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.

Click here to access articles

Subscribers: click directly on the links to read online or download the pdf issue (here), still with your login/password. New reader: read the article by number, by clicking on each article (2.5 €), or by subscribing (discovery subscription 17 €, annual subscription 70 €, annual subscription 300 € HT): here, the different formulas.

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.

If you want to read the entire Nr 115, click on this link

JDOK

La Vigie n° 99 (1st AUG 2018) : Mali, in-between – Russia reinvests Egypt – Lorgnette : Deadlines planet

La Vigie n° 99, a strategic letter by Jean Dufourcq et Olivier Kempf

Mali, in-between

Seen from France, Mali first poses a security question. Unfortunately, this perception prevents more complex geographical and political realities than the “fight against terrorism”, an awkward slogan that justifies our action. Because the Malian question (and beyond, regional, in the Sahara as in the Sahel which obey to different logics) is first that of the state organization. However, there are some optimistic factors that need to be strengthened so that military success “en premier” is pursued by a political and economic action “en second”.

Russia reinvests Egypt

Russia, which is prospecting for former Soviet positions, is gradually re-establishing itself along the great maritime artery that connects the North Sea with the Indian Ocean. In doing so, she finds in President Sissi’s Egypt a central partner sensitive to her leadership and her strategic, security and economic arguments. Her ability to mediate and her regional ability make her the player in the strategic reconstruction of the Levant, an interlocutor with whom France must now compose to find a place in the game.

Lorgnette : Deadlines planet

To read full articles,  buy the issue on line !

Photo crédit : Watsons Wanderings on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

Attention, vous devez avoir le logiciel Acrobat Reader installé sur votre poste pour lire notre lettre (format .pdf)

In Africa violent non-state actors give the illusion of sovereignty

Thomas Flichy de La Neuville , Professor in Saint-Cyr’s military academy – Libya, Central African Republic, Mali.

In a regional context marked by the frailty of the State, little, determined and often violent groups currently drive political evolutions in Africa. These actors are sometimes cemented by ethnic or religious solidarities. Common interests more often gather them. They are thus in constant evolution, in particular as far as their system of alliance is concerned. The French army has been confronted to these actors on three theatres of operations: in Libya,  Central Africa and Mali. The main lesson, which can be drawn in 2017, is that these violent non-state actors – which prosper on the smoking ruins of the state – mimic sovereignty. In Libya, the violent non-state actors are entirely dependent from foreign powers (I). In the Central African Republic, where UN forces are powerless, some of them intend to create new states (II). In Mali, they have decided to seize the countryside, fighting desperately against the territorial chieftaincy (III).

Résultat d’images pour non state actors africa

Source Continue reading “In Africa violent non-state actors give the illusion of sovereignty”