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.
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 ?
Click here to access the French website and read the articles
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.
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.
Letter n° 97, La Vigie, 20th June 2018 (to read this issue in French, clic here)
Building the balance of power
Conflictuality evolves and breaks down into various modes of friction: games of go, chess games, commercial negotiations. To be respected requires more than ever a combination of scattered actions by multiple actors in various fields of action. For France, an obligation of lucidity, coherence, strategic planning and internal exemplarity to try to weigh on the march of the world.
Farewell old Europe
Europe is more than the EU, it is a distinct geographical reality characterized by its unity and its differences. The EU was built to solve a European civil war, according to an ambiguous division of power between an unpopular technocracy and states retaining the reality of the decisions: this mechanism was seized, first with the crisis of 2008 then that of the migrants . As for NATO, it falters because of D. Trump who doubts its usefulness. Initiatives are flourishing in both western and eastern Europe. The institutional mechanism built after the Second World War is running out of steam and we are only beginning to discern what will succeed it.
Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal only surprised the gullible. It confirms an electoral promise and implements its policy of questioning the state of the world. Of course, it has consequences in the Middle East and on the nuclear order. Above all, it has very deep economic effects that affect Europeans first and foremost. These are in the hour of truth, realizing that the rogue state is not the one they believed. Will they react firmly or will they demonstrate, once again, their helplessness?
An impossible regulation
Control and regulate the strategic nuclear system has been a long process slow to establish itself in the bipolar world of the cold war. Deregulation began at the end of this one with multipolarity, tolerances, exceptions and manipulations. It is growing with the US withdrawal of the 2015′ Iranian agreement that threatens the exit of the Korean stalemate, ignores the need for nuclear power, sends countries to reassure towards a creeping military nuclear proliferation. Nuclear disarmament is not for tomorrow.
The Cold War was based on a very deep ideological rift between two well-identified camps. This opposition was a perfect match for the construction of a nuclear deterrence based on the strategic dialectic between two actors. Today, the complexity has settled: not only are there several theaters of nuclear opposition, but these still bring together more than two actors and finally, there is now a general connection of these local theatres, without a super actor to polarize the whole. Therefore, a new strategic grammar seems necessary to think about this nuclear patchwork.
Time is covering
The political guaranty and the moral advantage that the countries of freedom derived from their virtuous behavior in the service of global governance have eroded with the wave of globalization whose economic stakes have perverted democracies. In the absence of any benevolent leadership and possible internatioanl regulation, sanctions are resorted to and dangerous games of intimidation are played. It’s a collective regression. Other political and strategic models could then emerge, devoting effective alternative actors. Weather is getting worse.
Despite a bounce last year with the French and German elections, the European Union seems to present new cracks that worsen. Notwithstanding the Selmayr affair, let us note that the old split between Old Europe and New Europe no longer seems to be operative, as the recent Italian elections have illustrated. The recovery sought by France faces many old and identified obstacles and it is not sure that Paris and Berlin are as aligned as the dream of France’s European project.
A mixed military programmation
What to think of this LPM straddling two quinquennates? If it dangerously reinstates the extra cost of OPEX in the military budget, it also focuses on the repair of major equipment deficiencies, increases the budget gradually and prepares the renovation of strategic forces. If it appears very imprudent in some respects, it is also realistic on the condition that one exercises the strategic restraint during the legislature.
Globalization is primarily economic and has allowed emerging countries to catch up with growth, without political convergence. Europe, built on free competition, is disarmed in the face of this new environment. However, it continues to take up the old institutional recipes (as evidenced by the recent PESCO) while NATO is hypnotized against the East. This strategic shift creates a non-aligned Europe. […]
Strategic Depth of Overseas
The French overseas territories are a heterogeneous inheritance whose valorization remains to be done in a strategic framework to reinforce the global vocation of France and to constitute a true necklace of ultramarine pearls allowing each one of them to be inserted more directly in the development of the new spaces of globalization. […]Link to the n° 82
It is an understatement to say that the Catalan issue has revealed an avalanche of unspoken things and contradictions : Beyond the Spanish situation, it brings us back to the relationship between the Union and the Nation and, more generally speaking, to the link between legality and sovereignty. Catalonia or the egotism of the rich. The Catalan claim should be appreciated for what it is : The will of the rich to isolate themselves from their community of origin and benefit from self-segregation. We can however add history and identity, that makes this issue uncomfortable and remains a source of ambiguity. But let us not be mistaken : It is selfishness of the priviledged that don’t want to for the collective solidarity anymore. In fact they proclaim it openly : « We provide 20% of the Spanish GDP, why should we pay for the rest of the country ? ». This point raises one of the essential roots of national cohesion, that of territorial solidarity. […]
The Malian ordeal
After the thawing of the bipolar order of the cold war, a certain number of States were subjected to strong internal constraints that weakened them nay threatened their very existence ( dissidence, internal conflicts, ethnoreligious conflicts, mafias and latent criminality). But the collapse of some of them would alter the established order of Yalta, or even that of Westphalia. The French armed forces were therefore engaged on the outside, in emergency situations and in support of the endangered States. After the missions in ex-Yugoslavia and in Rwanda in the 1990’s, there were the expeditions in Afghanistan in the 2000’s and then those of Libya, the Ivory Coast, Malia and the CAR. Not forgetting the incessant maritime battle against piracy and narcos. It was about preserving a certain state of organization of the world founded on the States, basic pawns of the international society, actors of joyful globalization. In the legal framework of the United Nations Security Counsel, military action was lead within coalitions supported more or less directly by the UN, NATO or the EU.
These military actions contrasted with the anterior missions of support and peace driven according to the Agenda for Peace of the UN or the Petersberg Tasks of the EU. They were high intensity combat missions in a Euro-Atlantic collective. This was not the case however in Malia. The Serval operation triggered in the beginning of 2013 showed France was very lonely on the front line. Operation Barkhane that replaced it, and tthe Sahel G5 force that could support it or substitute it remained just as solitary. Notice that there is for France a strong strategic exposure in a Malia whose security and political situation evades them. […]