LV222 : The temptation of bukelism | Vinius empty-handed | Lorgnette : commission uner control

Letter from La Vigie, dated 19 July 2023

The temptation of Bukelism

The recent riots in France showed that society was deeply divided and that the signals it was sending to those in power were not being heeded. While the latter are the guarantors of public order and tranquillity, recourse to Bukelism (in reference to the President of El Salvador) could be considered as a way of “closing ranks” among the population, a necessary condition for the implementation of a national strategy.

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Vilnius empty-handed

The Vilnius summit was billed as a renaissance. It has to be said that the results have been disappointing. President Zelesnky left empty-handed, a sign of the summit’s two unanswered questions: the first concerned the extent of support for Ukraine, and the second the strength of American interest in Europe.

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Lorgnette: Commission under control

The European Commission, headed by Ursula van der Leyen (nicknamed VDL), is once again at the centre of criticism. An American (Scott Morton) has been appointed Chief Economist in the Competition Directorate. Apart from her nationality, the fact that she has advised the likes of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft raises questions, given that one of the challenges facing the directorate will be to examine the weight of the American digital majors. This is problematic, as both Paris and the European Parliament have pointed out. In the end, she will not be taking up the post.

But this affair comes on the heels of several others, such as the text messages exchanged between Ms von der Leyen and Pfizer’s CEO at the time of covid, and the clumsy outbursts from the same VDL on international affairs, which is not her role but that of the High Representative.

Is this simply amateurism on her part? Remember that she was unconvincing in her previous ministerial post in Germany and that Berlin was very happy to get rid of her. Or is it a more or less conscious structural alignment with Washington? Just asking the question is embarrassing.


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LV 131 : Sahel : just before the rubble | EastMed and gas | Lorgnette : Challenges of DG Defence

Letter from La Vigie dated 11 December 2019

Sahel: just before the rubble

The motives put forward by some (economic interests) or others (fight against terrorism) are struggling to convince of the French strategy in the Sahel. As a result, because we define the enemy poorly, we are stalling, knowing that the authorities in the region do not have the same priorities as France. This addition of misperceptions, false pretenses, miscalculations and misunderstandings hinders many initiatives. It is time to make a real diagnosis and start from the bottom.

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Eastmed (Medor ) and gas

The geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean is now stimulated by the abundance of natural gas that has recently been found on its seabed. The region’s balances are all the more affected by this as the liquefaction of LNG from this gas now allows its production, diffusion and storage in situ, certainly with heavy investments. This rapid evolution creates a strategic dynamic of competitions, alliances and cooperation that has a strong impact not only on the local residents but also on the region near the Levant and even on the green economy, whose regional situation is changing.

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Lorgnette: challenges for DG Defence

The new European Commission is finally in place and presents its innovations. Among these, a “DG Defence Industry & Space”, named Défis (Defense Industry & Space – Challenges in French) and already named “DG Defence” like the CESDP which was quickly established as a European defence. But collective defence is still NATO for most EU Member States (LV 129), as the President of the Commission pointed out.

The result of the partition of DG Industry, this DG will be a stimulus and an arbiter for the EU’s defence industry. We see it as the spearhead of a reconquest by Europeans of their strategic autonomy, a decisive step on the road to a Security and Defence Union, which is obviously complementary to NATO. With the permanent structured cooperation of the 25/27, the €13 billion FEDEF over 7 years and Galileo, we will thus have a catalogue of structures that will complement the COPS, the EUMS, the EDA and prepare the European army that some see emerging.

To counter the Russian threat and meet the Chinese challenge? We’ll judge on the basis of the evidence. But what has been lacking so far is will and strategy; structures will not replace them.


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