Each blow was a blow to its own legitimacy. Each brutal digitally immortalized second will haunt it to an early grave.
Because the protesters, though seemingly unarmed, were after all very heavily armed -- with weapons the regime did not comprehend. The brave men and women in the streets clustered around their fallen --weapons in hand; recording every moment.
Weapons of mass communication.
Before we invented the mirror, we hardly knew our own faces. Iran has seen its own face, and the consequent evolution has defaced the regime into infamy. The Future beckons and whether the existing order falls in weeks, months or years -it is already tottering, zombified into the Past. As is every fragmented piece of its ethos.
Step forward Maj. General Steve Jobs. Your time has come.
It's is fitting, after all. In the early 1980's, upstart Apple Computer began a process which felled the behemoths of the minicomputer industry and crumpled the unassailable empire of mighty IBM.
Like the Iranian regime, IBM's leaders were incapable of realizing what they were dealing with. Before it was far too suddenly, far too late.
The rEvolution will not merely be televised. It will be digitized; emailed; streamed; tweeted; facebooked; uploaded; downloaded; remixed; scanned; and finally: printed on posters.
Around the world, within another year this change dynamic will pack more punch than a shrinking microchip. Yielding more and more rEvolutionary bang for young bucks.
The rEvolution will be instant!
Then: Over. Before it's begun.