From the Editor

Robert H. Taylor
2007 Parameters  
A number of authors are beginning to look beyond the conflicts currently raging in Iraq and Afghanistan to ponder the future of the Middle East. Although hamstrung by a myriad of political, economic, and cultural realities, these visionaries share one common view of that future; Iran will play a pivotal role. Foretelling the future of this volatile region requires a pragmatic understanding of the strategies and policies required to meet the demands of what appears to be "never ending" conflict.
more » ... We are indeed fortunate to showcase three authors in our thematic feature, "War in the Modern Age" willing to offer their presageful views. Professor Gawdat Bahgat provides readers with "Iran and the United States: The Emerging Security Paradigm in the Middle East." The author analyzes Tehran's developing role in not only the Middle East, but the greater west Asia arena. Bahgat believes Iran perceived the removal of regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq as a "mixed blessing." Iranian leaders are obviously concerned that their country might be next for "regime change," but are equally relieved that two of the major threats to their national security have been removed. However, the coalition's failure to quickly establish stable governments in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to what the author calls "the Iranian moment." Bahgat concludes with a two-fold admonishment to concerned parties: Iran is a crucial player in the Middle East and the international arena. However, if it is to solidify recent strategic gains it needs to reach an accommodation with major Western powers. Likewise, the United States and Europe need to constructively engage Iran. Brian Reed explores the foundations of network analysis and its relationship to war in "A Social Network Approach to Understanding an Insurgency." The author's insightful review of the analytical tools and strategies required to defeat a networked enemy's array of linked resources leaves little doubt regarding the immediate need to reevaluate America's military strategy. Reed champions a totally new way of thinking about insurgencies based on a network analysis of the linkages between people, groups, units, and organizations. Using this social network perspective the environment supporting an insurgency is expressed as patterns or irregularities in relationships; the essence of the non-linear organization that characterizes today's insurgencies. The author closes with a cautionary note that modern insurgency represents an evolved form of warfare that takes advantage of pre-existing and affiliated social, economic, and military networks. A reality that is likely to continue far into the future. Gary Guertner provides readers with the European view of the policies and actions underpinning the United States' strategy of preemption. In
doi:10.55540/0031-1723.2353 fatcat:ruhpglnborci7hzqyyj4m45zlm