Strategic Foresight

Reports and papers

Spillover in the multi-order

31 Jan 2018 - 13:55
Source: CameliaTWU/flickr
Coupling or decoupling?

Into what direction is the international order developing? Can the world accommodate rising or assertive powers? And to what extent will the ‘return of geopolitics’ lead to a more conflictual international order? A key insight is that international relations are often issue-specific: international relations over terrorism or nuclear issues are fundamentally different from issue areas such as energy and free trade. In this ‘multi-order’ the question is how developments in one field spill over to another field.

This report uses developments in the counter-terrorism and nuclear regimes to assess how both have affected other issue areas. The surprising conclusion is that many developments tend to stay within each policy domain. Hence, disagreements over nuclear issues have not had a major impact on other issue areas. Similarly, increased cooperation on counter-terrorism has not really led to better relations and increased cooperation in other domains. Although, some problems (like the violation of borders) have spilled over, this report therefore suggests that the international order appears to be more adaptive and able to accommodate change than is often thought.