LV 135 : Europe and the South | Brexit and the end of EU | Coronavirus : Chinese ?

Letter from La Vigie, dated 5 FEB 2020

Europe and its South

Long regarded as the preserve of southern European countries, the southern Mediterranean shore and its hinterland are now becoming an issue for all European countries, whatever they may be. Only a long-term multilateral strategy will make it possible to resolve the many crises in this region that threaten Europe.

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Brexit and the end of the EU

Brexit thus became law and a country left the European Union for the first time. Admittedly, there are still a few months of negotiations to settle the details of future relations, but the essential points have been said. The EU loses much more than just a 28th of its members: in addition to size (population, GDP) or contribution to the common budget (which will have repercussions on solidarity towards poorer countries, often the latest entrants), it loses a strategic player. While the UK may lose out, the EU sees with its departure the beginning of the end.

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Lorgnette: Coronavirus: Chinese?

The Coronavirus epidemic surprises the observer. As well for its treatment in China, which testifies to the feverishness of the government while the growth rate was ebbing away and that the prior takeover was intended to allow President Xi to better control it. The crisis is generating popular discontent that must be carefully monitored, especially if the power fails to stem the epidemic.

Incidentally, there is a massive movement of quarantines: villages, neighbourhoods, entire cities and even countries, as evidenced by the drastic reduction in relations with China and the closure of borders. We can see here the new phase of globalisation, as we have known it for the last ten years: while trade has increased incredibly (including in diseases), the reaction to the negative effects is closure and local repatriation: here protectionism, there health isolation of a suspect country. The coronavirus is symbolic of geo-economic times and beyond, geopolitical times. Let us hope that this disease is controlled before contaminating everything.

JOCV

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LV 132 : AMR 2019 : Taking stock of the world to come | Europe and the East | Lorgnette: Christmas dream

Letter from La Vigie, dated 25 December 2019

AMR 2019 : Taking stock of the world to come

Our annual aide-memoire to the king takes up the year again : a neighbourhood in crisis, especially in the south, a belt of conflicts beyond, the end of the West and thus of the notion of world order, a pervasive rivalry between the United States and China, the maintenance of cross-cutting issues (nuclear, terrorism, armed crime) and the birth of new ones (awakening peoples), a passive Europe stuck between the EU and NATO, and a France on the verge of the clarifications that we must now pursue and ambition to achieve.

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Europe and the East

The relationship between Europe and the East is largely determined by the relationship between Europe and Russia. While the spectres of the 20th century still poison this relationship today, a reversal of perspectives may lead to a constructive win-win relationship.

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Lorgnette: Christmas dream

The Christmas period is often the occasion of a truce of the confectioners (trêve des confiseurs). This year, the truce will give way to a strike. Let’s make a dream come true: that of a country that would enforce its motto (Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité). Freedom in every sense of the word (freedom to move as freedom to strike or to demonstrate, the two having to be reconciled); equality (but, if we have understood correctly, this is the subject of the debate underlying the pension reform); and above all fraternity, which we vowed last January (LV 108).  Now, the peoples who are waking up are all calling for fraternity, under their calls for justice and equity. It is fraternity that binds the community together, makes the other one a fellow human being despite his differences, the equal of a brother with whom we share the desire to live together, in an organized society, to live a community of destiny. This stranger that I meet in the street, beggar or beggar, is also this brother.

Basically, fraternity is a vision, not a demand; a prerequisite, not an objective. In this Christmas season, whether you are with your family or on mission, at home or abroad, we wish you a beautiful and soothing fraternity.

JOCV

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La Vigie Nr 129 (Free) : Europe and the North – Dead NATO – Lorgnette : Social and geopolitics

Letter from La Vigie, posted on 13 Novembre 2019 (free reading)

Europe and the North

The margins of Northern Europe are an area that is not well known in France and yet essential for European balance. We analyse the Nordic countries’ tension between Washington and Moscow as they try to maintain a European foothold. This area is of interest to France in the development of its Arctic strategy and towards Russia, but also and above all in the context of its European strategy.

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Dead NATO

President Macron’s interview with The Economist has the merit of saying out loud what was being whispered in small circles: at least the next Alliance summit in London next month will be interesting. These words are thoughtful and not just a short sentence: they are the result of a thoughtful diagnosis of the transatlantic link and Europe’s raison d’être. E. Macron can be blamed for a very French arrogance: but this is perhaps still the French exception, that of saying necessary things even if they seem unpleasant.

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Lorgnette: Social and geopolitics

What does WhatsApp have in common with a metro ticket? Not much: the proposed tax on the former has triggered the largest protest movement in Lebanon in years; the increase in the latter has had the same result in Chile. We have talked a lot about revolts (Algeria, LV 112 and DS 11; Sudan: LV 115 and 123) or social movements (Brazil LV 104; Yellow jackets: LV 106 and 109). Everywhere, demonstrations are mobilizing crowds who no longer have confidence in their governments: in addition to the examples cited, let us mention the cases of Hong Kong, Iraq, Guinea, Ecuador and Catalonia.

There are many reasons for this: the fight against corruption or the rejection of an oppressive system, they all have in common a willingness to be listened and the search for the common good, which the elites in power are accused of not wanting (or being able) to develop.

Let us note a globalization of demonstrations, for various reasons but with mobilizations that are not drying up and that time or repression are having difficulty extinguishing. This is a new factor that cannot be overlooked.

JOCV

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La Vigie Nr 127 : The incredible Mr Trump – Europe, a continent? Lorgnette: Face to face

La Vigie Nr 127 : 16 October 2019

The incredible Mr. Trump

the American political scene has been shaken for several weeks by cases originating in the country’s foreign policy: here the “Ukrainian case”, there the Turkish offensive in northern Syria. Each time, an initiative of President Trump that provokes uproar inside: a procedure of dismissal is thus launched while the Republican Party is deeply moved by the betrayal against the Kurds. No one knows yet whether this is a turning point, but these events demonstrate the deep distrust of the United States, torn between its interests and its values.

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Europe, a continent?

At a time when the future of the European institutions is more uncertain than ever with the looming Brexit crisis, we are wondering what defines Europe’s geopolitical uniqueness. Europe is not the result of chance, it is determined by constants and France is representative of this Continent which transcends the ups and downs of current events.

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The Lorgnette: Face to Face

The face becomes a geopolitical object. Indeed, many contemporary debates raise the question of the visibility of the face. First of all, here is the question of the Islamic veil and in particular the veil hiding the face, the burka. In an open society, can you hide your face on the street? No,” replied the Hong Kong leaders, who are facing massive demonstrations in which opponents of the pro-Chinese government veil their faces in the name of their democratic struggle: can hiding their faces be a sign of oppression, a sign of freedom?

The question is all the more difficult because, beyond this question of public order, there is another question: that of governments’ control over the social life of citizens. This is basically the debate that Mr Cedric O, Secretary of State for Digital Technology, is asking when he says that manufacturers must experiment with facial recognition and that, at the same time, we need safeguards.

Once again, technology appears to be ahead of the law and there are abuses of civil liberties in China that it could allow.

The face is a subject of freedom.

JOCV

La Vigie Nr 119 : Innovation and prospective | A European army ? | Lorgnette : changing era in Japan

La Vigie, Strategic Letter, Nr 119, 5 June 2019

Innovation and prospective

Innovation and prospective studies are two methods to understand the future. They contribute to the strategy in a different way. They are not exclusively technological, contrary to a common perception. Useful, they must also give way to a change in approach to strategic thinking: an innovation, in essence.

A European army ?

The European army generates interest again even if it remains a tight conjecture between NATO and EU. Despite multiple attempts, it will probably emerge only from a deep reflection on the European geostrategic space. But it could already begin with a local security neighborhood coordination within the flexible framework of a European guard.

Lorgnette : changing era in Japan

A calendar is also a representation of the world. Muslims date their years from the Hegira, the Japanese speak in eras… Thus, Japan has just changed imperial era on the occasion of the advent of the new emperor, Naruhito, who succeeded his father Akihito. The land of the rising sun thus passes from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era, which can be translated as “beautiful harmony”, which is intended to herald a new spring.

However, this change is still a challenge, given Japan’s seemingly unchanging nature. Having become the bridge between the Far East and the West, anchored in the Western camp, downgraded to 3rd world economic power (thanks to China’s rise and 30 years of unfavourable economic conditions), the leading conservatism keeps Japanese society very far from Western standards.

Paradoxically, it is in tune with the new international mood, which is undoubtedly very attentive to the roots to be preserved in the face of the standardization of globalization. This permanence goes hand in hand with advanced technology and a certain market economy. A formula to be observed because it may herald spring.

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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.

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

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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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 106 (5 DEC 2018) : French-Russian parallel | Sensitive migrations | Lorgnette : Gilets (Free reading)

La Vigie Nr 106 (5 DEC 2018) (free reading).

French-Russian parallel: here is a  analysis that examines the paradox of Franco-Russian relations, ancient relations between two countries comparable in their temperament and which have experienced a parallel history, trusting relations and the cold war opposed. With today’s Russia France maintains a critical and demanding dialogue that will lead to a European revival from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Sensitive migrations : Some believe that the migration crisis is a peak now behind us. It ignores the persistence of the economic motive for these migrations; it omits the development of a demographic gradient between the two shores of the Mediterranean, between a Europe at circa 600 Mh in 2050 and an Africa that will increase to 2.5 Mh. The security approach is now the only one proposed, without thinking about the renewal of an encalminated development policy.

Lorgnette : About “gilets“.

To read Nr 106, click here to reach the French version.

JDOK

La Vigie Nr 100 (12 SEP 2018) : A vicious strategic circle – The end of atlanticism – Lorgnette : conference of ambassadors – Fall readings

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

A vicious strategic circle

Disqualifying the classic war has facilitated strategic terrorism; by declassifying nations and states, the governance of the world has been delegated to transversal forces. These two vicious circles by combining creates a general confusion against which we must fight, particularly in France by a large strategy articulated on the return to civil peace in the interior and a new ambition of regional neighborhood abroad. Such is the thesis of this issue number 100.

The end of atlanticism

We must note the end of Atlanticism, visible as well at the last summit of the G7 as at that of NATO. This project, born during the Second World War, closer to what some call “the West”, brings together both banks of the Atlantic on an economic, military and moral domination. Now, these three factors disappear simultaneously, and D. Trump is more of a revelator than a trigger for this movement that comes from far away. The decline seems irreversible, but many conservatives believe they can thwart it rather than build new strategic forms.

Lorgnette : conference of ambassadors

Fall readings

JDOK

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