A Different View of the Israel – Hezbollah Conflict
Modern man has moved through three different ages in the last 10,000 years. The Agricultural Age was from around 8,000 BC until the 1700s. The Industrial Age was from the 1700s to the last two decades of the 20th century, when the Information Age began. The great Alvin Toffler referred to these ages as the First Wave, Second Wave and Third Wave. Each wave or age had different economic characteristics. The dominant economic structure in Second Wave societies was a centralized hierarchy. The dominant structure in Third Wave societies are flat networks.
In speeches I give and in the book I am writing, I call the period from 1985-2005 â€œThe Threshold Decadesâ€, because it is the time that is between what was and what is and will be. In 1985, the values and institutions of the developed nations were still Second Wave or Industrial Age; by 2005 they had become Third Wave or Information Age. During this twenty year period we fully moved into the Information Age. Just think of all the things that came along or occurred during this time: cell phones, Cable TV, numerous communications satellites, the Internet, PC market saturation, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the beginning of the Global Economy and high speed broadband to name just a few significant things. Large organizations were down-sized and lost layers of management. Entrepreneurial companies sprang to life and flourished, organizations became flat and dispersed all over the world. The network model largely replaced the centralized hierarchy.
In looking at the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah I see it, in part, through this filter. The reporting in the main stream media has had several angles. One of the most prominent is the â€œIsrael is fighting a tougher opponent that in the pastâ€ or â€œIsrael is meeting stronger resistance than expectedâ€ or â€œIsrael is taking much longer to win this timeâ€. This is largely due to the conditioning we have had about the superiority of the Israeli military. Why? Because of the overwhelming victories and the lightening speed in which they achieved them in 1967 and again in 1973. The Six Day War; what a historical oddity!
The difference can, in part, be explained by looking at the conflict through the Wave or Age theory of history. The Israeli military, just like the US military, is a centralized, hierarchical organization formed during the Industrial Age as were all the supremely successful organizations of that age. The Threshold Decades time of 1985-2005 was when that type of organization came up against the newness of the Information Age. When were the great and fast military triumphs of Israel? 1967 and 1973, an Industrial Age time when the Israeli military hierarchy clobbered the Egyptian and Syrian military hierarchies. Hezbollah however, is a flat organization with little or no hierarchy, that is easily dispersed and very mobile. It is a virtual organization. Sound familiar; like you are reading about a new company in one of the new Information Age business magazines? Yes, exactly. As entrepreneurs can operate from anywhere if they have the latest, most powerful technological tools and connectivity, so can a terrorist organization such as Hezbollah operate with the latest technological weaponry of killing and murder.
Hezbollah is an Information Age military organization in its structure, the Israel military is an Industrial Age structured organization. The old model meets the new model. The old rules of engagement meet the new rules of engagement. This is why it is taking Israel longer to â€˜winâ€™ this time, though if one values human life, wars are never really won, just ended..