The Strategic Monitor 2018-2019 monitors the international system and assesses risks to Dutch national security. The current international system is experiencing a phase transition of sorts. Phase transitions feature contradictory dynamics and discontinuous change. These past few years, key tenets of the liberal international order (LIO) have been shifting, and shifting quite dramatically. A range of international security and economic arrangements grounded in multilateralism and the peaceful settlement of disputes have come under fire. Moreover, new players have entered the fray and the rules-of-the-game are being rewritten. Yet, other tenets of the LIO persist and retain properties of that order. This results in an amorphous system with key trends tracing divergent trajectories: freedom is on the decline but the number of democracies has actually increased; free trade is under severe pressure, while actual trade volumes continue to grow; interstate tensions are rife, yet international great power peace persists. The international system thus displays properties of either a multilateral, polarized, networked or a fragmented order, depending on the domain.
The Strategic Monitor 2018-2019 tracks these different properties under the two themes of this year’s report: International Peace and Security and Societal Stability, and considers the implications for Dutch foreign and security policies.
Over the coming weeks we will be releasing additional research papers associated with this Strategic Monitor. A synthesis report (in Dutch) will be published in January 2019.