La Vigie Nr 184 : Bruised Armenia | Russian-US negotiations | Lorgnette : Deterrence and espionage on the small screen

Letter from La Vigie dated 19 Jan 2022

Bruised Armenia

While Turkey has just begun negotiations to try to normalise its relations with its neighbour Armenia – having agreed not to mention the “Armenian genocide” for the time being – it is time for us to continue our trans-Caucasian tour of horizon by looking at Armenia. What place does it occupy in the regional balance?

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Russian-US negotiations

European observers have been very alarmed by the risk of war on the borders of Ukraine. What if it was all a bluff, with Putin playing poker this time and cashing in on the bilateral negotiations with the US? Killing any hope of an autonomous European defence.

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Lorgnette : Deterrence and espionage on the small screen

A television co-production between Arte and the BBC, entitled “VIGIL” and currently on air, stands out. It is a short six-part series.

It begins with an investigation into the suspicious death of a sailor aboard a British SSBN in Scottish territorial waters. While the aerial images are of the actual base at Faslane, the SNLE base is renamed ‘Dunloch’.

Sadly, sacrificing to current conventions regarding the heroine’s moods and omitting a few implausibilities, certainly accepted for dramatic reasons, the series’ interest lies in the way it revisits the underwater film ‘genre’, which can quickly prove tiresome. It is not the ground investigation that offers it, but the way in which the nuclear deterrent is approached. Indeed, the huis clos is an SNLE (sous-marin nucléaire lanceur d’engins) and it soon becomes apparent that the very principle of the deterrent posture is at the heart of a scheme.

It is rare enough to bring these serious issues to such an audience (so within the series there are also all sorts of pacifists): this is the great merit of the series.

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Photo credit : The White House