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 ?
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In 2018 we have entered a new strategic era, that of general deregulation. In an intense and disordered strategic flow, the conflictuality of the planet has evolved, the modalities of the exercise of power have been affirmed and diversified, laborious transitions and arbitrations have begun. But still no stable state on the horizon.
France : 18 month of foreign policy
President E. Macron had put two words on his foreign policy agenda: Europe and pragmatism. In the realm of pragmatism, there is a welcome discretion in the Middle East, the lack of purpose in the South, the unconvincing promotion of a major Asian strategy, a misguided American policy. For Europe, despite high ambitions based on old software, the results are very disappointing. The former probably explains the latter.
Lorgnette : Merry Christmas
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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“.
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The universal national service (SNU) which is established in France will have very little military character: military service is often considered obsolete. However, several countries are in the process of resettling it, in Europe and Africa. The reasons are diverse: strategic, military, social or political, often with a mixture of all these reasons. Is this movement a mere coincidence or does it reflect something more significant? What is its strategic significance? Can we draw ideas for the French SNU, for example, the initiation of a cybersecurity module for all the young people who will be passing through it?
Strategic genetic coding
European countries with their business cards marked by strong national strategic experiences are struggling to find themselves in a European project that tends to converge with a globalization that is drying up. This is because the people of the old world have their own strategic code that states can not free themselves from and that the economic genetics of the EU can hardly take into account either. Elsewhere, however, American, Russian, Chinese or Turkish power affirmations are shaking up the rules of the game of power. France does not find it easily.
What factors prevailed in the French intervention decision against Syrian sites? How can one read the precipitation of the missile strike? Why did one want it limited and without military effect? What indications do these choices give to the political goals pursued? Is military intimidation still possible today? So many legitimate questions for the analyst.
Demonstration of weakness
In addition to strategic analysis, strikes in Syria require geopolitical decoding. The United States, France and the United Kingdom (FRUKUS) basically had two objectives: to restore their credibility, and to regain a position allowing them to influence future negotiations behind the scenes. This explains the disproportion between the media buzz and the weak demonstration of the strikes. Everything was designed to pretend and aim for goals other than those that were so loudly displayed.
A Cold War climate is spreading in Europe and forces us to once again take the height to make an overview seen from Sirius. We can only see the feverishness of a Eurotlanic community blinded by a media, ecological and cultural overexposure that frightens our public opinion. Balances are changing and the old governance is getting out of date because of Russia and China, who are mainly challenging it, and are starting to develop a credible alternative for stability. We lose our sang-froid. It’s a great opportunity for France to start moving to the center of the game
Mayotte, island of Comoros
The island of Mayotte returns to the top of the news. The situation of this new department, poor and victim of illegal immigration, shows that the 2009 departmentalization did not produce the expected benefits. The case of Mayotte is not simply an internal matter of management of an overseas collectivity, it is also a problem of foreign policy and relations with the Comoros. Beyond this, it should encourage reflection on the French policy of DOM-COM, source of a gigantic maritime territory but also a mirror of all the difficulties of the current globalization.
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.
The time has come for France to adopt a grand strategy that characterizes it for the beginning of the twenty-first century. At a time when a Cold War episode is looming and the Euro-Atlantic world seems to be losing its composure and cohesion, France could promote widespread de-escalation and a return to the security fundamentals of the European continent. To regain the advantageous position of equilibrium power between America, Europe, Africa and Asia, it will have to some extent to misalign and detox from militant support to the structures and practices of the world of yesterday.
In Syria, the civil war has always seen outsiders intervene. As the IS vanished, we are now witnessing a rise in auctions that sees two axes confront almost directly: the United States, Israel and Arabia on one side; Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey on the other. If all the leaders had shown stability in the past, it would not worry too much. Unfortunately, it is not the case. The risk of escalation is worrying.
the SNU, universal national service under examination is a short citizen conscription that closes the civic training process provided by the National Education. Breaking with the outmoded practice of military service, the unequalitarianism of the national service, it will have to preserve however the variety of civic sectors preparing for civic responsibility. To strengthen the cohesion of the country and mobilize youth on the same republican project, it is desirable to favor citizen conscription for all in the year of 18.
Economic reason, political reason
Since the 1980s, we have been living under the economic reason that undeniably dominates political reason. Globalization has initially reinforced this trend, but we have been witnessing, for the last ten years or so, a slow shift towards the return of political reason. Here is the real contemporary cleavage, more than the one between openness or closure, liberties or populism, conservatives or progressists.