La Vigie Nr 117 : China and the heart of the earth | A look at North Africa | Lorgnette : Spanish elections

La Vigie, Strategic letter, Nr 117 ( 8 MAY 2019)

China and the heart of the earth

China, which is re-emerging, is, in the eyes of the United States, the challenger. Yet, despite its need for revenge on unequal treaties imposed by “barbarians” and felt as a humiliation, it has no desire for power. Certainly, its “Belt and Roads” initiative to refocus across Asia is a major geo-economic ambition: it can be seen as a re-reading of the founders of Anglo-Saxon geopolitics and the intention to control the heartland. This requires us to renew our strategic calculations.

A look at North Africa

North Africa is a strategic area that is poorly identified and agitated by multiple rivalries. In the centre, torn Libya is experiencing a strong east-west push that is having a negative effect on the adjacent Maghreb. France must be careful not to encourage this perverse dynamic and promote an autonomous Maghreb area based on the MENA concept.

Lorgnette: Spanish elections

The Spanish general elections on 28 June did not quite resolve the country’s deep political crisis. Certainly, the Socialist Party comes first and if it allies itself with Podemos (radical left), it arrives at 11 seats of the majority necessary to govern. Faced with it, the Popular Party lost many seats, a loss badly compensated by Vox, a radical right-wing formation born of a split. This right-wing bloc is reportedly supported by the centrist, liberal and anti-independence party, Ciudadanos.

In other words, no “classic” left-wing majority is possible without the support of small parties. The Catalan secessionist parties obtained only 39% of the votes, which puts the independence issue into perspective in a context of electoral mobilization. P. Sanchez, the socialist leader, could rely on the ERC (Catalan left) or on a Basque party and some independents.

Nevertheless, P. Sanchez will not want to launch a referendum on the independence of Catalonia (even if we wait for the regional elections on 26 May to check the intensity of the independence movement, which fell on 28 June, see LV 94). It is to be hoped that the fragile coalition that will be put in place will help to cool the secessionist crisis.

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La Vigie Nr 116 : Common good and defence | Notre-Dame revelation | Lorgnette : Trump and Mueller

La Vigie Nr 116 (24th April 2016)

Common good and defence

How to define and defend the common good for France in the current emotion? It will be assumed to be the result of an unacceptable common and a shared desirable . There will be concern about a latent distortion between a mobilized population whose frustrations have been expressed by the Yellow Vests and a political elite that wants to value France in its own way in globalization.

Notre-Dame revelation

The Notre-Dame fire immediately shut down all conversations. Suddenly, a “patrimonial emotion” appeared, a collective and first French emotion in the face of an affected heritage. A public good beyond all value, the mutilated cathedral touched the souls of the French because Notre-Dame brought together the opposites, sacred religious and sacred national at the same time. Some official reactions immediately appeared staggered, yet the international surge of compassion reminded us that the world still expects something exceptional from France. This expectation of France is now too often disappointed by uprooted leaders.

Lorgnette : Trump and Mueller

The Mueller report was therefore made public and the opposition to President Trump is very disappointed: there was no collusion or even direct obstruction of justice.

Let us first pay tribute to this American democracy, capable of challenging a president through a public inquiry and at the same time acknowledging, at the end of the day, that there is no fault (even if there are many ambiguities). Not that Trump was perfectly honest, not that there was any confusion, not that the Russians did not want to influence the election: but nothing that goes beyond the limits and practices.

To the great displeasure of the Democrats. Because most of their political discourse over the past two years has been based on the “stolen election”. However, D. Trump won “in the regular” (in the face of a bad campaign by a bad candidate) and above all, it shows a radical evolution already demonstrated by B. Obama: the one that refuses the takeover of an establishment dictating what to say and think but ultimately serving the interests of a few. And so, the aspiration for a real democratic return that had become outdated under the influence of economism (LV 88). Doesn’t the lesson learned also apply to Europe and France!

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 115 : Europe and Fantasy | Free strategic figures | Lorgnette : Demos in Africa

Letter La Vigie Nr 115 (10 April 2019)

Europe and fantasy

French pro-Europeans, including federalists, are sincerely convinced that this option is in the country’s interest. For them, it is a question of taking advantage of Europe as a power multiplier but also of dealing with their inferiority complex towards Germany. The EU would thus be the only way to cope with unbridled globalisation. If it has not been successful so far, it is because we have not gone far enough or hard enough, not because of a mistake in method and strategic calculation. In other words, they are responding to their fear of decline by wanting to base themselves in an EU seen as a “larger France”, which it is clearly not.

Free strategic figures

What is France’s power relationship with its European neighbours, but also with China, Russia and the United States, the strategic triangle that currently dominates the international scene? Can it be satisfied with the European response and hide behind the multilateral method?

Lorgnette: Demonstrations in Africa

Yellow vests inspire people. So here is a wave of peaceful demonstrations that are changing the course of history. The case is obvious in Algeria, where the masses of the people, thrown into the streets, managed to force President Bouteflika’s departure, while waiting for the others to leave. But this is also true in Sudan where, for the past four months and in general inattention, the people have been demonstrating against the regime of Omar al Bashir. Not far away, major demonstrations took place in Mali against President IBK (who was re-elected last year), deploring the ineffectiveness of international forces and the corruption of the system. Finally, in Venezuela, the opponent J. Guaido stands up to President Maduro thanks to his supporters in the street.

It is not said that all these movements succeed in bending the powers that be. Let us simply note their multiplication, in very different societies and with different political systems. And let us remember that similar movements in Eastern Europe had led to the collapse of socialist regimes, transitions to civil rights and thus the end of the Cold War. So we may be facing a deeper movement than we think. To watch out for.

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 114 : Religious bias | Lessons from Yemen | Lorgnette : Diverted Sentinel

La Vigie Nr 114 (27 MAR 2019)

Religious bias

The religious bias, implicit or explicit, always affects the strategy. To be convinced, an overview is sufficient in Europe as in Asia. But the religious fact can also serve as a mask to the cynicism of states engaged in their power policies. As for the new civil religions, the law and the climate, their approximations also affect the strategy.

Lessons from Yemen

Several operational lessons can be drawn from the conflict in Yemen, which has been going on for more than four years. In particular, it is much more symmetrical than it seems, there are de facto two juxtaposed coalitions, the Emirates are more agile, the air strategy does not work when the naval embargo achieves results, among others. In other words, it is not an irregular war like any other.

Lorgnette : Diverted Sentinel

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La Vigie Nr 113 : The taste of peace | Geo XXI | Lorgnette : Tension in Cashmere

La Vigie nr 113 (13 MAR 19).

The taste of peace

Everyone talks about peace but many are satisfied with the disappearance of the hard war. It is not to see that this pacified world is leaving more and more free for multiple conflicts, a new “war” that goes hand in hand with liberal globalization. Peace is no longer an absolute value and surpasses all others, and therefore the taste for peace withers. Yet, in their demand for security, that is what the peoples demand.

Geo XXI

In a non-compliant and multiple world, the global geostrategy is undergoing a new evolution that must articulate at the beginning of the 21st century heterogeneity and interdependence, the strategic virtualization that digital transformation allows and the geopolitical regionalization that rebalances globalization. To be taken into account by France to take advantage of it.

Lorgnette : Tension in Cashmere

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 112 : From strategic anomalies to anomy | INF : Nuclear before to be European ? | Lorgnette : Algerian demos

La Vigie Nr 112 (27 FEB 2019)

From strategic anomalies to anomy

The military word is struggling to find its place in the current strategic debate. Yet multiple anomalies in general military strategy accumulate : they announce an unacceptable strategic anomy if we are not careful. It is necessary to arouse and mobilize the military expertise to face it.

INF : Nuclear before to be European ?

The American withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a further blow to European security, while the EU is not a party to the Treaty and is very powerless. Beyond that, this decision will revive the arms race, including nuclear arms races. It finally gives the Russians some freedom of manoeuvre without binding the Chinese. Because nuclearly, we are now in a game with several actors: definitively out of the bipolar world of the Cold War.

Lorgnette : Algerian demos

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La Vigie Nr 111 : Venezuela, an efficacy crisis | The energy coefficient | Lorgnette : French-Italien Crisis

La Vigie Nr 111 (13 FEB 2019)

Venezuela, an efficacy crisis

The crisis in Venezuela is ambiguous: N. Maduro does not convince because of the country’s economic collapse, but seeing D. Trump and J. Bolton as the guarantors of democracy leaves one cautious. Venezuela is experiencing a twofold crisis of efficiency. It was a social inefficiency in the past (which led H. Chavez to power), it is an economic inefficiency today. We must therefore be careful not to adopt positions that are too clear-cut for both sides.

The energy coefficient

The energy coefficient has become a main factor in the major strategy of States and the reclassification of powers. Three rapid developments are underway, the accelerating gas revolution (LNG, shale oil, Mediterranean gas), the climatic transition that is trampling on and the digital energy that is taking off. The planet’s energy transition is a very fluid sector.

Lorgnette : Frenc-Italian crisis.

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La Vigie Nr 110 : Demographic impact | NATO : friend’s discord | Lorgnette : The Aachen chapel treaty

La Vigie Nr 110 (30 JAN 2019)

Demographic impact

The strategic impact of the demographic revolution that has seen the world’s population triple since the end of the Second World War is considerable. To go around is to evaluate the new geopolitics of the peoples, to question the African trajectory and to worry about the residual relevance of a world governance that this revolution has jostled.

NATO : friend’s discord

The Atlantic Alliance was born out of war, in the face of the Soviet threat. It had then been recycled, between European unification and an expeditionary model. But threats to the east or south were no longer enough to maintain its cohesion, while European disunity and D. Trump’s anti-atlantic instinct dissolved it deeply. The Alliance seems to be at the end of its rope.

Lorgnette : The Aachen chapel treaty

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 109 : A tactical reading of the Yellow vests – A Europe torn apart – Lorgnette : Righteous Canada ?

La Vigie Nr 109 (16 JAN 2019)

A tactical reading of the Yellow vests

The movement of the yellow vests continues. Tactically, it shows the conjunction of digital mobilization and micro-local territorial rooting, moving from social networks to blocking road networks. Faced with the forces of law and order, he shows an extreme fluidity that manifests the opposition of two styles, whether facing the forces of law and order or government communication: it is gas against solid, swarm against stick, humour against austere speech. Faced with this political disruption, the government would be inspired to change its software.

A Europe torn apart

The June European elections will only be a pretext for counting. Yet the political storm has spread across the continent as the EU looks to the future of its collective governance. For lack of sufficient strategic depth, it has lost its initial centrality, its civilizational homogeneity and its utility for the European peoples. This is the next challenge after the Yellow Vests.

Lorgnette : A righteous Canada ?

 

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 108 (2 JAN 2019) : Clarification in Syria | Perspective 2019 | Lorgnette : Fraternity

Lettre de La Vigie (2 JAN 2019)

Clarification in Syria 

President Trump’s decision to withdraw French troops from Syria is a clear indication of realism. Turkish President Erdogan hoped to take advantage of this to defeat the Syrian Kurds, but they reached an agreement with the legal government in Damascus, which found a way to regain even more control over its territory. As for France, it still gives moral lessons without effect.

Perspective 2019

The strategic deregulation observed in 2018 should continue even if most of the security of France will be played first on the domestic scene with the overhaul of the current political project and the reconstitution of a common base with neighbors themselves weakened. The world march should take a more regional turn and global governance continue to deteriorate.

Lorgnette : Fraternity

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JDOK