**How Twitter and Nike will free the world**
However the current protests in Iran play out, and we hope to God that they will result in proper democracy there. The theocrats of Tehran know now in their heart of hearts that the jig is up, that their population – half of whom are 25 or under – will never look to imams and ayatollahs for guidance again. They are starting to look to the wider world.
The streets of the Iranian capital have thronged with millions of Iranians for whom technological advances have brought spiritual emancipation. Iran’s brave rebels have found the internet, and the isolation that Ahmadinejad requires to sustain his rule through fear has evaporated.
The role in the protests of such services as Twitter has been well documented in the media, but it is still of interest to note that these social networks have become so important in the Iranian struggle, despite how useless and ephemeral some consider them to be. (Twitter is gaining quite reputation for helping democratic struggles in other countries too, such as Moldova).
It would be a good time to push another self-evident truth that we at Baby hold dear, namely that whenever a society has become sufficiently advanced to develop a commercial middle class, you have a society which is ready to throw off the shackles of fundamentalism and live for this life, not the next.
As has been shown in Northern Ireland, and of course in Israel and Palestine during the (brief) peace of the 1990s, you can solve the most intractable problems on earth merely by sticking enough cash in people’s pockets. Recently, we saw a downswing in activities by Iranian protestors. Not because of any renewed fear, but because the country’s football team was playing a crucial World cup qualifier against South Korea. The divine becomes background when something genuinely important, such as football, takes centre stage.
Western governments need to understand this. Instead of spending trillions on arms budgets, they should instead flood rogue states with consumerist baubles and consequent dreams of personal liberation through shopping. Nike and Coca-Cola will become the cruise missiles of the new assault forces, McDonalds and TopShop the garrisons in the arcades of Tehran and Kabul. And of course the shock troops of the new culture wars will be marketers and manufacturers. We are proud and ready to serve.