Don’t get confused: This are not North Korean, but American soldiers marching.
The United States lacks strategic vision: Its indifference is stunning.
An international order – including the current international order, the United Nations – can be understood as a network – a fabric – of interactions, shared values, shared interests, identical identities, and agreements.
An international order has a purpose: to regulate interactions and tensions between states (and other actors) in the System. An international order ensures that a certain level of stability is maintained, and is (also) instrumental in – a precondition for – further (economic) development and (population) growth.
The rules that are contained in an international order are imposed during the preceding systemic war (in case of the current order: the Second World War, 1939-1945). Typically certain states – powerful states – enjoy certain privileges. The primary benefactors of the current order are the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
Because of population growth, differentiated growth of states (certain states rise, other states decline in relative power), and (consequently) increasing rivalries between states, it is just a matter of time before an international order (and the privileges that it contains) becomes obsolete.
Tensions can then no longer be effectively regulated, and issues can no longer be resolved; instead tensions and issues accumulate in the System. A network effect is part of this deficiency.
It is – four war cycles during the period 1495-1945 show – just a matter of time before the System becomes critical (again), and the accumulated tensions (energy) are used during a systemic war, to implement an upgraded order.
This is the natural evolution of the anarchistic System. However, this dynamic – because of the risks that are involved, including the risk of collective self-destruction – cannot be taken for granted. Now that the dynamic is exposed, other methods – to upgrade the order of the System – can be developed.
Furthermore, if an systemic war becomes unavoidable, it is important to realise that the outcome of this war determines what values will underpin the next international order.
The United States’ behaviour – ‘America first’ – is reckless. The United States has made considerable investments in the current – now fragmenting order – but was also its main benefactor. The United States seems intend on leveraging its military superiority, as long as this is still possible according to its own calculations.
The United States’ total lack of a strategic vision and its stunning indifference – as is now also at display regarding the nuclear deal with Iran – will come at a price, not only for the United States itself, but also for the rest of the world. This decision will further damage the already fragile fabric of the current international order.
The System is too connected, to reorganise by means of military power, without causing immense destruction.