The premise of this article is that when comparing governance systems, a greater focus on the complexity of the environment facing nation states would provide a step forward. National regimes should not be compared in a vacuum but rather with respect to the governance challenges they are likely to face in an unpredictable world. It is necessary to recognize the adaptive complexity of the systems generating those challenges and yet how they also providing the ingredients for emergent solutions. It is argued that exploring interactive capacity rather than formal structures will provide a stronger indication of whether governance challenges are likely to be met. It is concluded that different types of national regimes could, in principle, deliver effective interactive governance capacity in different ways, but each can generate tipping points that could lead to failure.