President Trump and the System are increasingly out of control (source)
The international order is in a dire state: Tensions can no longer be effectively regulated and issues have become increasingly entangled.
Through the United States’ dubious decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a domino tile is added to the already fragile international order.
The System – consisting of interacting societies (states) and communities, and their interactions with the environment on which they depend – increasingly resembles a global network of connected ‘critical issues’; issues between states and/or between communities that are on the verge of escalating into open conflict; war in the case of issues between states.
Because of the connection – linkage – between issues (because for example, the issues involve the same rival states), the escalation of a particular critical issue into war, can trigger a connected critical issue to also develop into open conflict.
Depending on the structure of the network of connected critical issues, a single incident can cause a chain-reaction, and cause a systemic – that is a global – war.
The moment the network of critical issues spans the System, the System is in a critical condition and is highly susceptible for a systemic war. In case the System is critical, a single – even small – incident can trigger a massive response, a systemic war.
The start of the First World War (1914-1918) – the third systemic war – shows how this mechanism works: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo 28 June 1914 – a relatively ‘small’ incident – produced a systemic response.
It is also possible to compare the network of critical issues with ‘connected’ domino tiles, in which a domino tile represents a critical issue: When a domino tile falls, it sets in motion a chain reaction.
My research shows, that the System produces war cycles, which have a typical (similar) life cycle: Initially, following the implementation of a ‘new’ international order, the System is still able to regulate tensions and to solve issues between states. However, at a certain point in time – when the tipping point of the international order (relatively stable period) is reached – the capacity of the international order to regulate tensions and solve issues becomes problematic: instead of tensions being released and issues being solved, they accumulate in the System. This ‘regime’, I refer to as the high connectivity regime of the relatively stable period (international order).
During the period 1495-1945, the System (with Europe as its dominant core) produced four accelerating war cycles, that show this typical behavior.
At present, data-analysis shows that since 2011, the System is in the high connectivity regime of the fifth – first global (1945-….) – war cycle. The System is now developing a network of critical issues, which increasingly spans the (now global) System.
Criticality of the System – the collapse of the current international order (United Nations) is just a matter of time.
The United States’ latest misguided decision – to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – adds more tensions and another domino tile to the already fragile System. A domino effect has become more likely. In the next article, I will discuss this issue in more detail.
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.
Trump is a master in creating ‘self-reinforcing diplomatic failure’
A self-reinforcing (positive feedback) mechanism is a mechanism that reinforces a certain effect, because of the ‘positive’ interplay between variables in a dynamical system.
President Trump addresses – blasts – the General Assembly of the United Nations to convince the assembly that nationalism should guide international relations: It seems he did not bother to read the Preamble of the United Nations Charter.
In the previous four parts of this series of articles, I argued that superficial reform – like streamlining the UN’s bureaucracy – will not suffice to solve the fundamental problems the current international order – the United Nations – now confronts.
Because of population growth, differentiated growth of states and rivalries between states in anarchistic systems, international orders require periodic reorganisation.
The problem is that international orders in anarchistic systems lack mechanisms to ‘upgrade’ an international by means of consultation and consensus.
In this article – the last article in this series – I argue that an International Panel on the Reform of the United Nations (IPRUN) must be established, in an effort to avoid a violent systemic crisis.
International orders – like other organisations that are confronted with growth, change and differentiated growth of its departments (states in case of the international order) – have typical life cycles, and need periodic ‘upgrades’ to ensure their continued effectiveness and efficiency.
However, contrary to ‘normal’ organisations, international orders are anarchistic in nature and lack mechanisms to adapt in a non-destructive manner to changed circumstances, history shows.
Awareness of the underlying mechanisms of the System’s dynamics is required to avoid collapse of the United Nations, as I explain in this article.
The period 1495-1945 was a distinct period in the development of the System; in a long-term process of social integration and expansion that is still unfolding.
During this period a powerful-become-more powerful self-reinforcing mechanism shaped successive international orders and the System.