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Good feedback Ryan, Diana.

The problem with models is always what to include and what to leave 
out.  You want to make them easy enough to understand and use [by more 
people than the designer].  Yet, you do not want to make them too easy, 
so they lose all touch with reality or the client/analyst says "so 
what".

In my 20+ of business experience in building many models, mostly of a 
network nature [not talking about financial models], I have found that 
on the continuum from toy model to "everything + 2 back up systems" 
there is a sweet spot, about a 1/3 of the way down from the easy end 
where you can teach/learn some complex concepts with a sufficiently 
robust model, that still retains simplicity.  My experience in pushing 
down that continuum toward the high end is that it brings less and less 
return for time invested.  Of course I am a practitioner and this may 
not be a good rule of thumb in academia.

Yes, if I was doing this for a client I would break up the EU node into 
constituent pieces -- at least show those countries that have 
significant military/economic ties with any of the Mideast countries.  
Also, breaking up the positive ties into two networks/sets would also 
be prudent -- 1)economic, 2) military.  Even these two distinctions 
could be easily divided further.  But for now, I just want to start 
learning how negative ties may affect an interconnected system of 
players.

Valdis

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