Social Expansion versus Social Fragmentation by Ingo Piepers

In August I pointed our readers to a number of essays written by Dutch military analyst Ingo Piepers.

Ingo Piepers has now contacted AFOE to bring to our attention a new thought-provoking paper entitled Social Expansion versus Social Fragmentation, Don’t take Europe for granted (pdf). One quote:

Typically, the discussions about Europe’s future consist of the exchange of qualitative arguments, and are often only superficial. Problematic is that historical facts – as far as they are known and properly understood – are often selectively interpreted. Local interests of decision makers and their inability to understand what is at stake, make this often unavoidable. These biases often hinder decision-makers in Brussels and the capitals of the EU’s member states. In order to speed up Europe’s unification, these discussions should – if possible – be objectified. The unification of Europe is important – as I will explain in this paper – because Europe – as the rest of the world – will unavoidably be confronted with global and regional problems that require intense cooperation, in order to avoid ‘devastating’ consequences of these developments. In this paper I will show that complexity science can contribute to a more objective approach of these European challenges. I will show that the development of Europe towards a social cohesive ‘unit’ can be quantified: Europe is not a virtual reality or an artificial entity, but a hard ‘fact’.

I invite our readers to go and have a look at this paper and to share their thoughts on it.

5 thoughts on “Social Expansion versus Social Fragmentation by Ingo Piepers

  1. Firstly, it suffers from the mere assumption that common solutions are more efficient. Secondly, it doesn’t take into account that thanks to nuclear weapons major wars are very unlikely.

  2. Oliver,

    I dispute the assertion that major wars are unlikely because of nuclear weapons. I believe that major powers can still fight over resources in third party nations without risking nuclear conflict. As long as the conflict remains in the third party nation, neither major power’s territorial integrity is threatened – removing the one big motivation to use nukes.

    Second, even when major powers engage in direct conflict, its unclear that a defending nation will resort to nuclear weapons unless its “core” (capital, major cities, etc.) are in danger. Most likely, the losing side will agree to parley before then.

    This only leaves the “blitzkrieg” scenario, where one major power attacks overwhelmingly with conventional forces, and the other power’s forces collapse so quickly that the second party is essentially forced into nuclear attack in order to stave off complete territorial annihilation. This is quite probably the most likely scenario leading to a nuclear exchange, but, even so, it remains unlikely because I’m not sure that it’s possible for a major power to conceal its military build-up like Germany did in the post-Weimar days.

  3. If wars cannot endanger the cores how can they shake up the internal system enough to change it? Yes, you might have wars that will hasten the fall of a nation (Soviets in Afghanistan) but that will not alter the international system.

  4. I think that during the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war in Europe has been instrumental in the process of social expansion and consolidation in (Western) Europe. The Marshall Plan was such a favourable condition as well.
    The problem of (nuclear) war is that it can not really be managed and controlled. Almost all wars started with the assumption that ‘things’ will be sorted out in weeks, may be months.
    As history shows, the International System requires periodic reorganization, in order to realign the system. Great Powers come and go, and always want a ‘favourable’ system, promoting their interests. Four of these systemic wars have taken place during the last 500 years. Our challenge is now to realign the current (over due) International System, without a devastating war. In such a war fundamental values are (per definition) at stake, I would not bet, that all states possessing nuclear weapons can resist the temptation to use their nuclear weapon(s), when their existance and position in the system are at stake.

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