The Strategic Monitor 2018-2019 monitors global trends and assesses risks and opportunities for Dutch national security. The international system is currently experiencing a phase transition of sorts during a period of Interregnum. 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. New players have entered the fray and the rules-of-the-game are being rewritten. Zero sum thinking is becoming increasingly dominant. Yet, other tenets of the LIO persist. This results in an amorphous system with key trends tracing divergent trajectories: freedom is on the decline but the number of democracies has not decreased; 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 multilateral, polarized, networked and fragmented orders. 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 assesses the implications for Dutch foreign and security policies.
The Strategic Monitor 2018-2019 consists of a summary report and fifteen individual research papers: