StratMon 2016-2017: Volatility and Friction in the Age of Disintermediation

February 20th 2017 - 15:30

The Hague, 20 February 2017 - the Annual Report of the HCSS StratMon is published and was handed over to Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.

The annual report is part of the contribution of HCSS to help Dutch defense and security organizations prepare for challenges that lie ahead. This is what we have set out to do in our annual contributions to the Dutch government’s Strategic Monitor since 2011. The principal purpose of this report is to get a better grip on many important aspects of international interactions that much of the public debate tends to gloss over. Our overall objective is to provide a better evidentiary base to help the Dutch government improve its strategic anticipatory ability. 

Events unfolded once again at a swirling pace in 2016. Terrorists hit Europe’s capital in March. The British population voted for Brexit in June. Turkish armed forces failed to topple Erdoğan in July. A resurgent Russia flexed its military muscles again in the Middle East and actively interfered in American elections, in which the American population elected Trump, in November. We are worried but certainly not surprised by the volatility of contemporary international relations. In previous editions of our contribution to the Dutch government’s Strategic Monitor, we already observed a surge in assertive behavior, noted a dangerous uptick in crises, and warned for the contagiousness of political violence.

The current volatility is not a coincidence, but rather the result of fundamental disturbances of the global order that are greatly amplified by rapid technological developments. Most mainstream explanations of recent turbulence focus on power transitions (the decline of the West and the rise of the rest), the concomitant return to more aggressive forms of power politics, and a backlash against globalization. What strikes us is that many of the explanations ignore what we consider one of the most striking mega trends that is reshaping the dynamics of power: the ongoing process of disintermediation.

Click here for the full report.

Speech Minister Koenders (NL)

Pressrelease (NL)

Stephan De Spiegeleire is senior scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy.

Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. His main research interest concerns the changing character of modern day conflict. He has led multicenter research projects for both private and public sector organisations.

Willem Oosterveld is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. He holds degrees in political science, law and history, having studied in Amsterdam, Leiden, Paris, New York and Harvard. A former Fulbright scholar, he earned a PhD in the history of international law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. 

Hannes Rõõs is a data scientist at HCSS. He has a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Tartu and also holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Political Science and Sociology from the same university. In addition, he studied at the University of Oslo and the University of Mannheim for a total of three semesters. Prior to HCSS, Hannes worked as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Tartu and the associated Centre of Excellence for Strategic Sustainability.