War, international dynamics and chaos theory

Dutch military analyst Ingo Piepers is doing some extremely interesting research on the dynamics of international systems and… war. If his theories are correct, then another world conflagration at some point in the future may well be more or less inevitable. I am going to let Piepers explain and point our readers to two of his papers.

The first one is entitled The International System: “At the Edge of Chaos”:

It seems that chaotic war dynamics contribute to the ‘smooth’ development of an anarchic international system: non-chaotic dynamics result in more intense Great Power wars and in a delay of an (unavoidable) fundamental reorganization of the international system. The assumption that complex systems function more optimally at the edge of chaos, seems valid for the international system as well.
This speculative research provides additional support for the assumption that self-organized criticality, punctuated equilibrium dynamics, chaotic war dynamics and development of the international system towards a more stable condition, are closely related (Piepers, 2006, 1).

His second paper is entitled Dynamics and Development of the International System: a Complexity Science Perspective (emphasis mine):

In this article I discuss the outcome of an exploratory research project based on complexity science concepts and theories; this research is focused on the Great Power war dynamics in the time period 1495 – 1945. According to this research, the international system has self-organized critical (SOC) characteristics. A critical point is the attractor of the international system. The war dynamics of Great Powers can be illustrated by a power law. As a result of a driving force, the international system is constantly being pushed toward this critical point. The security dilemma is a booster of this driving force. Tension and frustration build up in the international system as a result of various system thresholds, and are periodically discharged through wars. The SOC characteristics of the international system result in a punctuated equilibrium dynamic. The punctuations produce new international systems, each with its specific characteristics. A quantifiable development of the international system toward a condition of increased stability and reduced resilience can be observed. In addition to SOC characteristics, the international system exhibits characteristics of a chaotic system. Chaos, order and development are closely linked. The SOC dynamics generate a process of social expansion. It is possible to explain the social integration of Europe from this perspective.

And, finally, here is a list with the above mentioned papers by Ingo Pieper as well as a few others. Enjoy the reading. (via Sargasso)

PS: Alex linked to this item on Georgia in his post The Revolution is Over. One excerpt from that item that may provide some additional food for thought in this context:

The cost of the fighting in lives has yet to be tallied. But President Bush on Monday made it clear that the outcome was sure to mark a turning point in Russia’s relations with the West. It might also prove costly for the West’s relationship with the budding democracies of Eastern Europe, which now must contemplate a world where the United States could do little to protect a close ally in the face of a determined Russian onslaught.

Could this be a chance to bring the whole of Europe closer together? Or am I just being incorrigibly naive here? After all, there is this.