‘Europe: A Perfect Storm’. Part I: Where does Europe come from?


Europe – the European Union – is in a dire condition: It is confronted with a number of developments – internally as well as externally – that undermine its foundation, its very existence. Several unfavourable developments tend to reinforce each other, potentially causing a ‘perfect storm’, as I will explain in a series of articles.

Europe, its stability, cannot taken for granted: Europe can unravel.

The article – with the title ‘Europe: A Perfect Storm’ – consists of a number of parts I will publish the coming week.

In Part I, I address the question: ‘Where does Europe come from?’ by making use of the study ‘Social integration and expansion in anarchistic systems: How connectivity and our urge to survive determine and shape the war dynamics of the System’, and with the more alarming title: ‘2020: WARning. Patterns in war dynamics reveal disturbing developments’.

In the parts that follow, I discuss the developments that Europe now is confronted with, how they interact, and what the System’s response could be; there is reason for serious concern.

A long-term process of social integration and expansion.

The more scientific title of the study ‘2020: WARning’ – ‘Social integration and expansion in anarchistic systems: How connectivity and our urge to survive determine and shape the war dynamics of the System’ – points to the origins of Europe and of the European Union.

The European Union, can be considered a phase in a (very) long process of social integration and expansion, that started when humans started ‘grouping’ in extended families and tribes, to improve their survival changes and well-being. This process is still ongoing.

Problematic is that the system (of which Europe is an integral part) was – and still is anarchistic in nature, and groups – later states – were and still are ultimately responsible for their own security. In anarchistic systems, one state’s security – for example achieved by military capabilities, and alliances – often is another states insecurity. This mechanism is also referred to as the security dilemma. The security dilemma can result in a self-reinforcing dynamic, for example an arms race.

System behaviour results in patterns in war dynamics.

In 1495 Europe became sufficiently connected, and interactions between its ‘units’ sufficiently regular and intense, to start producing system behaviour: The patterns that can be identified in the war dynamics of the System (Europe) during the period 1495-1945, are self-organised.

During the period 1495-1945, the System produced four systemic wars that were the components of a so called finite-time singularity that was accompanied by four accelerating cycles, and that ultimately caused Europe’s collapse in 1939.

The finite-time singularity dynamic, and Europe’s development was ‘powered’ by the tensions – the energy – that was produced by population growth and rivalry between states in the anarchistic System (the security dilemma).

In 1939, Europe was no longer able to absorb and regulate the tensions it produced, as I explained in previous articles.

This study shows that the finite-time singularity dynamic, and the wars that were integral parts of this dynamic were instrumental in the ‘creation’ of Europe; in a next step of social integration and expansion.

During the period 1939-1945 Europe developed from a loose collection of circa 300 diverse ‘units’ with a total population of 83 million, into a highly connected anarchistic System, consisting of circa 25 highly standardised state structures, with a total population of 544 million.

Scaling-up to non-anarchistic ‘blocks’.

In response to Europe’s collapse in 1939, Europe by means of the fourth systemic war (the Second World War, 1939-1945), experienced  a transition from circa 25 states, to the establishment of two ‘blocks’ (Western and Eastern Europe, respectively controlled by the United States and the Soviet-Union), that were – at least internally – non-anarchistic in nature.

In 1989, when the Eastern Block started unravelling, both blocks merged into one – by building on the infrastructure and underlying values of the Western block – in what would become the European Union. This process of further integration unfolded in a short period of time.

By means of the fourth systemic war (the Second World War), the System also implemented the first global international order, the United Nations, that included the new European order.

During the period 1945-1989, the United States and the Soviet Union acted as lynchpins that accomplished the merging of the former core of the System (Europe) and the none-core (the rest of the world).


This figure shows the two lynchpins that ensured the linking of Europe to the now global order. The United States controlled Western Europe, and the Soviet Union Eastern Europe; their control ensured that two non-anarchistic blocks were now in place in Europe, that at a later stage (1989) would merge into one.

1989: Further integration, and decoupling of Europe.

Starting 1989, the two blocks in Europe not only started merging, but both lynchpins – the Soviet-Union and the United States – also retracted from Europe, respectively because of the disintegration of the Soviet-Union, and the end of the Cold War – the end of intense rivalry between the two ‘super powers’ this implied. Europe was (again) ‘on its own’ and left to its own devices.


This figure shows the System after 1989, after the collapse of the Soviet-Union, and the resulting uncoupling of the United States and the Soviet Union from Europe. Europe merged, but chaotic war dynamics resumed in the global System.

From a system perspective the integration of Europe (period 1495-1945) was a remarkably efficient process (see study), however, that is the other side of the story, the wars that were instrumental in this integration and expansion process, caused unmeasurable destruction and suffering, and almost led to collective self-destruction.

The study shows that in 1989, the (now global) System again started producing chaotic war dynamics again that were temporarily suppressed (1953-1989) because of the intense rivalry between the United States and the Soviet-Union (the Cold War, 1953-1989).

The System is now ‘charging’: Tensions cannot be sufficiently released.

The study also shows that the current – now globalised System – again produces a finite-time singularity dynamic, and that the System now is in the relatively stable period its first cycle.

Analysis also shows that the current, increasingly dysfunctional international order (the United nations) , is in its ‘high-connectivity regime’. This means that tensions in the System can no longer be sufficiently released by means of non-systemic wars, and that consequently, unresolved issues and tensions accumulate in the System.

Eventually- around 2020 the study shows – the accumulated tensions will be released through a systemic war. The systemic war will result in the implementation of an ‘upgraded‘ order, but will come – as was the case with the four preceding systemic wars – at a high price.

The current high-tension levels explain the volatile and erratic behaviour of the System, typical for such a phase. The high-tensions in the System during the thirties of the pervious century, and the resulting volatile politics, can serve as a (little inspiring) example of a similar situation.

To be continued.