LV 150 : Turbulent return from hollydays | New strategic oscillation | Lornette: 5 questions to the reader

Letter from La Vigie, Nr 150, dated 16 Sept. 2020

Turbulent return from hollydays

The summer allowed the Frenchman to regain a certain normality. The world, for its part, has rather aggravated tensions: between a worrisome America, an ambiguous China, an Africa that is still going badly, a Mediterranean that is warming up, a painful European East, the return to school is turbulent and agitated. Let’s agree that our diplomacy has difficulty ordering these disorders and printing clear lines.

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New strategic oscillation

The current strategic disorder is stimulated by the double opposition between actors : the rooted and emancipated ones within the states on the one hand, and the imperial and tributary ones in international society on the other. The states are hard hit by this. But the risks of a global security crisis are framed by powerful new regulators. How can we get out of this situation?

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Lornette: 5 questions to the reader

As we entered the seventh year of publication of our bimonthly strategy letter, we wanted to know what our readers had to say about it. The following are five questions that will require two minutes of our readers’ attention and allow us to serve them well.

When you receive the announcement we send out (10,000 of you receive it twice a month), all you have to do is to reply (by email) with five numbers that will show your appreciation. We are counting on you.

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JOCV

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LV 146 : Maverick states | There is no more West | Lorgnette : Hong-Kong mastered

Letter from La Vigie dated 8 July 2020


Maverick states

The Westphalian international order, which was intended to be egalitarian, has ended up degenerating into the law of the strongest: some States, using leverage, will try to compensate for their weakness by adopting an original model that should guarantee their survival. We shall call them the mavericks’ and here we propose a typology of their strategies.

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There is no more West.

The West was at the same time a civilization, a way of thinking marked by doubt and science, a world domination and a geopolitical device focused on the alliance between Europe and America. But both America and Europe are in deep disarray as the link between the two sides of the Atlantic inexorably unravels. The West is no longer, if not as a remnant of an ancient but already extinct world. Let us become aware of this in order to build a new system.

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Lorgnette: Hong Kong mastered

China finally decided to take over the Hong Kong enclave, despite a special status negotiated in 1997 that was to last fifty years. The “one country, two systems” theory has just been shattered a quarter of a century ahead of schedule.

This decision does not really surprise even if Beijing takes a risk, that of seeing the financial and commercial place that HK was and of tarnishing its image. But the ceaseless demonstrations, at a time when the Chinese power has been stiffening for several years in the face of difficulties, constituted an internal challenge that could not last any longer. Indeed, China is first of all obsessed with maintaining its unity, guaranteed by sustained growth rates that were fading away, a trend that accelerated with the pandemic. The Chinese decision must first be understood along that way. Yet Beijing felt strong enough to challenge the international community, especially the United States.

Beyond that, it reinforces the bad image given by China that has spread throughout the world over the last six months. It seems to ignore it, confident of its power and negligent towards the rest of the world, in line with its ancestral attitude.

Taiwan now remains to be watched.

JOCV

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Friedrich Nerly. 1807-1878. The Piazzetta in the moonlight. The Piazzetta in the moonlight. Cologne. Wallraf Richartz Museum

LV 142 : Europe and Covid | Otherness at its peak | Lorgnette : German Primacy

Letter from La Vigie n° 142 of 13 May 2020

Europe and Covid

Europe is the continent most affected by the pandemic. However, there are many disparities and these are not mainly due to different responses by the authorities. The unanimous trend towards national retrenchment, the weakness of the EU’s response and the unlikely budgetary solidarity can be observed. In fact, the crisis is the end of a long process of division that requires strategic aggiornamento.

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Otherness at its peak

The global health crisis is causing multiple tensions, both strategic distancing and tactical barrier gestures. The disruption is becoming more pronounced. What could be at stake in this brutal stiffening is the massive rejection of Western hard ways and the expiry of a Euro-Atlantic societal model whose fragility has been shown by the coronacrise. An antagonistic otherness defies the universal claim that governs the world. France must concern itself with a revival of the state of organization of the world to preserve its place in it.

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Lorgnette: German primacy

The recent decision of the German Constitutional Court surprised only the idealists. Indeed, by recalling that the ECB had to explain its quantitative easing programme and by considering that it is acting beyond its mandate, the Karlsruhe court reaffirms in law its constant doctrine: in 2009, it had explained (with regard to the Lisbon Treaty) that “The peoples of the European Union, which are constituted in their (respective) Member States, remain the holders of public authority, including the authority of the Union“. In other words, it affirmed the primacy of the German Constitution, including over the European treaties.

This contradicts a common opinion in France, that of the supposed primacy of the European treaties over the French Constitution. Of course, the latter has been extensively modified since its inception and even more so in the last two decades. No “shaking hand” to change it, then. But this French neglect of the law is not “the rule” in Germany, where the rule is held in high esteem.

This is not national egoism: just law. Whose source comes from the sovereign people.

JOCV

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LV 138 : Virus and strategy | Europe and its West | War to virus ?

Letter from La Vigie Nr 138, dated 18 March 2020

Viruses and strategy

Covid-19 reminds us of forgotten notions, such as the “Bacteriological” of the CBRN. Various response strategies have been implemented (fixing, blocking, slowing down) that put in tension the normality of systems in the face of chaos. The crisis is accelerating the current turning point of globalization because, beyond the harsh economic crisis that is coming, new frameworks for a different regulation will have to be installed. The crisis is not only a health crisis, it brings us back to the essential.

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Europe and its West

Europe’s relationship with the West does not only concern the people living along the Atlantic seaboard, all European countries face the West with different strategies. The main issue in transatlantic relations is the relationship with Washington, beyond the Atlantic Alliance.

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Lorgnette: War on the virus?

During his televised speech on 16 March, the President of the Republic called for national mobilisation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not a question here of criticizing the exceptional measures that have been taken and which correspond to an extraordinary situation. On the other hand, the RP has declared on six occasions that “we are at war“, specifying only once that it was a health war. The search for a theatrical effect to mobilize the population can be irritating. It shows a lack of reflection on war.

At La Vigie, we regularly speak out against the abusive expression “war on terrorism“, imported without reflection from across the Atlantic and constantly used, because it fails to designate an enemy that is primarily political. In this case, the enemy is a virus! If we are at war, will the RP therefore call Parliament to implement Article 35 of the Constitution (The declaration of war is authorized by Parliament)? This is only emphasis, we will be told: a figure of speech. But war is neither a figure of speech nor an artifice of communication. Communication does not take the place of strategy.

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 126 : Take stock of the situation | Arabian peninsula | Lorgnette : PANG

La Vigie Nr 126 : 2 october 2016

Take stock of the situation

Taking stock of France’s strategic perspectives is a periodic necessity, especially when the scene is lively as it is now. To do this, it is necessary to step back and cross-reference the main lines of force that can be observed. We have identified six of them, which, overlapping each other, provide the framework within which France can act. But is it prepared and willing to do so?

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Arabia is a new country that has long sought to control its neighbourhood, including the Arabian Peninsula. This purpose has been reinforced by the question of political Islam, which has been structural since the founding of the kingdom. A final factor, oil, is added to these determinants. This results in an attitude that is difficult to follow in a highly troubled region.

Lorgnette: PANG

Behind this acronym in the name of petroleum is a formidable mobile war machine capable of influencing the planet’s strategic balances and controlling vast strategic areas to defend our interests and ensure that our views prevail. The PANG is the new generation aircraft carrier. It will enter service in 2040 for 40 years and will serve what is called France’s power projection in the last quarter of the 21st century.

Anticipating the renewal of the CDG AP means both measuring its contribution to the country’s current external action and projecting itself into 2060 to imagine the conflict of the time and face it. Vast challenge, necessary and realistic. No one doubts the strategic centrality of the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean of tomorrow, and the Asia-Pacific region; economic activity will be decisive there and France and its European neighbours will be increasingly concerned. There is no doubt either that we will have to regulate this key maritime space for the development of the planet, we will have to move quickly in combat gear and be able to arbitrate tensions there. Who in Europe will be able to do it? France with its PANG! (To be continued)

To read the entire articles, click here.

JDOK

La Vigie Nr 122 : Pariahs and States | Under the thresholds | Lognette : In Kosovo

La Vigie Nr 122 : 17 JUL 2019

Pariahs and States

The current conflicts are often the result of the inability of international society to enable communities to establish themselves as viable and stable states. The reason is to be found in the dislocation of empire systems that leave orphaned peoples, in the inconsistent diversification of international law and in the transformation of international actors. To regulate global tensions, we must offer everyone the perspective of the state they need.

Under the thresholds

The notion of threshold has been well known to strategists since the development of nuclear deterrence. Below the threshold, we would live under the reign of conventional warfare. Yet, in the post-Cold War world, this category struggles to explain all the conflicts we have experienced over the past thirty years and, above all, the latent but intense conflict of the contemporary world. It is therefore necessary to determine a new threshold, well below the nuclear threshold: it allows a better understanding of the conflicts of the moment.

Lorgnette : In Kosovo

There was to be a summit in Paris in early July between Serbia, Kosovo, Germany and France. It was cancelled. The diplomats hoped to resolve a political dispute that had been dragging on for 20 years: the separation of Kosovo from Serbia. There was a conflict, a NATO operation and since then things have calmed down: the time has come for negotiation.

We know the principles, since both Belgrade and Pristina agree to proceed with territorial exchanges. However, this ancestral practice seems extremely complicated to carry out.

The first reason is public opinion, whether Serbian or Kosovian. However, prior media preparation should succeed in overcoming the obstacle. Secondly, the two capitals have recently adopted blocking measures that will have to be lifted to allow discussion: the ultimate firm stance before the negotiation, or lasting stiffening? To see. Finally, Germany is not very much in favour of the principle of land exchange. This is the most embarrassing, because it introduces a principle of the inviolability of borders that is pernicious and counterproductive.

So let’s make way for diplomats….

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 113 : The taste of peace | Geo XXI | Lorgnette : Tension in Cashmere

La Vigie nr 113 (13 MAR 19).

The taste of peace

Everyone talks about peace but many are satisfied with the disappearance of the hard war. It is not to see that this pacified world is leaving more and more free for multiple conflicts, a new “war” that goes hand in hand with liberal globalization. Peace is no longer an absolute value and surpasses all others, and therefore the taste for peace withers. Yet, in their demand for security, that is what the peoples demand.

Geo XXI

In a non-compliant and multiple world, the global geostrategy is undergoing a new evolution that must articulate at the beginning of the 21st century heterogeneity and interdependence, the strategic virtualization that digital transformation allows and the geopolitical regionalization that rebalances globalization. To be taken into account by France to take advantage of it.

Lorgnette : Tension in Cashmere

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JDOK