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 Balances are changing and the old governance is getting out of date because of Russia and China, who are mainly challenging it, and are starting to develop a credible alternative for stability.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.
The debate on false news generally focuses on the relevance of the media and the inexorable popularity of social networks: the quantity would surpass the quality. However, it is not just about over-media that alternately reveals secrets (Wikileaks and whistleblowers) or protects them (hacks and plots). The hidden truth raises the question of secrecy in our societies. Is it a coincidence that the unbridled development of the media has gone hand in hand with the growing role of the intelligence services, but also of the attention paid by governments to these “secrets”, all the more tasty as they were more rare?
By reviewing the recent declarations on our foreign policy and the prospects for the armed forces, we can see that the real effort to reniew France’s strategic posture is first and foremost about the method and not about the options taken earlier. Whether our interventions abroad, our European perspective or the expeditionary dialectic and its domestic benefits. Beyond the imperative of budgetary responsibility, we will seek the foundations of our defense policy. We will be worried about not having learned all the lessons from our strategic commitments since the end of the cold war.
What are the blind spots of our national defense and our national security? Certainly, our defense of the national territory, although imperfect, is always up to France. But our position of internal security remains weakened by the conceptual deficiencies of a national strategy whose coherence is insufficient. It is necessary to put in capacity not only social, political and judicial but also military to ensure the necessary public order guarantee of the rule of law.
Revolts: season 2?
In early 2018, two popular movements affect Iran and Tunisia. If they refer apparently to the previous troubles (respectively in 2009 and 2011), they are distinguished by their mainly social nature. Above all, this means that if political systems are not challenged, internal balances are a problem, whether complicated alliances in Tehran or the coalition in place in Tunis. The hypothesis of a regime change is unlikely, but the absence of an internal political alternative is likely to provoke other similar crises.
To read the French version of issue n° 85, click here
Greetings for France 2018 : What can France wish for its security in 2018? That the glimpse of reprieve spreads and that it can be sheltered from the destabilizing effects of the active scars of the empires of yesterday in Europe (Ukraine), the Levant (Arabo-Persian Gulf), in North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Sahel) but also technological and financial raids, all belligerents. Let it avoid the multiple strategic poachings that currently divide the planet and prohibit any form of global regulation. Let her remember by celebrating the bad peaces of 1918, to support a more pragmatic strategic way towards European integration and global governance.
Cleavages that evolve : The world faces a deep contradiction between its accelerated motion, for economic and technological reasons, and a deep desire for stability from the people across the world. This new division is altering and complicating the old political cleavage between right and left, which has long served to explain the course of the world. The clash between internal dynamics and external upheavals will explain many future events
Neo-Caledonian stake : In a year, New Caledonia, French Asiatic territory, will have redefined the terms of reference of its sovereignty as provided by the Nouméa agreements (1998). It is possible that this political TRendez-vous will lead to an original form of independence delegating in return to France a part of its strategic responsibilities. This formula could serve as a basis for other statutory developments of the French overseas and to draw a new personality of a plural France on a world scale
Digital strategy : Far from the public fantasies around Artificial Intelligence, the armed forces are facing the fourth computer revolution, after that of the personal computer, its networking and social networks. The digital transformation is thus a new challenge that will be added to those of C4 and cyber. From the Internet of Things to Cloud Infrastructure, from Augmented Reality to Artificial Intelligence, here are so many strategic challenges that need to be tackled, from the technical, tactical, strategic or skills point of view: a new field of reflection opens up to us.
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