Iran and Afghanistan: The World's Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

The G20 in Pittsburgh issued an accord last week that was the financial equivalent of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The governments agreed to collaborate, to devise early-warning systems, to force banks to be open to inspection and to crack down on the type of malfeasance that brought the global economy to the brink.

The G20 accord is historically significant, and welcome, because it widens the membership beyond the G7 or G8 and deepens the reach of what is becoming the world's de facto economic "cabinet." This is the only way the world can try and permanently mend the global economy.

But no matter what edicts are imposed by this united front -- to curb salaries, fraud or jurisdictional divisions -- there can be no long-term economic stability without world peace.

Iran, the biggest problem

That's why it was fitting last week that the world learned about Iran's second, secret nuclear facility. But it was likely known for some time or should have been.

But the news and the timing, around a UN meeting in New York and Pittsburgh's G20, optimized its impact. This is because the world's leaders were there, along with its press, and condemnations came from most quarters including a surprising one by Russia that Iran must desist or possibly face sanctions.

(Interesting to note that just days before Iran's misbehavior came to light, the U.S. dropped its missile shield initiative. This was likely designed to get Moscow's help with Iran and Afghanistan.)

Forget economic health

The point of all this is that without peace, there can never be stable economic growth. G20 leaders must be as concerned about controlling the world's political troublemakers as well as about controlling those in banking and business. Lest we forget, the world would have been well-advised in the 1930s as it dealt with the Depression to also concern itself with a deteriorating Germany.

The facts are that banking and economic reforms don't mean a thing if the world doesn't shut down the two most dangerous "crack houses" run by regimes in Iran and Afghanistan. Their violence harms many people, as well as many economies.

Right now, Iran and Afghanistan are the world's two single biggest exporters of terrorism. Afghanistan is also the world's biggest exporter of opium, a major source of corruption, terrorist revenue and socio-economic instability globally.

New strategy

So while the G-20 members have been dealing mainly with rebalancing the global economy, rescuing the world's banks, relieving unemployment through stimulus schemes and preventing protectionism, they must now also realize they should collaborate to clean up the world's most dangerous neighborhoods.

Interestingly, last week's events were also fitting preambles to this week's "P5 plus 1" talks in Geneva between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council - the U.S., Russia, China, France, and Britain plus Germany.

That gathering is part of President Barack Obama's "extended hand" initiative and aims at convincing Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for help in building nuclear power projects.

Obama gets it

It appears as though this American regime understands that a rogue Iran, and failed Afghanistan, pose threats that are as serious as credit profligacy, trade cheating, excesses or criminality among Wall Street bankers or several nation-states going bankrupt.

Fortunately, the world has become more cooperative than before due to this crisis. Now, the G-20's momentum of goodwill must be deployed to eradicate bad practices and political dangers in Iran and Afghanistan that represent barriers to long-term economic sustainability.