RSIS Seminar by Dr Sean McFate, Distinguished Visiting Professor, National Security Studies Programme, RSIS; Professor of Strategy, National Defence University; and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Washington, U.S.A
The Age of “Durable Disorder” and its Geopolitical Implications
The twenty-first century is maturing into a world mired in perpetual chaos, with no way to contain it. What has been tried so far has failed, making conflict the motif of our time. This growing entropy signifies the emergence of a new global system — “durable disorder” — which contains rather than solves problems. This condition will define the coming age. The world will not collapse into anarchy; however, the rules-based order we know will crumble and be replaced by something more organic and wild. Durable Disorder is the new environment for war. Many countries are not set up to fight in this environment; their habits and systems refuse to recognize this reality — or adapt to it. They buy, train, deploy, and fight according to rules that don’t apply anymore — and then are frustrated by the outcome. Those who understand durable disorder exploit it, while those who do not will be exploited.
About the Speaker
Dr Sean McFate is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor of strategy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University in Washington DC. Additionally, he serves as an Advisor to Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and then he became a private military contractor. His newest book is The New Rules of War and Goliath: Why the West Doesn’t Win Wars. And What We Need to Do About It, which has been called “The Freakonomics of modern warfare.” It was picked by The Times and The London Evening Standard for their books of the summer 2019. McFate wrote the novels Shadow War and Deep Black, part of the Tom Locke series based on his own experiences. New York Times #1 bestselling author Mark Greaney said: “I was blown away…. simply one of the most entertaining and intriguing books I’ve read in quite some time.” McFate holds a BA from Brown University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).