Applying network science to current developments: With the election of Trump, Al-Qaeda achieved its objective


In this article, I apply insights in the relationships between network topology and ‘error and attack’ tolerance of networks to the dynamics of the System.

The (current) decoupling (disconnecting) of the United States from the international order can be interpreted as a response to the attack of Al-Qaeda on the WTC in New York, September 11, 2001.

The attack has set in motion – and has shaped – a series of responses from the United States (an attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, an attack on Iraq in 2003, etc.) and events that then followed (the Arab Spring, the collapse of states in the Middle East, terrorist attacks, the fragmentation of Europe).

Despite the efforts of president Obama of the United States (2008-2016), the United states – as the most central and dominant state in the international network – was not able to maintain its own and the System’s stability and coherence.

In response, the United States in 2016 (under president Trump) de facto ‘decoupled‘ from the international order, in efforts to promote its own – now narrowly defined – interests (America First).

Insights in network dynamics help explain (from a network perspective) what the impact is on the stability of the (global) System when the United States disengages – decouples – from the international order.

Not surprisingly, the decoupling causes the fragmentation of the international order, and consequently states and radical communities will intensify their efforts to shape local and regional issues in accordance with their own interests as well (and by doing so, confirm Trump’s self fulfilling prophecy).

In this article, I explain the impact of the ‘decoupling’ of the United States from the international order from a network perspective.

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The urgent need for fundamental reform of the United Nations, part II: The United Nations carries the seeds of its own destruction

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It is a matter of time, before an international order in an anarchistic system becomes unstable and privileged states – like the United States in the current order – are challenged. International orders – including the United Nations – have a limited lifespan, because of their ‘built-in’ inability to change.

The United Nations can be considered the organisational ‘set-up’ of our current international order.

In a series of articles, I discuss the United Nations: Its purposes, the establishment of the United Nations and the process of social integration and expansion that preceded it, the urgent need for fundamental reform of the United Nations, and how this reform could be accomplished.

I will also explain that superficial reforms of the United Nations – which do not address the fundamental unbalance in the System – will cause a systemic crisis, as happened two times during the 20th Century.

Such a systemic crisis will cause a situation the United Nations is – according to its own purposes – supposed to prevent.

In the second article, I discuss  how – and why – international orders are established, and what purposes they fulfil from a system’s perspective.

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Types of terrorist attacks

Four typse of Terrorist attacks PNGPrevention and effective engagement of terrorist organisations require a thorough understanding of above characteristics, underlying ideologies and frustrations, etc. Combat engagement tends to fuel radical ideologies and frustrations, and are often counter-productive. The notion ‘fight against terror(ism)’ does not make sense: Terrorism is a method of fighting.

Types of terrorist attacks – how terrorists fight and organise – evolve. This process must be better understood, to improve prevention and engagement.