States and the System as complex adaptive systems

CAS, city view

Social systems, including states, the (International) System, but also cities, qualify as ‘complex adaptive systems’ (Source:


Social systems – including states and the System – can be considered ‘complex adaptive systems’ (CAS), which process data with ‘schemata’, that inform these CAS about courses of action that support their survival changes. Regularities provide guidance to CAS.

Regularities in the System arise from a combination of simple fundamental laws and the operation of change, which can produce ‘frozen accidents’. Path dependence and lock-in (further) contribute to the magnification of regularities. Complex adaptive systems seem to function best in a régime intermediate between order and disorder.

Read more

Reactie op ‘Een nieuwe wereldoorlog?’ Een artikel in de Internationale Spectator


(This article appears in Dutch language; it is a reaction to a Dutch article in the ‘International Spectator’)

In dit artikel reageer ik op de bijdrage van Kars de Bruijne – Research Fellow bij het ‘Netherlands Institute for International Relations‘ – in de Internationale Spectator, met de titel: ‘Een nieuwe wereldoorlog?’. In dit artikel bespreek De Bruijne mijn boek ‘2020: WARning, Patterns in war dynamics reveal disturbing developments’ (het boek kan op deze website worden gedownload).

Read more

How the Enlightenment Predicted Modern Populism

By Bryan Walsh

This article was published in Time Magazine, Feb. 09, 2017

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

In a speech to the military, Ayatullah Khamenei said President Trump had shown America’s “real face” SIPA/Newscom

By nearly all objective signs, the 2016 election should have been a cakewalk for a mainstream candidate. The economy had mostly recovered from the 2008–2009 recession. Unemployment was low, and despite the occasional small bump, so was violent crime. The Middle East may have been in bloody chaos, but few U.S. soldiers were dying there, as they so recently had by the hundreds in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read more

First on the White House agenda – the collapse of the global order. Next, war?



Illustration by Robert G Fresson

This article was published in The Guardian, Saturday 4 February 2017

Donald Trump doesn’t read books. He leaves that to his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the man rapidly emerging as the true power behind the gaudy Trump throne. Given Bannon’s influence – he is the innermost member of the president’s inner circle and will have a permanent seat on the National Security Council, a privilege Trump has denied the head of the US military – it’s worth taking a good look at the books on his bedside table.

Read more