Institutional Security

Wouter Bouma, Borach Jansema

In this practical assignment, the main goal will be to illustrate in how far (international) institutions are able to safeguard black swan events. The question will be answered on basis of two black swan scenarios, and will be visually illustrated with the consequences. The two scenarios include war and disease, which can both be classified as a black swan event due to their unpredictability. Subsequently, the video will elaborate why institutions are unstable during the course of these events based on a realist approach.

The research is of relevance due to a certain amount of factors, with the two scenario’s concerning this research of particular relevance due to a number of recent events.

First of all, the scenario concerning war. It is important to mention that the scenario this research has in mind is war on a big scale, perhaps something on a world at war scale. As Medvedev, the Russian prime minister stated a few weeks ago, ‘a new cold war is upon us’[1]. In addition, scientists changed the doomsday clock to three minutes to 12[2]. To illustrate, that is the same time it was in 1984 when tension between the Soviet Union and the US escalated. The reason for the time change is because of the many regional wars and the modernisation of nuclear warheads.[3]

Secondly, the scenario concerning the diseases is also recent due to new viruses. The Zika virus, which is experiencing growing a number of cases in South America, and the Ebola virus that caused a large number of casualties in Africa. The viruses both are causing/caused worldwide panic and traveling issues.

Both these cases will be an illustration if (international) institutions are unable to cope with these events, or refuse to work together to fight them, chaos will likely emerge.

In this this video, the institutions were not able to do so, and we will try and illustrate this via our short video:

Our idea of the video is to use audiovisuals in order to raise the issue of the role played by (international) institutions in the case of a negative black swan events.

We choose to highlight two scenarios; war with the use of nuclear weapons and a global virus. Our generation is born in the early 90’s, just at the end of the Cold War is hardly confronted with the various doom scenarios our parents were confronted with. We thought it would be interesting to create a video that confronts us with this scenario. To actively engage our minds trying to imagine this happening we choose to combine local footage from Groningen with international events and popular film culture.

These are some screenshots that we will discuss.


This is shot at ‘t Hout, Groningen. The tower is called Kop van Oost. Purposely shot wide angle and from a low perspective with both towers in frame to make it look like the picture on the right.



This is a still from the 9/11 attacks. The second plane impacts on the     other tower. We use this image in combination with the local to illustrate the hypothetical possibility of such an event in our own hometown.


This is shot at a conctruction site at the Damsterdiep and is supposed to resemble the photographs of Ground Zero.


This is shot at the training facilities of the fire department and edited with a lo-fi flashing green filter which is supposed to represent the fall out from a nuclear attack. The protagonist is seeking refuge in former government facilities.


In the end, the video demonstrates the possible collapse of (international) institutions and the resulted chaos. With this, we have tried to show that (international) institutions are important for keeping order and creating solutions. However, it is in our view important to recognize the danger of these black swan events and that if one should occur, cooperation is still vital. In these times of globalisation and intermediary cooperation, diplomacy is very important to uphold peace and fight diseases; even though, it is sometimes easier to choose for a realist approach and maximize a nation’s own good.

Sources text:

Kras, Jeanette. “Einde Der Tijden Nabij? Doomsday-klok Verzet Naar 3 Voor 12 –” Welnl. Accessed February 26, 2016.

“Neorealism and Neoliberal Institutionalism: Born of the Same Approach?” EInternational Relations. Accessed February 26, 2016.

Sanchez, Ray. “‘A New Cold War’: Russia’s Medvedev Bemoans Relations with West.” CNN. Accessed February 26, 2016.

Schultz, Kenneth A. “Do Democratic Institutions Constrain or Inform? Contrasting Two Institutional Perspectives on Democracy and War.” International Organization 53, no. 2 (1999): 233-66.

Sources video:

00:04:00-00:11:10 Ingmar van Eden “Groningen stad drone”[4]

00:11:10-00:16:10 Russiaworks “Dead districts of Homs, Syria”[5]

00:16:10-00:20:16 Ingmar van Eden “Groningen stad drone”[6]

00:20:16-00:24:05 CBN News “Welcome … Refugee Camps”[7]

00:24:05-00:27:15 Borach Jansema “EMG Faktors”

00:27:15-00:40:19 RT “East-West divide Clashes in Budapest”[8]

00:40:19-00:53:10 RTL “Azc-protest Geldermalsen”[9]

00:53:10-00:54:10 Borach Jansema “Papengang”

00:53:10-00:58:17 VA “War In Syria 2015 – Compilation Full HD 1080p”[10]

00:58:17-00:59:14 goandseetv “United Nations/UN Headquarters Tour”[11]

00:59:14-01:01:09 black screen

01:01:09-01:07:06 Borach Jansema “Kop van Oost”

01:03:06-01:07:06 MSNBC “9 11 Actual crash footage of 2nd plane”[12]

01:07:06-01:13:16 Borach Jansema “Damsterdiep”

01:13:16-01:15:11 black screen

01:15:11-01:24:01 Backyardexploration “Exploring a Abandoned Nuclear Plant”[13]

01:24:01-01:41:08 “Medvedev Warns of Possible Impending Nuclear War”[14]

01:41:08-01:42:24 “Nuclear Explosions. Trinity and Beyond.”[15]

01:42:24-02:57:14 Borach Jansema “Brandweer kazerne”

02:57:14-02:58:23 black screen

02:58:23-03:35:04 Borach Jansema “Umcg”

03:01:01-03:07:00 Contagion(2014)[16]

03:35:04-03:41:14 black screen

03:41:14-03:45:21 World War Z[17]

03:45:21-03:47:18 Ingmar van Eden “Groningen stad drone”[18]

Sources Audio:

00:04:16-00:30:16 “Dead districts of Homs, Syria”[19]

00:04:01-01:35:08 Borach Jansema “low dark noise”

00:27:15-00:40:19 RT “East-West divide Clashes in Budapest”[20]

00:30:16-01:33:02 Borach Jansema “Mystery”

00:40:19-00:53:09 RTL “Azc-protest Geldermalsen”[21]

00:53:09-00:58:17 VA “War In Syria 2015 – Compilation Full HD 1080p”[22]

00:59:16-01:08:06 Final cut studio “Airplane noise”

01:04:10-01:09:11 Final cut studio “explosion 4”

01:24:01-01:41:08 “Medvedev Warns of Possible Impending Nuclear War”[23]

01:41:08-01:42:24 Final cut studio “explosion 5”

01:42:24-02:57:14 Final cut studio “footsteps”

01:42:24-02:57:14 Borach Jansema “Low dark noise”

02:57:14-03:56:14 Borach Jansema “Dark suspense”

02:57:14-03:41:14 Final cut studio “Hospital 2”

03:13:02-03:29:23 “Academic Commons … on H1N1 Virus“[24] (edited audio effects)

03:35:04-03:56:14 Brian tyler “The rescue” (rambo 4 soundtrack)

[1] Ray Sanchez, “‘A New Cold War’: Russia’s Medvedev Bemoans Relations with West,” CNN. Accessed February 26, 2016,

[2] Jeanette Kras, “Einde Der Tijden Nabij? Doomsday-klok Verzet Naar 3 Voor 12 –,” Welnl. Accessed February 26, 2016.

[3] Jeanette Kras, “Einde Der Tijden Nabij? Doomsday-klok Verzet Naar 3 Voor 12 –,” Welnl. Accessed February 26, 2016.