The System has reached the percolation condition: Issues are globally linked, and involve all Great Powers. It now is a matter of ‘charging’: More tensions.
In this article, I present a preview of a threat analysis of the System based on the insights of my research. The question I want to answer is, Is a systemic war now (‘technically’) possible?
‘Traditionally’ threat analyses focus on specific issues – not on the System as such – and on intentions and the capabilities of states. I focus instead on the sensitivity of the System to produce a systemic – system-wide – response to a local war or local incident. Are issues sufficiently connected?
The sensitivity of the System depends on a several factors, including: (1) the phase of the war cycle we are now in (2) the connectedness of issues, (3) the involvement of Great Powers in these issues, and (4) their preparedness for action – to go to war – their sense of urgency.
I now restrict myself to a general and still superficial assessment of the first three factors.
In 2011, the current order – the current war cycle – reached its tipping point, and tensions – instead of being released – and issue being solved started accumulating in the System. The current order is increasingly dysfunctional, and is not any longer a reflection of the actual positions of power and influence of states in the System. The current global order is no longer representative.
We have reached the point, when the architect and main beneficiary of the current order – the United States – is actively undermining its underlying principles.
The four preceding war cycles show that it is just a matter of time before issues in the System connect – form a system wide cluster – and cause the System to become critical and consequently to produce a systemic war. The systemic war is used to upgrade the current (dysfunctional) order.
I assume that in the current order, the United States (US), Russia, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Iran have a Great Power status.
Below figure shows the issues I have identified. The overview is not complete.In below figure, the issues that make up the European cluster are specified, including some characteristics of the cluster:In below figure, the issues that make up the Middle-East cluster are specified, including some characteristics of the cluster:In below figure, the issues that make up the Far East cluster are specified, including some characteristics of the cluster:In below figure, I show if – and how – the issue clusters are linked:In below two figures I show the preliminary conclusions. In short, there is reason for concern.